The Watson Institute (also known as the Watson Hall or Village Hall) was erected in 1897 at a cost of £1,500 by James Proctor Watson, Esq. It was given to the village as a public hall, free library and reading room, supplied with 700 books. Papers and periodicals were also supplied by Lady Carlisle.
JP Watson was the son of John Watson who, in his youth, travelled to India with his brother William. They later returned to Cumbria with their fortunes. In 1875 William purchased Holme Eden, the former Dixon mansion at Warwick Bridge and John built Gelt Hall as his residence at Castle Carrock. Both men are commemorated by a stained-glass windows in the St. Peters Church in the village.
Hanging on the wall of the main hall is a large watercolour of a large building in Mumbai (Bombay). This is the Watson's Hotel (Watson's Esplanade Hotel) soon after its completion in 1863. 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.” Click here to find out more.
The Watson Institute is now a Grade II listed building and is used as the village hall for the local community. We recently spent the best part of 2 years working on repairs to the building. It now has a new floor, new lighting, new electrics and has been completely underpinned and waterproofed with lime mortar. We've also got rid of a lot of the clutter on the inside of the building. We hope you enjoy using it.
The hall is the focal point for village life and in addition to regular groups, it’s used by the school, church, parish council, and various other organisations for meetings, presentations and fundraising events. There are lots of regular weekly events in the hall - find out more here. The historic main hall with air conditioning and modern kitchen provides a warm and welcoming environment for a wide variety of functions; be it parties, concerts or community events. We pride ourselves on being as accessible as we can be. We have a temporary ramp which we can use for the two shallow steps at the main door of the building. We have a hearing induction loop. We don't have a specifically accessible toilet for use with wheelchairs. We have parking very close by. We will always do everything we can to help you if you can call before you arrive. Potential hirers may be interested to know that we now have the facility to put temporary wifi into the hall for the duration of a hire for a small fee and with a little notice - should that be of interest.
We are on facebook @TheWatsonInstituteinCastleCarrock
The hall is available to book at an hourly rate inclusive of heating and electricity costs. For further details and bookings please contact Linda Forrester on email