miners welfare institute methley
Ex-Miners' Welfare - Tudor Ballroom 1982

Ex-Miners’ Welfare – Tudor Ballroom 1982

The Miners’ Welfare Institute, the ‘stute’ as it was often called,is a prominent, mock-Tudor, 2-storey building in Main Street. Built around the turn of the century (20th) by Lord Mexborough as a village and church institute.

From 1901-1905, prior to St. Margaret’s Church being built, the upper floor was used for Sunday evening services. In 1901 the Bishop of Ripon granted licence to the Rector, Curates and other persons in Holy Orders to preach the word of God there, officiate and celebrate Holy Sacraments, Baptisms to be registered at Methley.

Later the Working Men’s Club had the premises until the new club was built on Stocks Hill (1911). They may have used the lower floor, while the Church used the upper floor.

After 1911 the building became the Miners’ Welfare Institute. The lower floor was used for billiards etc. and the upper floor for village functions eg. dances and whist drives. There was the Child Welfare Clinic upstairs; the school dentist practised there (children walked from schools for treatment) and the school nurse.

The main entrance was through front doors, up a wide stone staircase, and on the large landing at the top was a large oil-painting of Lord Mexborough. In a small room on the left (downstairs?) the Yorkshire Penny Bank opened a small branch office on Monday evenings. Our first village library was also in this small room. It opened in the 1950s and the walls were lined with bookshelves holding darkly-bound books.

In 1986 the premises were privately owned and used for dancing classes and evening classes by the owners, Mr and Mrs Beaumont. The building was altered inside by them. The Tudor Ballroom closed in autumn 1988.

The caretaker’s house on the right was built much later. The pre-fab building was erected as a day-nursery for mothers supporting the war effort by going out to work (WW2). It later became the village nursery school (1951) until the Infants school had a nursery. Later it became the Health Clinic (1986) and then a small community centre used by the Youth Group, and Toddlers’ Club (1988). It was damaged by fire in 1991.

Miners’ Welfare, rear view from Savile Road

In the foreground is the square of grass which was once a public bowling green, never very popular. At the rear of the photo can be seen the newsagent’s (on left) and fish and chip shop (on right) on the opposite side of Main Street to the Welfare.

Miners' Welfare, methley
Miners' Welfare, rear view from Savile Road

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