Crispin Hall, John Bright, William S. Clark, and Crispin black plaque in Street

Crispin Hall
Named after the Patron Saint of Shoemakers,
this building was opened by John Bright on October 12th, 1885 after William S. Clark decided to improve the cultural facilities for Clarks employees and other Streetonians. Previously there had been a small library at the factory in the charge of James Lovell the doorkeeper. Art classes and talk on sundry educational subjects were also held there in the reading room which was added later.

A large public hall, lecture and reading rooms; a library and a museum were then provided here. The building now houses a number of small businesses and community activities.

A display of photographs of Street dating back to the 19th century may be seen inside by the main stairway.

John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889), Quaker, was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy.In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages. Abolition was achieved in 1846.Bright also worked with Cobden in another Free Trade initiative, the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860, promoting closer interdependence between Britain and France. This campaign was conducted in collaboration with French economist Michel Chevalier, and succeeded despite Parliament’s endemic mistrust of the French.Bright sat in the House of Commons from 1843 to 1889, promoting free trade, electoral reform and religious freedom. He was almost a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War; he also opposed Gladstone’s proposed Home Rule for Ireland.The phrase ‘Mother of Parliaments’ was coined by Bright.

Source: dbpedia

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century CE, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night.Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the emperor c. 286.An alternative account gives them as sons of a noble Romano-Briton family whose father had been killed having incurred the displeasure of the Roman emperor living at Canterbury. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father's killer. Travelling there, the brothers came across a shoe-maker's workshop in Faversham and decided to travel no further but to remain in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub "Crispin and Crispianus" in Strood. This account fails to explain how the brothers came to be martyred.The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is 25 October. Although this feast was removed from the Roman Catholic Church's universal liturgical calendar following the Second Vatican Council, the two saints are still commemorated on that day in the most recent edition of the Roman Martyrology. Saint Crispin is often associated with the Battle of Agincourt as the battle was fought on Saint Crispin's Day, and especially because of Shakespere's St. Crispin's Day Speech from his play Henry V.

Source: dbpedia

Helen Bright Clark (1840–1927) was a British women's rights activist and suffragist. The daughter of a radical Member of Parliament, Clark was a prominent speaker for women's voting rights and at times a political realist who served as a mainstay of the 19th century suffrage movement in South West England. A liberal in all senses, Clark aided progress toward universal human brotherhood through her activities in organisations which assisted former slaves and aboriginal peoples.

Source: dbpedia

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