Miss Maria Mercer, the last surviving child of John Mercer, died in February 1913 leaving money to the town of Great Harwood. It was decided to use the bequest to build a community hall at an estimated cost of £14,386. Work began in late 1913 but was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1914 and came to a stop in 1916. After the end of hostilities work resumed but building costs had risen so that when construction was completed in 1921 the price had risen to £25,000 plus another £700 to furnish the hall.
May 1940 showing east elevation of the Mercer Hall, the public library and the Plough Hotel
The building had a large hall used for local events such as balls and a smaller hall where many private functions were held as here in 1939.
Changing times meant the events held in the hall lost their popularity, its facilities were under utilised and it was losing money. There had long been a desire to have a swimming pool in the town so it was decided to convert the building and the new baths were formally opened on 22nd April 1967 by Councillor Thomas Lambert.
Photo John Duckworth
Great Harwood Gleanings, Louie Pollard, 1978, Lancs County Council. Pages 8, 36, 122, 123, 125.
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Great Harwood Appreciation Society