Header Image for Kerry Community Council

Kerry Reading Room

 

As you enter the village of Kerry on the A489 heading towards Newtown, the first building that you see on the right-hand side of the road is the imposing Reading Room.

The Reading Room was commissioned by Mr John Naylor, and built in 1856, as a public building. It acted as a venue to allow the people of the area access to newspapers and magazines, including daily papers from London, local papers, and weekly and monthly periodicals. There is a stone tablet on the front of the building that acknowledges the gratitude of the village to Mr Naylor for his ‘liberality and generosity’.

According to Noel Jerman’s text on Kerry – ‘the Church and the Village’, the first ‘penny readings’ in Kerry were held on 27th November 1865.

By 1887, villagers had the opportunity to join the formally constituted Kerry Reading and Recreation Society, set up to promote readings and other literary pursuits on the evenings of Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Reading Room also served as a venue for the locality as a community centre for other meetings, and a variety of social events. It was only in 1957, when the new Village Hall was built, that it ‘retired’ from ‘public service’, and reverted to private ownership.