Transcription below the original press cutting
Banbury Guardian - 27 December 1888
The new Reading Room – On Wednesday last a very pleasant gathering took place in the new reading room in this village, the occasion was a dinner given to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fairbrother, of Wappenham, by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood to thank them for the very handsome gift of a reading and working men’s club for the parishes of Helmdon, Stuchbury, Astwell and Falcutt. Seventy-six gentlemen and ladies sat down to dinner. The chair was occupied by the Rector, Rev. F Barnes. After dinner the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were given and the Rector rose to propose the toast of the evening. He should like to tell them the circumstances, out of which the very handsome building they were in grew. A few years since a reading room was started in the infants’ schoolroom, but after a very short life it finished. The failure was down, he thought, to the inconvenience of the room (there was no smoking allowed), and people somehow did not take to it. Two years ago Mr. Fairbrother was desirous of erecting some memorial to his parents and family, who had been connected with the village for the past two hundred years, and suggested as the most useful to everyone would be a reading room. He (the chairman) himself drew the first plan, but did not like the look of it, so Mr. Fairbrother employed an architect, Mr. Horne, to draw the design. Now, look around them, and see if it was not done well. It was suggested that a dinner should be given to Mr. Fairbrother as a public thanksgiving. Though he did not live here any longer he was still attached to his birthplace as this building showed, and he hoped that they would all show their appreciation of it by using it and supporting it, and he begged in the name of the inhabitants to thank Mr. Fairbrother for his magnificent gift. Mr. Fairbrother, who was much affected, replied in a short speech, and hoped that the reading room would be a herald of goodwill to master and man. During the evening there was some singing by ladies and gentlemen, which added much to the pleasure of a very pleasant evening. Among those present were the Rev. F. Barnes, Mrs. Barnes, Miss Barnes, Mr. Herbert Barnes, Rev. C. E. Blencoe, Rev. T. White, Rev. W. H. Chapman, Mr. Walter Harding, Mr. and Mrs. T. Bird, Mr. Mrs., and Miss Roberts, Mr. James Bartlett, Mr. & Mrs. G. Thomason, Mr. & Mrs. W. Thomason, Dr. Bradshaw, Mr. & Mrs. W. P. Ellis, Mr. & Mrs. E. J. Jeffery, &c. The dinner, which was excellent, was supplied by Mr. Herbert Clifton of the Bell Inn, Helmdon. The reading room, which will be opened on New Year’s Day, is a fine room, 35 feet by 27 feet, having a folding door in the centre, which divides into two rooms, one reading room proper, the other for smoking and games; attached is a six-roomed cottage for a caretaker, the whole being substantially built of Helmdon stone.
The Banbury Guardian - Thursday 27th December 1888