Broad Street Wrington ARCHIVE
Reading Room

Wrington's Reading Room on the Triangle, dates from 1866 and is now in the ownership of All Saints' church. This historical note is taken from the WI archive for 1983:


This was built in 1866 by Mrs. Marianne Young, who lived in the house at the top of Main's Batch, whose later replacement is now called Cedar House.

Part of the trust deed dated 14th September, 1866, which gives the room its original full title of Wrington Working Men's Reading Room says that it was to be "with or without a lending library, with or without innocent games and amusements, but wholly free from gambling of every kind".

After Mrs. Young's death, the deed says the Room should be managed by a committee of the Churchwardens and three of the then working men. It was to be open until 6pm for any public meeting, lecture or exhibition with the committee's approval. During her lifetime, it appears that Mrs. Young had no need for committee. A Board of Rules - to be seen in the Room - may have been the alternative.

     1 Each person to pay Twopence a week in advance.

     2 No smoking, betting nor playing games for money allowed.

     3 No intoxicating drinks allowed.

     4 No books or papers to be taken from the room without leave.

     A fine of 2 shillings will be imposed on any Man who breaks these Rules,
     and if the offence is repeated, he will not be allowed the comfort of the room

Mrs. Young died in 1897 aged 86. Soon after her death, the Room was closed as a Reading Room and was let to the then Rector for £2 a year for sundry parish purposes. By 1912, the landlord, Mrs. Young's surviving executor, and the Rector considered altering the building by (a) putting in an upper floor to make a room fitted as a gymnasium for the scouts at a cost of about £60 (b) lowering the existing floor to reduce the noise of feet being heard in the adjoining cottages - cost £25.

There was only one window, the one facing the Triangle. The cost of these changes would have involved higher rent charges. Nothing further was done until the
landlord's death in 1918.

As part of the winding up of his affairs the Room was transferred to the Rector and Churchwardens. Successive Rectors continued to be personally responsible for the finances of the Room and for its upkeep. By 1943 the financial responsibility had been assumed by the Parochial Church Council. This arrangement is still in operation.

The Room during the 1914-1918 war was used for religious services for Belgian refugees. Somerset County Council made it possible for girls' cookery classes to be held there about 40 years ago. Bringing it to 1983 - the Room is in regular use for Miss Wilkins Sunday School each Sunday morning at 11 a.m.

The Wrington Choral Society rehearses each Monday at 7.45 p.m. except in the April - September period.

The Mothers' Union monthly meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of the month - followed in the same evening by the Natural History Society's meeting - some church meetings, drama rehearsals, remaking thousands of greetings cards, the occasional children's party, and the regular Friday whist club, with a smattering of Bingo (would Mrs Young have approved ?) are the main uses of Wrington's Reading Room.

Commander Lawder kindly supplied the research into the history of the Room. In my childhood it was always known as Lady Young's room."

Since Vera Perry wrote this, the room has been considerably refurbished, and not all the bookings she refers to any longer hold true.