The Fear Hall is the operating name of the J N Fear Institute.
This is a charity set up under the will of local businessman John Nelson Fear, who died on 18th May 1917, for the sole purpose of “founding, establishing, and providing, furnishing and equipping premises in the Parish of Keynsham in the name of J.N. Fear Institute to be used in perpetuity for the purpose of reading, entertainment, and meeting in recreation rooms, and a club for the use of residents in the Parish of Keynsham and otherwise for the benefit and enjoyment of inhabitants of the said Parish, provided that the Institute should not be used for any political purpose whatsoever”.
The official opening of the Institute took place on April 7th 1937, the delay being due to the fact that the sum of money left was insufficient to build a hall, but after a period of judicious investment it had increased so that the purpose of the will could be fulfilled.
Both the use of the building and the management of it have evolved to meet changing circumstances over the years but it still fulfils the original aim of provide a meeting place for social and community activities. It is the only such establishment in the town that is independent of any religious, educational or larger charitable organization.
To encourage use by local organizations, and in line with the original intention of providing a club, the Institute offers membership to local clubs and societies. In return for a modest annual subscription they receive discounts on room hire and have the opportunity to participate in the management of the Institute via its Management Committee. Ten local organizations are currently Affiliated Members of the Institute.
The Institute is run on a day-to-day basis by the Management Committee, on which the trustees also sit.
Any surplus made from the letting of the rooms, after maintenance and running costs, is invested in improvements to the premises.
The Fear Hall is a registered charity no. 304566