The History of the Mechanics Institute :
Mechanics Institutes were originally established to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to the working man. Usually funded by local industrialists for the benefit of their employees. They were used as libraries for the working class providing an alternative to gambling and drinking.
The worlds first Mechanics Institute was established in Edinburgh in 1821 followed by numerous institutes all over the world.In 1824 a library was established in Eyam village for the benefit of the local population and subsequently in 1857 three cottages in Church Street were purchased with the intention of establishing a “site for a Library, Reading Room, and Institution for the promotion of Science and Literature and Diffusion Of Useful Knowledge”.
Those three cottages were replaced by what is now Eyam Mechanics Institute in 1860.Though the educational role of the building has changed over the years with the establishment of state education and public libraries the Institute has continued to play an important part of village life. The facilities offered by the building were constantly improved and the Institute effectively became the Village Hall with a Reading room on the upper floor.
In 1975 Eyam Village Club was established and this licensed club acted as a focal point for the management of the building and drew together a group of people dedicated to improving the facilities and bringing the building up to modern standards. From that date a huge number of projects have been carried out including, curing dry rot, proper toilet facilities, reworking the building to make a club room upstairs with a bar, snooker room and comfortable seating, a stage to go with the hall and refurbished kitchen, new staircase and lift, and now the whole building has been re-roofed! All this work has been carried out with some grant aid but the majority of the funding has been raised within the village.
However further plans are underway to improve access to the building, refurbish
the club room and replace some of the windows.