The Abington Institute was built by Mr. Emerson in 1909 as a meeting place for the working men of the villages of Great and Little Abington. He was the squire of the Abington Hall Estate; the majority of the houses in the two villages were owned by the estate and most of the villagers were employed by it. The building was then a simple timber-framed structure consisting of a hall with a small lean-to building on the side.
The Abington Hall Estate was sold in 1929 and the building was bought by Robert Owen Roberts, an absentee landlord who also bought many of the cottages in the village. It was rented by a descendant of the Mortlock family in order that it could remain as a community facility for the village. However after Mr Roberts died in the early 1950s, the building was again sold in 1954 and purchased by the village for use as a village hall and since then has been run as a registered charity.
By the 1970s the building was in need of improvement and additional facilities. Money was raised to add extensions: a kitchen, lavatories and changing rooms for sports clubs. These were flat-roofed extensions and again by the 1990s the building was in need of renovation to bring it up to modern standards. A group called RAISE was set up to run the project; after valiant efforts to raise money locally and unsuccessful bids for major grants, the project was put on hold but with a vital pot of money in the Institute's bank account.
In about 2002 a major new push to improve the Institute began to gain momentum. The Parish Plan for the Abingtons, 2002 to 2004, brought greater focus on the need for a modern building with new facilities to serve the needs of our thriving village.
The Institute reopened in 2007 after a major extension and refurbishment was completed with financial support from the Big Lottery Fund, South Cambs District Council and WREN. Significantly, in addition to these external funds, well over £200,000 was raised from local people and local businesses.
The new and improved facilities include the main hall, a meeting room, terrace room, kitchen, changing rooms, showers, disabled facilities and a large light foyer where a community café operates. All areas are provided with modern, high quality equipment. The excellent facilities are used by many community organisations and can be hired by villagers.