After 7 months of construction work and redevelopment, the Victorian Reading Room in the village of Warham near Wells-next-the-Sea can now take its rightful place at the heart of the community once again.
Built in 1892 and set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Reading Room was the project of the Reverend Charles Digby, the Rector of Warham, who wanted to offer his parishioners a space that would benefit those living in the local community. As part of the Holkham Estate, he approached landowner, Thomas William Coke, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who gave a piece of land for the purpose. Reverend Digby funded the building out of his own pocket.
The recent redevelopment has benefitted from a Big Lottery Fund grant. The specialist building work was started in September 2015 and was carried out by local construction company Robsons, creating a comfortable and welcoming space. The work involved reinstating the proportions of the original main room by moving the kitchen to an extension on the South side, which also included new a storage unit and conservatory. The antiquated heating system has been replaced with modern under-floor heating and the building is now fully accessible for all. A new conservatory and contemporary kitchen facilities now offer flexibility to those requiring a small or extendable space. With a capacity to hold functions of 390 standing, 60 banqueting and 100 theatre-style seating, the Reading Room has been returned to its original purpose and is able to host a wide range of events and activities designed to bring the community together, addressing the issues of isolation commonly found amongst rural communities.
Warham Village Trust is a registered charity (charity no. 233576) which comprises of five Trustees and a committee group. The Warham Village Trust are responsible for Warham Reading Room to ensure that the space is maintained and continues to be for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parishes of Warham All Saints and Warham St Mary. The Trustees and Committee are responsible for the community events such as Bingo, Quiz night and dances etc. Trustee meetings are held quarterly with additional meetings if required. The committee meets every few months to organise the events.