Opening of the Hall in 1893

In November 1893 the IOW County Press announced:

The Parish Room which Mr Seely M.P. has generously presented for the free use of the parishioners of Brook and Mottistone is of stone and of solid and handsome appearance. It is divided internally by folding doors, so as to form one or
two separate rooms as required.

The front portion will be the general reading room well supplied with daily and weekly papers and with a library connected to the free Jubilee Club in Newport. The recreation room behind is fitted with a very perfect full sized billiard table and various other games are freely placed at the disposal of visitors.   

Charles Seely, like many enlightened  industrialists and Liberal politicians of his day, believed strongly in the benefits of education for the working man. He understood that the people of Brook and Mottistone had no easy access to newspapers and books, nor did they have the leisure time or transport to get them to the developing ‘free’ library in Newport.

When the Seely Hall was built it was ‘the best there was.’ The opening of the Reading Room coincided with the annual Lifeboat Supper in November 1893 and the newspaper reports: The vice-chairman (Rev. Leslie Morris) spoke of their great indebtedness to Mr Seely and his family for unnumbered acts of generosity and kindness. Comparing themselves to the cogs of a clock, Rev. Morris said Mr Seely was the mainspring which set them all in harmonious motion. The toast was enthusiastically drunk with a specially added cheer for Mrs Seely. 

A management committee was appointed with Mr Seely as president and chairman and the Rev. Morris, as secretary and librarian. The rooms were open each evening between 6pm  and 10pm, except for Sundays. Daily newspapers remained available in the Hall for three days and weekly papers until the next week’s papers arrived.