History of 'The Barlow Memorial and Edgworth Village Institute'.
The Barlow Institute was a gift to the local people from the wealthy cotton magnates the Barlow family, and was to be a memorial to their parents. The Barlows lived in the great house (Greenthorne) in Edgworth and one of the family was the personal physician to Queen Victoria.
The bowling club was established in 1900 and the 'Institute Team' played in the local league which comprised of 'The White Horse', 'The Spread Eagle', 'The Chetham', 'The Farmers Arms', (all in Edgworth and Chapeltown) and 'The Volunteer' and 'The Crofters' at Bradshaw, and 'Longsight Methodists' at Harwood.
The Bowling Green and the Cricket Field along with all the other outdoor facilities, were in full use long before the Institute was built. The outdoor facilities were also to include an enclosed open-air swimming pool with changing cubicles, two lawn tennis courts with pavilion, a privet and laurel hedged maze, a woodland walk leading to a small boating lake, a quoits pitch, a croquet lawn, and a childrens play area.
The landscaping for the cricket field and recreation grounds commenced in 1897, and some of the turf and soil that was removed was taken by horse and cart to Bolton and was used to make the Bolton Wanderers football pitch at Burnden Park.
The building of the Institute began in 1907 and the buiders were Hatch Brothers of Lancaster. The Institute opened its doors to the public in 1909, and the indoor facilities included, a 'Reading Room', a 'Library', a 'Large Hall', a 'Meeting Room', a 'District Nurse Room', a 'Kitchen', a 'Billiards Room', a 'Public Wash-House', and a 'Public Bath'. There were also storage cellars in the basement.
Men were playing on the green when it first opened, all wearing belted overcoats, trilby hats, and what looked like ordinary footwear; the grass looked a bit long compared to today's standards.