History of the
Glusburn Institute

Another Chapter in the Life of the Institute

Glusburn Institute was built in 1892 by local mill owner Sir John Horsfall and was added to and extended over the following twenty years. The final pieces – the Clock Tower and Dome, were completed in 1911, thereby completing the provision of a much needed community facility, which comprised an auditorium with stage, dining and reading rooms, swimming baths and a Baptist Chapel. It bears similarities to the Institute built at Saltaire by Titus Salt.

The purpose of the building is highlighted by the following statements:


The building is to serve the social, religious and educational needs of the community.

- Stated at the opening of the building

My only wish and hope is that the institution shall be the means of general improvement to the people of this and the surrounding villages and of raising them to a higher standard, morally, intellectually and spiritually.

- Sir John Horsfall, the founder

May 1882

First service by the Baptist Association

October 3rd, 1882

First educational lecture Professor Muir, Yorkshire College, Leeds spoke on Manures & feeding Stuffs to an audience of farmers. The first, of a course of eight lectures.

October 8th, 1882 – Opening Ceremony

Activities developed during these years were the Conversaziones (a kind of concert), Glusburn Institute Players, Glusburn Women’s Institute, the Band of Hope, Pensioners Teas, Cross Hills & District Youth Club, Men’s Choir, Young People’s Fellowship, the Library and the Christmas Tree in the Main Hall. The Lower Ballroom (now a veterinary practice) was used for Old Time dancing and the Top Ballroom, the former chapel, was for Modern Dancing.


Phase 2 Extension built to house upper floor Art Rooms and gym on lower floor.


Phase 3 Extension for Bathing facilities.


Sir John Horsfall put the Institute into a trust which was managed by the Horsfall family.


Phase 4 Clock Tower Dome completed and corner block.


Clock installed to mark coronation of George V.


Death of Founder Sir John Cousin Horsfall.


Annual Meeting when concern over the behaviour of members resulted in members having to be approved.


Art Room converted to Baptist Chapel and organ moved from Main Hall.


The downstairs rooms were used as the kitchen and dining areas for the staff working at Hayfields Mill and the Baptist Chapel, was in regular use. The rooms below the chapel were also used for the Sunday School. The Main Hall was used by the Hayfield Mill Social Club. The swimming pool was used for hiring out to local groups at this time.


The Horsfall family transferred the building into a charitable trust for the Glusburn residents. The Parish Council became the Custodian Trustees and a Management Committee was appointed. This had to be composed of more representative than elected members. The representatives came from the organisations using the building or who were active in the village.

The object of the Charity shall be the provision and maintenance of a village hall for the use of the inhabitants of Glusburn and the surrounding district without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, including use for meetings, lectures and classes and for other forms of recreation and leisure time occupation with the object of improving the life for the said inhabitants.

- Stated in the Charity Commission Constitution

The Baptist Church and the rooms underneath were then sold to the West Yorkshire Baptist Association and were partitioned off from the main building. The Social Club ceased to function apart from running a weekly Bingo Session that was very popular. The kitchen on the ground floor was converted into a Play centre and this ran 6 sessions a week.

The swimming pool was closed because there was only access on three sides and this was no longer accepted for health & safety reasons.

We wish to thank Mr Peter Whitaker and Keighley Digital Archive for letting us use photographs from their collections.