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Our purpose

Who we are and how we can help

The Directors of the Shakespeare Temperance Trust CIC meet twice a year (in May and November) to allocate proceeds from Shakespeare Temperance Trust’s current investments to numerous charities and community groups serving the people of Durham.



We celebrated our 150th anniversary in 2023, and the Trust’s mission remains to support the people of Durham in every way we can.



If you run a project or a charity within Durham City or the immediate surrounding vicinity which supports children, young people, the disabled, the vulnerable or the elderly, and are seeking funding, do get in touch to see how we might be able to help.


North Road

Our Purpose and Origins


The Shakespeare Temperance Trust owes its creation to the strong temperance movement that grew in Britain during the middle part of the 1800s in response to the increase of crime and social problems among the new industrial workers.


They had flocked to the cities to work in the new factories and found solace for their exploitation in the rapidly increasing numbers of public houses.  Durham had the worst drunkenness record in Northern England, closely followed by Newcastle.


To combat this, the Independent Order of Good Templars – a Christian temperance organisation which started in America and had about 700 members in seven lodges in Durham City – decided to establish a “Public House without the drink” that could act as a centre for social activities and also as a hall for Templar meetings.


When The Shakespeare Hotel at 71 North Road, Durham City, came up for sale, the Templars determined to buy it. It was a costly investment, but one which many individuals throughout the city were keen to see created.


Thanks to the support of many, they successfully raised sufficient funds to purchase the building and the Shakespeare Temperance Trust, made up of the eight men who had played the biggest part in the purchase, was created to oversee the new establishment. Their legal declaration on June 24 1873 also ensured that the Shakespeare British Workman Public House would remain teetotal in perpetuity. 

Now known as the Shakespeare Temperance Trust CIC, we continue to own and operate the same building in Durham at 71 North Road. This is nowadays host to several shops on the ground floor and a large hall, known as the Shakespeare Hall, and several additional rooms on the upper floor too, operated by Durham Community Association. More than 30 groups meet at the hall, with church goers, artists, dancers, film-lovers, jugglers and crafters among the people to use it.


To this day, we at the Shakespeare Temperance Trust remain committed to our original cause to support the health and wellbeing of all of Durham City’s residents.


If you run a community group which supports children, young people, the vulnerable, elderly or disabled in the immediate vicinity of Durham City and are looking for funding, get in touch, and let’s see how we might be able to help.


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