The Reading Room was founded in 1885 by William Henry Hall and Sedley Taylor. These two philanthropists were close friends and shared a vision for a free education for all. Reading Rooms were a Victorian invention providing small libraries and periodicals for the local men, and reading material was often censored. Women were not allowed into the Reading Room until the local Women’s Institute was founded in 1925.
The Reading Room eventually became used as a village hall and continues to be used regularly for a wide variety of events and classes. A large Lottery Grant was obtained in 2000 for refurbishment and modernisation.
In November, a small group of writers led by Clare Crossman met at the Reading Room to absorb its history, and think about the changing history it had witnessed, and all the people who had passed through it over the years. Following is some of the poetry and prose that was written.