The official opening of
Brierley Hall as
Hemsworth Rural Council's administrative centre by Lord Calverley, of
Bradford, on Friday, was a memorable milestone in the authority's 55
the ceremony was that it provided the council with a meeting place of
their own for the first time. Hitherto, the members have had to meet in
premises loaned to them, latterly by Hemsworth Urban council. In
addition it officially brought the heads of the various departments
together under one roof. With their staff, they are now accommodated in
Lord and Lady
Calverley, who both left sick beds and made the journey in thick fog to
fulfil the engagement, headed a list of 120 guests, which included the
Divisions MP Mr H E Holmes, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the
Minister of Fuel and Power, and Mrs Holmes, and Ald. T Tomlinson,
Chairman of the West Riding County Council, and Mrs Tomlinson.
In view of the
publicity given to the "magic carpet," which had been laid in the
Council Chamber in readiness for the ceremony, it was only natural that
many of the guests should show an overriding interest in it.
"Bit of Matting"
One of the first to mention "the carpet" was Lord
Calverley. He told the little knot of people who gathered outside to
witness the official opening ceremony, that "he had come to have a look
at that bit of matting which the councillor had bought in London,
instead of loyalty at the Co-op."
Not so humorous,
however, were the references to it of the Council Chairman, Coun. Wm
Henry, when, speaking at the celebration dinner later, he castigated the
press for criticism of the council during the times they were putting
their plans for the hall into operation.
As far as the
majority of the guests were concerned, however, they came, they saw, and
they admired the rust and fawn Wilton carpet, expressing the opinion
that it added a finishing touch to the dignified surroundings of the
council chamber, with its oak-panelled walls and furnishings and its
blue leather upholstery.
Having had the
opportunity of inspecting all the departments housed in the hall, many
of the visitors expressed that few comparable authorities could claim
such dignified, well planned, and well equipped premises as those the
Rural Council have acquired, at an all in cost of £17,500.
The project was
given a good send off by Captain Roland Addy, Managing Director of
Carlton Main Colliery Company and former owner of the hall, who sold it
to the council for £8,750, despite having several far more tempting
offers. The council had to pay a development charge on the buildings as
soon as they began to convert them and alterations took up another
£2,200, principally the cost of altering stabling and coach houses into
offices for the housing and rent and rates collection departments.
The installation of
central heating swallowed up a further £1,600 and £2,950 was spent on
furnishings. The hall itself needed little alteration, the billiard room
has been turned into the Council Chamber, with seating accommodation for
36 members and 6 officials, and the ballroom upstairs has become the
guests assembled at
St Paul's Institute
for dinner and speeches, which
are reported elsewhere in this issue.
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