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1891-1910

Extension Floor Plan 1

The floor plan of the extension of 1892/3 shows the line of the old octagonal market along with the much wider uses for which the building was being used

The introduction of a smoking room, reading room, billiard room and lecture room show the building underwent a major change. Instead of providing basic needs such as a dining room, baths etc it now moved into the provision of arts, education and recreational facilities.

Extension Floor Plan 2

Extension Floor Plan 2

The first floor now has a stage for the first time in the history of the building. Dominating the upper storey the theatre and dressing rooms back onto a bagatelle room and a ladies smoking room.

Extension Staircase 1893

Extension Staircase 1893

The narrow but impressive staircase dominate the 1893 extension to the south of the building. The stairs are still in fairly good repair. This was considered to be such an imposing entry point that it became the new main entrance to the Mechanics. At this stage, although the Medical Fund Society was not part of the Institution it seems likely that the Society’s council are likely to have used the Mechanics as its meeting place for decisions. The Mechanics may well have been an important administrative centre for the Medical Fund Society.

Other areas were also increasing in popularity. The Annual Juvenile Fete was as popular as ever packing Faringdon Park with up to 20,000 people at a time. The Institution also appears to have been running a form of lecture for adults and children alike around the middle of December. These took place in the hall of the Mechanics. These lectures (predating the famous Christmas Lectures by some years) followed on from the earlier exhibitions of the latest technology of the time. These had been an increasingly popular element of the Mechanics during the winter months. It was only the Great War which seemed to have finished off the event.

Juvenile Fete 1910 Faringdon Road Park

Juvenile Fete 1910 Faringdon Road Park