The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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258                    HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
the town. They collected a sum of money sufficient to form the nucleus of a Library, and, not wishing to create another Society, approached the members of the Social and Debating Club and amalgamated with them, the Society becoming, on October 13th, 1882, the East Grinstead Literary and Scientific Institute. At the same time it moved to a room in the premises now occupied by the International Tea Company, and from here to rooms then in the possession of Mr. Geo. Bridgland and now occupied by Haylock & Co. In October, 1888, the members, with the Societies' effects, went over en bloc to the new Institute established in the present building, which was first used on November 3rd, but formally opened by Lord Hampden on November 24th of that year, the foundation stone having been laid on April 7th by Mrs. Oswald Smith, whose husband had granted the land on which the building was erected on a 999 years' lease, commencing on December 9th, 1887, at a rental of Is. a year if demanded. The Trustees nominated in the trust deed were Messrs. B. G. 0. Smith, C. E. Collins, W. V. K. Stenning, G. S. Head, H. S. Little (since deceased), J. Rice and W. Young. This building stands as the town's memorial of the celebration of Queen Victoria's first jubilee, and when the 999 years of the lease have expired Mr. Smith's heirs will have the right to take possession of it on paying its full ascertained value.
East Grinstead possessed its theatre as long ago as 1758, but it was evidently of a very primitive character, for an old play bill announcing the performance of the " Tragedy of Theodosius" for May 4th of that year states that:" On account of the prodigious demand for places, part of the stable will be laid into boxes on one side, and the granary be open for the same purpose on the other." Another play bill of June 7th, 1826, announces " the elegant comedy of ' How to Get Married,' " in the " Theatre, Town Hall, East Grinstead."
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