1921

On 25th October 1921, the Lord Mayor unveiled a War Memorial plaque in the entrance of The Florence Institute, which still hangs proudly to this very day. 

With the approval of the Committee, the Warden and senior boys set out to implement changes to reinvigorate the Institute with the initiation of sectioning the boys into 6 groups of ‘Houses’. Each house would compete in various activities, giving every boy an interest in the success of their house, and the Florence as a whole. This system ‘Rendered it possible for the authorities to keep in touch with individuals who would otherwise be lost in a club of 300 members’.

The house system ‘gripped the keenness of the boys as nothing else could, and has kept an unceasing flow of friendly competition and rivalry, which has had a marked effect upon the spirit of the Club, and has affected not merely those few boys that one always finds taking an active interest in their Club, but more particularly the greater crowd of lads who are more naturally inclined to look upon the Club as a playground. 

New members were placed on probation and given a monthly ticket, which was later upgraded with a membership book, containing particulars of the various club activities, such as the Institute’s, rules and regulations and terms of membership. Boys were instructed to pay an annual subscription fee, which varied according to age, paid over 24 weeks. To increase numbers, the Committee welcomed evening subscribers to ‘realise the value of the Institute to the lads of the District’.

The Grand Hall was a hive of activity most evenings, often frequented by Florence members and their neighbours for entertainments and dances, that brought some light relief and enjoyment to ‘the lives of those amongst whose home it stands’. However, with increased attendance, came increased work and expenditure, for which the Institute received gifts towards the restoration and maintenance of the building. This came in the shape of a new furnace, an overhaul of the lighting apparatus and the re-covering of the staircase.

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