YEARS IN FOCUS
LOCAL NEWS AND EVENTS FROM THE 1940s
PONTEFRACT IN 1946
17th APRIL 1946
REALISING A HIGH AMBITION
One more section has now been added to the new
Community Centre at Carleton, Pontefract, as was reported in ''The
Express'' on Friday. It marks another step in the consolidation of a big
project which arises from some enterprising action within the village,
coupled with help from outside; and sets a notable example in the area.
The need for facilities in Carleton for social, cultural, recreational
and educational activities has been felt for a long time, and
investigations and discussions led to the only conclusion that only a
Community Centre would meet the need. But it was both inspiration and
high ambition that prompted the purchase of ''The Grange,'' a country
house of spacious dimensions, with equally spacious grounds. Formerly
the home of Mr. T.W. Tew, the Pontefract banker, it was built by the
late Mrs S.A. Driver, who built the Alexandra Theatre, Tanshelf, (now
the Alexandra Cinema). It was notable for a greenhouse and conservatory
which was an exact replica of the Crystal Palace, London. Like many
other country houses it had not been tenanted for many years. Anonymous
residents associated with the move at Carleton bought the house
privately, and it was placed at the disposal of the village committee,
formed to pursue the project for a Community Centre. With its indoor
accommodation and its grounds, it provides all that is needed to cater
for the community as a whole. In a very short time, a Ladies' Section of
the Community Centre was formed, which in the first week of its
existence enrolled over 60 members; and a committee of 12 was elected to
administer the Section, under the chairmanship of Mrs G. Barker, M.B.E.
Then, youth activities were undertaken, and a second section for them
was organised which has more than 150 members. That section is now
busily arranging its own affairs, including provision of equipment of
various kinds. In addition, the Carleton Cricket Club and Cycle Club
have joined forces with the Centre.
During last winter, an Entertainments sub-Committee raised over £200 to
meet the cost of repairs to, and maintenance of, the house and grounds,
and the cost of equipment. Other committees set to work to devise a
constitution for the Centre, to make temporary renovations, and to
prepare a final plan for the adaptation of the house and grounds to
indoor and outdoor events. Architects plans propose a large hall on the
ground floor for dances, concerts, and big gatherings, with a stage,
artists rooms, adaptable to many purposes such as study circles; as well
as cloak rooms.
The owners of the house have given the Committee the option to buy it at
the price originally paid and if enough interest is shown, it is
intended to apply for an official grant of up to 50%, of the capital
expenditure, equipment and maintenance costs. Such a grant will not be
forthcoming, however, unless it can be shown that the community is
prepared to take its share of the responsibility.
The Centre is intended to meet the needs of all classes of the
community, of both sexes, and all ages, Nor is it confined to the
village of Carleton. Anyone interested is eligible for membership, and
it is hoped to organise the undertaking in such a way that a modest
subscription only will be necessary.
The complete scheme, covering purchase of the property, renovations,
alterations, and the provision of equipment, is estimated to cost about
£4,000, so that at least £2,000 is needed from local sources. Pursuing
the methodical progress of registered organisation, the committee is
organising a house to house canvas to ascertain the response to the
project. That response will play a large part in securing the grant
mentioned or failing to secure it. Inevitably, therefore, it will play a
large part in the future of the Centre.
1946 Index ]
in Focus is researched by Maurice Haigh and reproduced
with the kind
permission of the Pontefract and Castleford Express.