The District Centre – a History
The origins of the Centre lay in work for the District by the late Roy (Tavi) Hewartson, who as Badge Secretary used a room in his home, firstly in Yarrow Gate and then Melrose Way, to issue badges and sell a small selection of uniforms, record cards and books. When Roy moved out of the District, the ’embryo’ Centre had to be found a new home.
In 1978 Eric & Louise Heald offered to let the District use the converted cellar at their house on the corner of Brown Street and Eaves Lane. Access to the cellar was by a stairway, built by Sid MacDonald (ex – A.D.C Cub Scouts). The cellar became open for use in August 1978 and was used by the District until 1983, when Eric & Louise Heald moved out of the District.
The District Centre then began it’s journey to find a permanent place of residence outside of a Scouter’s house. Chorley Borough Council came to the rescue in 1983 when they let the District use premises formerly known as Joyce’s Hairdressers at 10 Bolton Street, Chorley as their Headquarters. The Centre was open for business on September 8th 1983 and was officially opened by Councillor Jean Rigby on November 19th 1983.
In December 1985, almost two years after moving in, the lease ran out on the building and the Council required it for commercial use. They gave the District an option to move to premises at 75 Brooke Street, which was accepted. The Centre managed to open for normal business on January 10th 1986.
As this building was supposedly due to be demolished in the near future the Centre moved out when the lease expired in April 1988 and into the old Thornleys butchers shop at 55 Steeley Lane. The shop complete with it’s meat vault brings back memories, especially those, when prior to moving in, volunteers cleaned out the place of it’s ‘funny smells’.
Once again with the building due for demolition, the Centre looked for somewhere else to go and this turned out to be in one of the upstairs meeting rooms at Hollinshead Street Church, where their Scout Group was based.
After a few months it relocated to the Venture Scout room in Chorley Healey’s Headquarters on Wright Street in September 1990.
The District had already managed to acquire a couple of portacabins from, which were going to be converted into a large unit, capable of housing the District shop and a couple of meeting rooms.
These cabins were erected in Wright Street behind the Chorley Healey Scout Group Headquarters and so the Roy Hewartson (District) Centre finally became operational early in 1993.
After the destructive fire on the August 31st 1993, Chorley Borough Council let the District have the use of an old shop in Steeley Lane, not the previous place, as this had been demolished a couple of years before.
On April 26th 1997 after almost four years of hard work, the dedicated and enthusiastic band of volunteers involved with the Centre’s construction, saw the culmination of their efforts when it was officially opened by Roy Fisher, the District President.
It cost approximately £130,000 to rebuild The Scout Centre.
In February 2001 the next phase of the building project was completed, when security fencing was erected around the building.