Oldest Club – Story of the Annerley Street Institute

January 1966

South Yorkshire Times, January 8 , 1966

Oldest Club

Our Denaby correspondent recently received some interesting data about the Denaby Main Institute (Annerley Street), the oldest club in the village.

The details were supplied by Mr W. Astbury of Scarborough who for many years was general secretary before his retirement and departure from the district to live at Scarborough.

Mr Astbury states: “Mr W. H. Chambers was appointed manager of the Denaby Main colliery in 1881 and in the same year he inaugurated the Denaby Main Institute by setting apart two cottages 39 and 40, Annerley Street, and the caretaker lived on the premises. The Institute comprised one room containing a billiard table and the present entrance hall, and upstairs was a bagatelle room which is now the committee room. The reading room was that now used as the secretary’s office.

First Officials

Mr Chambers was the first president and the Rev. W. H. Butler, then Priest in charge of St Chad’s old church, was vice president. The secretary was Mr John Watkin, cashier at Denaby Main colliery and the treasurer was Mr James Rose, engineer at the colliery. The caretaker was Mr J. Willoughby.

An extension was added to the old billiard room in 1896 and another billiard table installed. In 1904, the colliery company built the Assembly Hall which was attached to the old building and let in the Institute at a small yearly rental. The committee let the assembly room for mining classes, ambulance lectures, wedding receptions and parties. About 1922 partition separating the assembly room from the rest of the building was taken down, to meet one big room. The Institute had only a six-day licence but in 1920 was registered for Sunday opening.

Small Number

in the early days, the Institute had only a small number of about 60 members, but in 1908 a scheme was launched to increase the membership and it has maintained a healthy membership ever since. The Institute was the only club in the village for many years and has done some good work in the life of Denaby Main.

Mr Astbury possesses an old minute of the 1891 – 1903 era which shows that draught beer was sold at 3d. a pint. About 1893, the Institute sported a gymnasium with an instructor and this was held in the old infant school room, then at the back of old Doncaster Road, near the railway. This building later became the headquarters of the Salvation Army. About 1892 the Institute in cooperation with Denaby Main co-operative Society formed the first library in Denaby. The society gave an annual donation for maintenance and books, and the society members had the use of the library.

Mr Astbury was for many years librarian at the Institute. From 1890 the Denaby brass band had its headquarters at the Institute and in the early days Denaby parish council also met there.