The Victorian Commemoration Hall Foundation Ceremony

The Victorian Commemoration Hall, now Rolleston Club, was built in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria’s Reign

Through some family papers we have been able to copy transcripts of the speeches made by Canon Feilden and Sir Oswald Mosley at the laying of the foundation stone on 22nd June 1897

Sir Oswald (John Bull) was a rather fiery character who also had a benevolent and paternalistic attitude to the village, as illustrated in these speeches.

Canon Fielden (sic) to Sir Oswald Mosley Bart.

It involves upon me as the mouthpiece of subscribers sir, to ask your acceptance of this mallett which I hold in my hand. We ask you to accept it partly as a memento of this day’s celebrations & partly as a recognition & a very small one sir on our part of the very great liberality of which you have come forward on this day. (cheers) Not only have you given the site, but you have also given us the sum to double anyone else.

The committee subscribed £200 and you have followed that up with a subscription of £400. You have supplemented your former offer by giving us an extra £100. (hear, hear). As you are aware, we have met today with a double object. We of course wish to join with all the subjects of the Queen in thanking God for her long & glorious reign. But we have another object in view & that is the inauguration of a work which we all hope and believe will be for the lasting benefit of this parish. We have long felt the need of some building for holding our meetings in, where more could be accommodated. I thank you Sir Oswald for the use of the school. Whenever it was required for meetings, or concerts, or anything of the kind, you most willingly granted it. I feel sure in the future we shall need it still more. The population is still increasing, & we do not know to what extent it may increase, so we ought to be ready to meet them. And it was thought very wisely that this Jubilee would be to commence work in this parish. I will not detain you any longer, but I will ask your acceptance now of this mallett from us, in laying the corner stone of this building. (“Loud Cheers”).

Sir Oswald Mosley Bart.

Ladies & Gentlemen & my friends in the parish of Rolleston. I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kind expression given by our friend Canon Fielden when he presented me with this handsome mallett. I have long thought that it was time Rolleston had an “Hall” of its own same as other places, which I hope have not the most population. It was a pleasure when two or three in the parish came to me & suggested that a jubilee fund should be raised, & some of the money spent in the place on something permanent. (cheers) I am sure it is better for some of the money to be spent on something of this kind, and that it can be used not only by the present generation, but by those who follow. (cheers) I am afraid when I tell you everything, you will think I am a bit of a sly dog. The committee who took the trouble to go about & get what they could, & I think it was a very handsome sum. Well now this my friends. I am going to allow the committee (of which I hope I am one of those) to it entirely in furnishing & endowing this hall. (cheers) It is my own proposal to entirely pay for the whole of this hall, & pay for the ground on which it stands. (hear hear) A very good saying was said by some of the thoughtful ones. It was said “We ought not to get into debt with this building, & whatever we spend we ought to have the money in hand, & start it without being in debt”. It was a very good saying. Some of the young ones seem to think they can do without old men. But I am proud to say some of the old heads are before the young ones. (hear, hear) I hope you have all subscribed. If there are any here who have not done so it is not too late now, the committee will be very pleased to receive your subscription. I present you with the land & this hall to the parish of Rolleston, for all purposes, & all classes. I wish it not to be tied to any political party, or to any class of religion, all equal, all friendly. But what I do debar is socialism & anarchism, & no gambling. For if I had been a gambler I could not have given you this hall. Well now my friends I beg your acceptance of this hall & the ground it stands on. I return many thanks for the way in which you gave me this mallett. (cheers)

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Last updated: 20 June 2009