The Village Institute was opened in 1909, the product of several years of fund raising in the village. Its object was to provide ‘improving’ and ‘honest recreation’ and to bring together people who had previously only met with fellow members of a church, a chapel or a political club. An equally important objective was to encourage young men not to spend their time in the village pubs! A year later a billiard room was added by the group of villagers who managed the building.
In 1921, the sole trusteeship of the Institute was transferred to the Parish Council. The entire building was now to be a memorial to the men of Cononley who had died in the First World War. A small clock tower was added and a Roll of Honour replaced one of the windows. By 1960, after many successful years the facilities at the Village Institute had become outdated and its use was declining.
One of the reasons for the transfer of ownership in 1921 had been to ensure the Institute’s long term future. So it was that in the 1960s the Parish Council found itself solely responsible for a building whose future was in question. Fortunately, enough new people came forward to ensure that it survived. The resulting momentum led to the Village Institute being refurbished in 1983 and extended in 1997. To meet the challenges of the 21st century the building has again been substantially altered and improved in recent years.
Coming soon .... watch this space for more about the Institute