1899

The 1899 report clarified the Institute’s role as a provider of education, physical recreation and entertainment. It announced that the education department was not in active operation, and stated that ‘All instruction must by the express terms of the Trust Deed be purely voluntary, and we are also by the same deed prohibited from using the Institute as a Technical School. In this respect we work under different conditions from the Balfour and the Gordon Institutes. We are glad to know that a large number of our members attend the Technical and Continuation Schools in the immediate neighbourhood under highly trained and paid instructors, but come to use for Gymnastics, Drill, Football, Cricket, Ambulance Drill, Reading, Chess, Draughts etc.’

The Cadet Detachment and Gymnasium were in good health, and the Swimming Club reported a great improvement, ‘The Championship was won by H. Collings, who also obtained the Medal offered for competition in Life Saving by the Liverpool Shipwreck and Human Society.’ The success of the cricket team continued to be hampered by a lack of resources,  which also reflected the lived reality of the Institute’s members: ‘It takes no little enthusiasm on the part of a youth who has been working all day to walk at least two miles to get a game of Cricket then walk back. It would be a great boon to the boys and young men of the South End if there was a ground available to members of Public Institutions at a reasonable cost.’ Elsewhere, the behaviour of the football team was impeccable: ‘We are glad to say that not a single complaint was made by the Park authorities regarding the behaviour of our members.’

The Committee wished to draw particular attention to the continued success of entertainments, which had drawn 9,658 people into the Grand Hall, ‘These numbers speak eloquently of the need of such effort, and justifies  the Committee in doing all in their power to make these winter relaxations pleasant and popular . Of course providing such a round of attractions needs a great deal of time and attention being spent upon them. It would be a very great assistance to the Committee if ladies or gentlemen, or both, would come forward and offer their services in giving entertainments. We keep the prices of admission very low, so that the poorest may be able to enjoy the treat provided.’

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