Quote Originally Posted by krela View Post
I'm assuming this would have been a Christian reading rooms? Dirus? Enlighten me!
The build date certainly implies that they would have been set up under the 'Christian ethos' of educating the soul first and then the mind - not the modern equivalent containing a pile of Sun, Mirror and Metro newspapers. Books were very expensive back, then so it was a natural thing for monied people to set up these rooms with a selection of suitable books, all with a Religious / Christian theme, for the members of the working class who could read, to peruse at their will within the building. Not a lending library in anyway and somewhat - You will read what we think is suitable for your class! Still they developed into a very sound and valued public provision. The early 1900's saw many of these places built - some have been extended into public library buildings over the years, others sold off or demolished. Where town councils or public bodies built the original they can survive as part of a library, those built by the Institute movement seemingly end up being used for other purposes or demolished. Perhaps the 'Christian' content being too narrow for the reading habits modern society, meant they were not used enough. Who knows? The relative cheapness of printed matter, compared with yesteryear, certainly makes the original reasoning for these rooms redundant.