Colman Institute © Charity Number 251665


The Colman Redland Community Centre is managed by a group of Trustees of a Charity known as The Colman Institute and is entirely self funded. The halls were set up to provide affordable halls/meeting room for the Community to participate in activities regardless of religion, race or creed.

Here is some historical information about how the Colman Redland Community Centre came to be:

Sir Jeremiah Colman of the famous Colman Mustard family purchased the Gatton Estate in 1888 and made his home there.  Under a trust established on 14 June 1904, he built and presented to the people of the borough, a hall in the centre of Redhill.  He also donated the land used for athletics beside Battlebridge Lane, north Redhill.  The building in Cecil Road was known as the Colman Institute.  It thrived as a centre for entertainment, meetings and social gatherings for nearly 70 years until it was compulsorily purchased by the former Reigate Borough Council in March 1971 in connection with the re-development of the North East quadrant of Redhill.  For many years, it had housed the Redhill library, which was found a new home in the redevelopment.

The Trustees of the Colman Institute invested the proceeds of sale and set about finding new premises in order to continue to fulfil the objectives of the trust.  Many sites were considered and finally in 1974, consideration was given to a possible scheme involving the Redland Youth Centre in Croydon Road, Reigate.

Some of the site was originally a sandpit during the War years and it was used as a rubbish tip for domestic refuse.  When it was full, it could not be used until the ground had settled and in the early 1950's, it was taken over by Faulkners and a small hall was built as a club for their work force.  In 1955, Redland acquired Faulkners and the hall continued as their social club, but it was evidently not greatly used.  In 1962, it was given by Redland to the Reigate District Guides to become the regular meeting place of 5th Reigate Guides and later, 5th Reigate Brownies.  It was also used for District Guide events.

The upkeep was more than the Guides and Brownies could maintain and in 1965 it came under the auspices of the County Youth service and for the first time became known as the Redland Youth Centre.

Redland Tiles Limited granted a 99 year lease to the Borough Council, who in turn granted a sub-lease to Surrey County Council, who were responsible for the youth service.  The Redland youth Centre became one of many County run youth centres, but by 1974 the Council, faced with mounting costs and cuts in Government grants, were not unwilling to dispose of their interest, subject to the existing hall still being available for youth purposes.

In late 1974, negotiations commenced between Redland, the Colman Institute, the Surrey Council, the new RBBC and the Committee of Management of the Redland Youth Centre. These negotiations were protracted and in due course the Charity Commission was also involved.  Under the scheme eventually agreed, the Councils surrendered their existing leases and Redland granted a new 99 year lease to the Trustees of the Colman Institute. The Trustees agreed to apply their funds to erect a new large hall adjacent to the existing small hall.  The new hall was designed to accommodate some sporting activities, including badminton.  It was specifically provided that the rights of the existing Users of the small hall would be protected.

A planning application was submitted in July 1981 and duly approved.  Work commenced on the site soon afterwards and was completed early in 1982.  The new hall and the old hall, together to be known as ‘The Colman Redland Centre’ were officially opened by the then Mayor of Reigate and Banstead Council, Maurice Adams on 15 May 1982.  A new scheme was drawn up by the Charity Commission and sealed by Order in 8 October 1985.  The Charity Objectives, which still remain are as follows:

‘The provision and maintenance of a public hall for the use of the inhabitants of the Borough of Reigate and Banstead without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, including use for meetings, lectures and classes and for other forms of recreation and leisure time occupation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.’

The Colman Redland Centre is now a flourishing community facility enjoyed by people of all ages for a wide range of activities.  The Trustees are concerned not only to maintain the halls in good condition, but to effect improvements wherever possible.  As such, the Trustees recently built a new structure which has the JNA hall and the meeting room in it to replace the original small hall.  It also includes disabled facilities and both have a hearing loop.