Star Coffee House, Institute and Hall- continued-

At the Trustees first meeting following the official opening of the new room a significant part of the time was taken up with financial issues and finances would figure large for some time to come. A whole range of prices for letting of the new room were discussed and approved. The Trustees then signed a document confirming that the total monies drawn for the construction of the new room were £750, paid in 6 staged payments. This amount was significantly over the original budget of £500 agreed just over a year earlier in March 1897.



The Trustees now needed to get things moving to obtain the money to make repayments on the loan. In addition to income from membership and letting of the rooms within the Star buildings events were organised to help reduce the debt. On the 4th June a letter was sent to Mrs Henson and Miss Selby thanking them for arranging a social evening, the proceeds from which were devoted to the loan fund.



Although the new room had been completed and the loan of £750 had been fully drawn in 1898, the Resolution book indicates that monies were still owed in 1899, to both Mr Ball, the builder, and Mr Mosley, the architect. In February 1899 Mr Ball applied for final payment. The response he received was that the Trustees were only able to pay £25 on account and the final settlement would be paid as soon as possible. In the following month Mr Ball was paid a further £21 on account. Six months later the Trustees agreed to pay Mr Mosley £20 on account with the remaining £15 to be paid as soon as possible.



Over twelve months later the Trustees were still receiving letters concerning payments due on the new room.  The following letter from J. Ward was read out at the May 1900 meeting, “It is now 2 years since I did the asphalting at the Star Hall Finedon, which has not been paid for yet. Mr Mosley gave you the certificate last October with the amount due to me. Shall be glad if you will let me have cheque by return of post as I think it is about time it was settled.” The Trustees response was that they were not responsible for payment and Mr Ward should apply to Mr Mosley or Mr Ball.



On 22nd May 1900 Mosley and Scrivener, architects, wrote to the Trustees, on behalf of Mr J.Ward, who had done the asphalting at the new room. Mr Ward had not been paid for his work, and had applied to Mr Ball for payment. However Mr Ball had refused to pay him because he had not been paid up for his work. Mosley and Scrivener asked that the Trustees pay Mr Ward’s account to them and they would pass it on. They closed their letter with the following “we shall be glad if you could also oblige us with a settlement of our account, which have been quite long enough.” The Trustees had a discussion as to how these bills could be paid, and they decided that they would need to borrow £40. The Secretary was asked to approach Miss Mackworth, of Debdale Grove for a loan.



One week later the Trustees discussed a statement they had received from Mr Ball saying that the total amount due for building the new room was £805/0/2d. Mr Ball said he had received £780, giving a balance of £25/0/2d owing. However the Secretary produced receipts to show.


Mr Ball had received £795, so the balance was only £10/0/2d. A letter to this effect was to be sent to Mr Ball and the Trustees said they would pay this amount as soon as instructions to do so were received from Mr Mosley, as he had asked them to withhold payment to Mr Ball, pending Mr Ward’s application being sorted out. The Trustees were now able to pay the outstanding debts as the Secretary reported that Miss Mackworth has agreed to give them a loan of £40 at 2 ½ % interest.


Misses Augusta and Martha Mackworth of the Debdale.

The dispute over the asphalting rumbled on, and on the 6th August 1900 Mr Ward’s letter threatening legal action was brought to the Trustees attention. They decided they would refer the issue to Mr Lewin, Miss Mackworth-Dolben’s solicitor, for advice as to whom the £10/0/2d should be paid, Mr Ball, the builder, or Mr Ward. If Mr Lewin was willing they would leave the matter in his hands.



At the September Trustees meeting they heard that Mr Lewin would write to Messrs Ball, Mosley and Ward on the Trustees behalf and sort out where the monies should go. As there is no further reference to this subject in the Resolutions Book Mr Lewin must have resolved the matter. Hopefully the £40 covered his bill too!



Fourteen months later, on 1st October 1901, it was recorded that Miss Mackworth was prepared to leave her loan with the Star, interest free, but she would like £5 of the principal to be paid back by October if possible. By the 15th of that month the Trustees had agreed to pay £10 back to Miss M., during the first week in November. Miss Mackworth’s loan was finally repaid in July 1903.



Next month the Star complex moves into the 20th century with enlarged facilities and greatly enhanced entertainment options.

Events were also put on specifically for Star Institute members. An annual Christmas meat tea for members and a friend was introduced. The newly formed Star football club held a supper in November 1885, where they celebrated the recent successes of their team, who comprised of- W. Childs in goal; A. Bailey and A. Young backs; J. Piggott and C. Underwood half backs; J. Benson and G. Beetson left wing; E. Smith and C. Piggott right wing and A. Cooper and T. Rowe centre. After their excellent supper they passed a pleasant evening in singing led by Messrs J. Wilson and G and H. Beetson.


The Hall was also booked for a variety of different types of public entertainment. The Standard Entertainers of Wellingborough gave a programme of piano and violin solos, recitals and sentimental and comic songs. Another Wellingborough group The New Orleans Minstrels, sang ballads and chorals, instrumental solos, comic sketches, plantation walk rounds, stump speeches etc, to a large audience whilst on the same night the District Bell ringers, after ringing at the Church, retired to the smaller room to partake of a tea served to about 60.


Fairly quickly political parties began to hire the large room and they did not always get a warm welcome. In July 1885 Mr Ramsden, the Conservative candidate addressed a meeting of largely Liberal supporters. This was reported as “a lively meeting”.


This wide range of social activities and the income earned enabled the Trustees to pay back the money borrowed for the erection of the Institute building. As also did the receipts from the opening of the Hall gardens annually that the ladies Mackworth Dolben gave to the fund.  The Institute also held a number of fund raising events upon the premises. These included a Sale of Work in 1888 that included Professor Bourne, the celebrated ventriloquist and conjuror, who gave three separate well received performances.


In April 1894 the charges were revised as follows: – for a concert, entertainment or soiree only 10/- with piano 12/-. Bazaar, entertainment and piano 7/-, Soiree after tea, if got by Star 5/- with piano 7/-, Lecture 7/6, Children’s performance in afternoon 5/-, Practices 1/- for 1st hour then 6d every extra hour, committee meeting in large room 2/6 or in committee room 1/-.(N.B. for younger readers 1 shilling is equivalent to 5 decimal pence)


Only 13 years after the Institute building had opened an ever increasing number of bookings and a widening of its client base caused the Trustees to decide that they needed to build a larger hall so they could accommodate all the events that their hirers wanted to hold. In February 1897 they decided to approach Miss Mackworth Dolben to obtain her approval of their plans. –Next month the Trustees have to make decisions on plans for the new works.