On Friday October 16th, 1891, the institute which had been erected to the order of Mr J.W. Carlile, formerly a partner in the well-known firm of Jonas Brook and Sons Meltham Mills, for the benefit of the inhabitants of Meltham, and the accommodation of the Mechanics Institute was opened without any formal ceremony taking place.
The institute was erected in the Elizabethan or revived classic style of architecture, with portico of the Doric order, richly moulded windows and string courses and ornamental gables towards the main street and side fronts more simply treated, but in harmony with the principle elevation. All the wall facing and dressings are of Crossland Moor stone and the walls are lined with brick with a cavity between outer and inner portions to exclude damp. The roofs are of high pitch covered with green Cumberland slates crested with red ridge-tiles. Entering from the portico through a lobby formed by moulded oak screen and folding doors, there is a spacious entrance hall paved with marble mosaic wide stone staircase flanked by handsome hammered iron balustrade panelled and moulded with plaster ribs and enriched cornice. On the ground floor to the right of the entrance hall are the reading room and library together measuring 42ft by 21 1/2 ft. The reading room has a dado of panelled dark oak and ceiling richly decorated with moulded plaster ribs and cornice. Massive oak tables, specially designed, like all the fittings, in harmony with the style of the building, comfortable arm chairs and pictures round the walls complete the furnishing of this beautiful room.
The library is entered through a broad archway and is fitted up with oak book cases and shelves, well stocked with valuable volumes of history, fiction, travel, art and general literature. Beyond the entrance hall is a large news room or magazine room, 27 1/2ft by 17 ½ ft where also quiet games may be played. The room is finished with pitch pine dado and plaster cornice and frieze, of simpler design than in the reading room. The walls are hung with large maps. On the first floor, entered through moulded oak folding doors is the lecture hall, 42ft by 21 1/2 ft and 20ft high with a handsome pitch pine roof of arched shape, panelled with moulded ribs and cornice and supported by massive curved principals which spring from carved stone cornice. The dado round the room is of beautifully figured pitch pine, panelled moulded and polished. The hall is well lighted by large end and side windows filled with rippled glass, which helps the light and has a pleasing effect; also at night by three handsome gas lights of hammered iron. The good acoustic properties of the room make admirably adapted for concerts and recitals as well as for lectures.
Adjoining the lecture hall is a larger classroom, 20ft by 17 1/2ft, fitted with dado and cornice like the newsroom under it. The detached building in the rear of the institute consists of two large classrooms specially adapted for technical education purposes, each measuring 27ft by 18ft. The upper one has a lofty open timber roof and both are fitted with pitch pine dados and hot air stores. Ample lavatory and cloak room accommodation is provided. A spacious smoke room is provided in the building near the institute. The wise and homely proverbs which in varying colours and styles of letters are painted on the friezes below the ceilings throughout the buildings, form a principle feature in the decoration of the lecture hall and staircase rooms, Much care and attention have been bestowed upon the details of hearing and ventilation in order to provide an ample supply of warm, fresh air without draughts or the use of complicated appliances likely to get out of order. The institute is heated by hot water radiator and pipes. The floors generally are of pitch pine, the ground floor being laid with small wood blocks laid to an ornamental pattern and in damp proof composition. The doors and wood fitting throughout are made of specially selected oak or pitch pine. In the principal rooms and entrances they are elaborated, moulded and polished and the locks, hinges etc. are all of an especially good character. The buildings, inclusive of fittings, decorations and furniture have been designed by the architect Mr J.S. Adler of Old Broad Street, London. The following are the contractors; Masons work Messrs J. Moorhouse and Sons Meltham, carpenters and joiner furniture and fittings, Mr Henry Holland, Huddersfield; slating and plastering Mr W.E. Jowett, Huddersfield; plumbing and glazing Mr G. Garton, Huddersfield, painting Messrs W and P Holyroyd, Huddersfield; heating Messrs T.A. Heaps and Co, Huddersfield; hammered iron work and gas fittings Messrs Singer and Sons, Frome, Somerset; marble mosaic floor Mr J.P. Etner, London and Mr James Haigh was Clerk of works.
A beautifully provided luncheon was served in the lecture room by Messrs Heskoth and Birkinshaw of Huddersfield in the lecture room. In the unavoidable absence of Mr J.W. Carlile occupied the Chair and there were also present Miss Brook, Healy House. Bishop of Wakefield, Mrs Carlile, Lord Addington, Mrs Gogg, Rev C. Jeredein, Mr E.H. Carlile, Mr Gogg, Mrs C.J. Brook, Mrs E.H. Carlile Mr & Mrs Fisher, Rev. James Brooke, Mr Lewis Brooke, Miss Carlile ad Messrs Cairns and G. Moorhouse on behalf of the Mechanics Institute.