The building was constructed in 1906, by mineworkers subscriptions as indicated from the facia of the building which holds the stone architectural details of that era. The building was handed over 'in trust' to the people of Ferryhill to be used for community purposes and has been in continuous use since that time. The building, now 100 years old, has responded over the years to the ever changing needs of the community and continues to do so in a relaxed yet responsive manner.
Closure of the Dean and Chapter Colliery in 1966, and the movement of families to seek work in other coalfields, saw the weakening of the financial support of the building and it was at this time, therefore, that the decline of the building and its use began.
In 1996, the then Board of Trustees accepted that parts of the building were beyond repair and a large section would need to be demolished (this part of the building had originally housed a cinema - 'The Majestic'). This then became the home of a local youth club opening 7 days a week.
The Trustees then accepted the task of raising monies for a total refurbishmemnt of the Dean Bank and Ferryhill Literary Institute. The demolition of 'The Majestic' was approved as that area of the building was now deemed unsafe for public use.
Convincing the funding agencies of the need for this community building did prove difficult. The building had deteriorated to such an extent that the popular concensus was that refurbishment would not be cost-effective and that to demolish the entire building and start again with a new-build would be the best answer to our problems. Because of the complex situation at this time, funders would not consider financing the project and further work had to be done to convince potential funders that the planned refurbishment was, in fact, our best option.
The remainder of the building was still in community use albeit under the most difficult and trying conditions. The Trustees were having to accept the fact that the condition of the very structure of the building could not survive another winter and that closure would be inevitable in 1999/2000.
In 1999, Sedgefield Borough Council loaned the Trustees the sum of £43,000 for the purpose of demolishing, by this time, a very distressed cinema building (this is now the current car park area).
This commitment seemed to give encouragement to three funders who had been approached:
Community Resource Fund
Coalfield Regeneration Trust
and with their backing, early in 2000, the building was closed for the purpose of bringing it into the 21st century. The £600,000 refurbishment was to commence!