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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood

Working Men's Club

page 96

Working Men's Club.

This institution, which is located on its own freehold on Oxford Terrace, opposite the old Provincial Government Buildings, was established July 4, 1880. There were then twenty-four members. It now numbers 400 members, and has a most commodious house of eleven rooms, consisting of reading, card and chess rooms, library, committee room, social hall, secretary's office, bar, steward's sleeping apartments, &c. In front of the house, facing the street, is one of the prettiest gardens in the City. The library, though small, is very well selected, and embraces the Encyclopædia Britannica, Chambers' Encyclopædia, dictionaries of languages and of mechanics, the latest works on electricity, chemistry, carpentry, joinery, engineering, mechanics, medicine; in fact, all that is necessary for the artisan and mechanic. A circulating library has also been recently established. A new lecture hall has just been erected at a cost of £700. Its size is 66ft. by 33ft., having a stage 30ft. wide and 12ft. deep, fitted with scenery and a handsome act drop, representing Lake Como, by Mr E. Briggs, scenic artist. The ceiling of the hall is coved, with two sunlights and three centre flues for ventilation. The hall is built of the best-pressed bricks, and plastered throughout; the walls are hollow and, consequently, will always be dry. The reading-room is well furnished with magazines and newspapers. The club has a Dramatic Society, and a brass band is in course of formation. Lectures on scientific subjects are delivered periodically, and monthly concerts are given in the hall. Open-air concerts on the lawn in front of the building are also frequently given during the summer months, the various bands in Christchurch giving their services. The Club consists of honorary and working members, and is governed by a President, vice-President, and Committee, elected annually. To working members the subscription is sixpence weekly, with an entrance fee of half-a-crown, admission being by ballot. The subscription for honorary members is one guinea per annum. These have the same privileges as other members, except holding office and voting, thus placing the management of the Club entirely in the hands of the working class, and many influential residents in Christchurch are on the honorary list, frequently attending and taking a warm interest in the Club. Visitors from other towns, who are introduced by members, are also allowed the use of the Club for one month on payment of half-a-crown. The President is Mr J.M. Thompson, who has held that office for the two previous years, and to whose exertions is due the possession by the Club of its excellent library. The vice-President is Mr W.S. Williams, and the Secretary Mr S.W. Neate.