In 1896, Sir Ernest donated 250.000 SEK to Grängesbergs workers. The money went to a fund called “E Cassels arbetarefond vid Grängesbergs gruvor” (E Cassels fund for workers at Grangesbergs mines). This fund was set up to pay for the purchase of land and construction of a building containing the library and reading room for the workers. The building was also to be used for concerts, conventions, conferences, and a lecture hall.
Moreover, a park and a place for sporting events were to be built. The fund would also be used to build a combined bathhouse and laundry as well as a school kitchen.
The Stockholm based architect of castles August Lindegren, also known as AGI, was commissioned to design the house. The facade was inspired by the Bank of England in London. The builder was Anders Hansson from Koping. The construction cost for just the house was over 115.000 SEK.
According to Sir Ernest, 100.000 SEK out of the donation was funded for the future operation of the facility. Though the funds were spent on the actual construction of the facility.
Cassels was inaugurated with great fanfare on January 10, 1900. The opening speaker was Bishop J.A Ekman from Västerås.
Influence for the workers did not occur
Even though the donation was to Grängesbergs workers, the Board during the first 20 years consisted of governors, factory managers, directors, and one dean and merchants. These forbade, among others, Hjalmar Branting speaking in Cassel. Also, in 1913 a lecture in about August Strindberg was banned when Strindberg was considered too socialist.
It led to some trouble at the beginning of the century about who would be allowed to lecture in Cassel. Restrictions on political meetings do not exist.
Grängesbergs Philharmonic Orchestra was founded the same year as Cassels
Over the years, the house has been used very extensively for various purposes. From the beginning, there was a library and reading room where workers could borrow and read books. The auditorium was used for concerts, theater, etc. Grängesbergs Philharmonic Orchestra, which was founded the same year with Cassels, has used it as their home arena both in concerts and rehearsals. Other rooms in the house have been used for club meetings and gatherings of all kinds.
Cinema until the 1970s
When cinema film was introduced in Grängesberg, they made changes to the auditorium to be able to show films there. After that, movies were shown in Cassel until the mid-1970s.
The house had also previously been the residence of the caretaker, who lived and worked there full-time in the 1970s.
Since the entire donation was expended during the construction, it was the mining company that stood as the head of Cassel and accounted for operation and maintenance. The mining company also used the house extensively for meetings and training.
Ludvika municipality takes over the main responsibility
When the Grängesberg company liquidated and SSAB (Swedish Steel AB) was founded in 1978, it took over the mining operations in Grangesberg. In discussions, it was decided that the Ludvika municipality was to take over the main responsibility for Cassels. This happened in 1980. Ludvika also makes contributions to the running of the facility.
Today, the board for the foundation “Stiftelsen E. Cassels Arbeterfond” is voted by the Ludvika City Council and consists of five members. Two of them are chosen after propositions from the miners union.