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The Community Centre


Humphrey Park Community Centre stands on the western side of Humphrey Lane in Urmston, midway between Urmston and Stretford town centres, within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester.  

Before the 1930s, the area around the community centre location was known as Gorsey Brow and the original route of Humphrey Lane would have passed in a straight line through the current location of the community centre building and bowling green with the grounds of Gorse Hill Farm on one side of the lane and The Manor Buildings and The Grove on the other. 
 
During the 1930s, Messrs. Longworth and Taylor bought several plots of land in the area for building purposes. They built the Humphrey Park and nearby Newcroft estates in 1937/8. Due to the Great Depression of the 1930s, approximately 100 of the houses remained unsold and these were put up for rent, although many have been sold in recent years.

At the beginning of World War II, an air-raid precautions post and shelter was built on spare land at the junction of Humphrey Lane and Humphrey Crescent on the site of the current community centre. This was a surface level shelter, and a great many of these were built all over the country. After the war, through the efforts of the Humphrey Park & District Residents Society, Urmston Council had a large extension added to the air-raid shelter, and this became the original Humphrey Park Community Centre in 1948, at which time a provisional management committee was set up to run it.
 
Humphrey Park Community Centre when it opened in 1948
 
Provisional Committee 1948
Mr Long, Mr Jennions, Pop Reynolds, Mr Storry
Mr Arblaster, Mrs Lees, Mrs Mountford, Mr Short
 
 
A library was opened at the centre in 1948. This was closed in 1990. A mobile library visited the centre on a weekly basis until 2012, at which time the service was discontinued.
 
Official opening of Humphrey Park Library - October 1948
Left to right: T. Farrell, Councillor A. Howsin, Councillor W. Newton,
Mrs L. Read, K. Lowe.
 
 
In 1949, a bowling Green was laid due to the efforts of the centre's first president, Mr Clegg of Humphrey Lane, and this was officially opened by him. Unfortunately, Mr Clegg was in poor health and he died later the same evening. A cup, known as Clegg's Cup, is competed for each year in June in his memory. The Humphrey Park & District Bowling Club was formed in 1950. The Ladies Bowling Club was formed in 1951.
 
Over the years, many community groups benefited from the wide range of activities held at the centre.
 
Children's Christmas Party 1949
 
The Old Folks Club about 1949
 
In 1959, discussions began between Humphrey Park District Community Association and Urban District Council of Urmston regarding the building of a new community centre. Over the next few years a least two different layouts were considered and estimates in the region of £7,000 to £8,250 were obtained. The original community centre was demolished and rebuilt in 1962. The current building was opened on 5th January 1963 by Councillor Royle-Higginson.

Community Centre Plans 1962
(Click to enlarge)
 
No one knows for sure why the original community centre was demolished, but it could have been for one of these reasons:
  • It is well known that many ground level air raid shelters were built using a soft lime mortar due to a lack of cement at the time. Perhaps this reduced the possible lifespan of the original building.
  • Perhaps it was felt that a new building would better serve the needs of the community.
 In 1967, a small extension was built onto the store room next to the kitchen and this became the annexe.

The Community Centre in 1974
 
 
A full rewire, with new heating and lighting, was carried out in 2011, followed by alterations to ensure DDA compliance.

 
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