John Passmore Edwards

 

Blackwater Literary Institute

History page 2

 

Although Passmore Edwards was not able to attend the opening ceremony, on 7 August 1890, his thoughts were clearly with the crowd that assembled around the tiny institute building to witness the Rev Rogers declare the building open.

The building is constructed only a hundred yards or so from where the cottage where Edwards was born once stood. Built of local stone, the gift of the Tywarnhale Estate, on land donated by Lord Falmouth, the building was designed by John Symons, Edwards's former school friend, and his son, Frank. The masonry work was carried out by James Prowse & Son and the decoration by Solomon & Co and Mr Craze. Internal furnishing was carried out by J Symons & Son. Internally the Institute contained two main wooden panelled rooms with a central wooden divider which could be removed to enable village functions to take place as was the case that first evening when a concert was held. This was well attended and consisted of a programme of music and recitations. The continued good use of the institute, which was for the use of all residents of Balckwater, both male and female, was reported in the West Briton of 29 January 1891 following a programme of "musical and dramatical entertainment on Saturday 17/1/91 at the Blackwater institute; " when "not withstanding the severe weather the room was full to excess.
The Institute was also the site for the Dairy School classes undertaken by the County Technical Instruction Committee.
According to Tony Mansell and Clive Benney (A history of Blackwater and its neighbours) in 1920 the Institute was the scene of a Coroners inquest into a double murder. Laura Sara and Joseph Hoare were bludgeoned to death at their home near Blackwater. The case remained unsolved.
Although the WI used the building for some years from about 1954 the use became increasingly that of a "men's snooker club.

 

J Symons and Sons
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© Dean Evans 2007
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