Penketh and Sankey Boys Club and Youth Centre, Honiton Way

Today’s picture shows the official opening of Penketh Youth Centre on Honiton Way in 1966, or to give it its full title of the time “Penketh and Sankey Boys Club and Youth Centre”. In the picture we can see Sir Alfred Owen unveiling the commemorative plaque, next to him are Dr. J.W. Chamberlain Chairman of the Boys’ Club and the Venerable H.E. Evans, Archdeacon of Warrington. Also shown in the picture are the Rev. McKibbin of St Mary’s Great Sankey and Mr. Forster club Secretary and Treasurer.

The article accompanying this picture states that the club had formerly met in “a 300 year old building used by 140 members” but that with the new building they already had 200 children registered. It goes on to add that there would be capacity for up to 400 and that the new club would for the first time allow girls.

Features of the new purpose-built youth centre included a coffee bar, stage, lecture room, TV room, craft room, changing rooms, and showers. One unusual feature added was a glass walled office for the club leader, allowing him to see what was happening throughout the club without leaving his desk.

Sir Alfred Owen, who officially opened the club, stated in his speech that he was glad to see the building being opened with a religious dedication, stating that “Religion provides an anchor in a boy’s life. It is important in building up a boy’s character”, he added that in his opinion no youth club could be run properly without a religious grounding.

Sir Alfred Owen (1908 – 1975) was a Managing director of Rubery Owen, which by the time of this photograph in the late 1960s comprised of around 66 UK companies and 18 overseas, including Electro Hydraulics Ltd of Warrington, which eventually became Rubery Owen Conveyancer Ltd.

This Warrington connection and his work as a Church of England Lay Preacher explain why he was chosen to open the Youth club at Penketh.

This article was originally posted on Monday, June 26th, 2017.