The Watson Institute (also known as the Watson Hall) was erected in 1897, at a cost of £1,500 and was given to the village as a Public Hall, Free Library and reading room by James Proctor Watson, Esq., who also supplied 700 volumes to the library. Papers and periodicals were supplied by Lady Carlisle.
JP Watson was the son of John Watson who in his youth travelled to India and with his brother William made their fortunes and returned to Cumbria.
William purchased Holme Eden, the former Dixon mansion at Warwick Bridge, in 1875, and John built Gelt Hall as his residence at Castle Carrock.
Both men are commemorated by stained-glass windows in the church.
As a reminder of the benefactor, hanging on the wall of the main hall is a large watercolour of The John Watson Building, Bombay, showing Watson’s Hotel soon after completion.
On the mount of the picture is an inscription written by JP Watson: “This building was designed in London for John Watson of Gelt Hall by Messrs Ordish and Le Febre.”
The Watson Institute is now a Grade II listed building and is used as the village hall for the local community.
Regular users include:
- Mondays: Parents & Toddlers, Guides
- Tuesdays: Visiting Post Office 12:00-15:00; 1st Tuesday of each month – Women’s Institute
- Wednesdays: Keep fit class
- Thursdays: Pilates; Short Mat Bowls and Ukulele club on alternate weeks
The Institute is the focal point for village life and in addition to these regular groups, it’s used by the village school, church, Parish Council, and various organisations for meetings, presentations and fundraising events etc.
With a delightfully historic main hall and modern kitchen it provides a warm and welcoming environment for private parties, dinners and a wide variety of functions, including concerts which have become a highly successful feature in recent years.
Also there is some minor dispute amongst villagers about the name of the building whether it should be Watson Hall or Watson Institute. Either way everyone knows they mean the same thing!
It is available for hire at an hourly rate inclusive of heating and electricity costs. For further details and bookings please contact Jenni Thomson on 01228 670768 or firstname.lastname@example.org