(N.B. – If you recognise yourselves from any of the historical pictures and have serious objections to the images being used here, just drop us a line and we will take them down.)

1939 – Built and used as an administration centre and hostel housing war workers during the War.

1942 – Definitely used as a school.

1942 – A document showing “plan of the Corporation’s Cheylesmore Housing”. The land shown to be available for the housing redevelopment is a block of approximately 15 acres, extending south from Poitiers Road to a border reaching the end of Foresters Road and Queen Phillipa Street (which seem to have been previously connected by a “Hainault Road”, now mostly a stretch of green space amongst the nearby housing).

1943 – Estate containing Cheylesmore Hostel controlled by Coventry Corporation, specifically the Housing Committee, which led to some competition regarding the reallocation of a lot of the space, for housing, with a previous proposal to turn it into a playing field.

1944 –The 1944 Education Act; the Ministry of Education emphasizes the need for local education authorities to establish/develop community centres (for “social, athletic [and] educational” programs), as increased industrialization and the end of the war had led to more leisure time for many.

1945 – Report submitted to the Housing Committee from Mr. D.E.E. Gibson, City Architect, regarding the proposed reuse of the Cheylesmore Hostel for housing (including the consideration of whether to retain the hostel without redevelopment (for budget purposes), or to redevelop some or all of the hostel for family based housing).

The hostel, as of the report, had the following facilities:

  • Sick bay;
  • Laundry facilities;
  • Hairdressing block;
  • Quartermaster’s stores building;
  • Carpenter’s shop;
  • Ambulance and fire garage;
  • Boiler House;
  • Managerial staff block;
  • Both higher and lower grade staff blocks;
  • Residents’ blocks (10 blocks holding 64 people each; included baths, showers and W.Cs);
  • Welfare block (unspecified use, likely recreational facilities of some kind. This was proposed by Gibson as an ideal location for a community centre);

At this time the hostel housed 701 people in total, both staff and residents. It is reported to have had concrete floors throughout, a mix of brick and clay walls and corrugated iron and asbestos roofs. Heating was also available in all blocks.

1947 – A Mr. and Mrs. Strong play their part in the lobbying for a local entertainment venue, specifically to host their locally renowned dance classes; they succeed.

1947 – Centre provided schooling until the opening of Howes and Manor Park in the 1950’s.

1948 – Miss Davis was Caretaker logged in the visitor’s book.

1948 – 8th May: Cheylesmore Community Association formed; opened by the deputy Lord Mayor: Victor Augustus Hammond

1948 – Cheylesmore Youth Club began.

1948 – Cheylesmore Youth Centre Football Club began.

1949 – Groups on offer, as of the Cheylesmore Community Association’s first annual report, include:

  • Film club (including Saturday afternoon matinees for young children);
  • Dressmaking class (25 members signed, 17 in regular attendance);
  • Ladies mixed crafts (around 40 members);
  • Poster design/lettering;
  • Mixed choir;
  • Tennis;
  • Table Tennis;
  • Camera club (apparently poor turnout?);
  • Modern dance;
  • Ladies’ fitness (“Keep Fit”);
  • Football (played on Whitley Common);
  • Men’s crafts;
  • Brief magazine published (“Cheylesmore Chat”) – abandoned after two issues at least temporarily.;

1964 – 10th June: First Citizens Advice Bureau in Coventry opens at centre.

1965 – Centre becomes a registered charity.

1965 – Pre-school opens.

Late 1960s – Still being used as a school.

1969 – 12 groups based at centre.

1971 – 19th March: Bar Lounge opened.

1972 – Volunteers re-wire centre.

1972 – The external of the building was painted.

1972 – Building converted to natural gas central heating.

1972 – 19 groups based at the centre (known as sections then):

  • The Coventry Karate Club;
  • The Guildhall Amateur Operatic Society and
  • N.R Amateur Football Club;
  • Coventry Art Guild;
  • Brownies/Girl Guides;
  • Dancing Classes;
  • Junior Badminton;
  • Styvechale CA;
  • Ladies R.F.C;
  • Tufty Club;
  • Mothers Club;
  • Cheylesmore Old Boys R.F.C;
  • Falcon Fencing Club;
  • Warwickshire fencing union;
  • Drama;
  • Over 60’s;
  • Playgroup;
  • Badminton;
  • Ladies Badminton;
  • Football;
  • Neale Academy of Dancing;
  • Eighteen Plus;
  • Three spires Model Raceways

1974 – School Kitchen and dining area converted to a Youth facility.

1987 – Kings Church begins meeting at centre.

1988 – Asbestos Roofs replaced and Main Hall wooden floor replaced. Windows replaced around this time and some blocked up.

1991 – Centre income just 14K.

1992 – August 1st: Charity cycle ride trips to Ireland began.

1993 – August 2nd: Charity cycle ride trips to Ireland began.

1994 – Centre toy library closes.

1995 – Community industry stop luncheon club.

1996 – Weight-watchers start meeting on Centre.

1999 – Adult Education starts here.

2001 – Survived potential closure.

2004 – April: Housing Office closes.

2005 – January: New Car Park completed.

2005 – September: Football Court re-built.

2006 – Half of the centre refurbished.

2008 –  Became a Children’s Centre.

2009 – Centre began to be painted blue.

2010 – Childrens Centre offices built.

2010 – Centre becomes charitable company.

2010 – Trustees begin looking at the future and a new centre.

2010  Association became a charitable company.

2011 Harry Hartley chairperson passes away.

2012  Private Art Classes begin on Saturdays.

2012 Cheylesmore Children’s Centre closes.

2012  SpecSavers agree to sponsor new centre brochure.

2013  New groups include:
• Chess;
• Teach Smart;
• Yoga;
• Beauty Course;
• Woodwork;
• Parkside residents.

2013  Coventry Building Society becomes their local charity – presentation to staff.

2013  New drawings of our dream for the centre are unveiled.

2017 – Cheylesmore Library became a Community Library with corridor built to open up the East Wing.

2017 – Bardsley Car Project launched

2019 – New Main Entrance opens and Room 2 enlarged and re-modelled

2019, 2021 – Cheylesmore Youth Club launches

2020 – Centre Closed due to Covid 19

2020 – Cheylesmore Food Hub begins

2020 – Cafe expected to be completed toward end of year

4 thoughts on “History of the Centre

  1. I have lived in Cheylesmore for over 50 years and there is a lot that has been left out.

  2. Hi Rebecca, thank you for your message, if you have dates and information please forward to paulj@cheylesmorecentre.co.uk. I am mostly trying to get information specifically about the community centre.
    We also lack photos for the 40 – 70s.

  3. I remember going there as a child (my first school) before Howes. I also remember my mum going to it’s library in the main hall. Later in my secondary school years having to go there for some lessons and later still for yoga and photography. And attending productions of plays by the Cheylesmore Players. Fond memories of the place except once I was nearly hit by a workmans hut which was blown off it’s foundations just as I was walking across the playground for school.

  4. Hi Maggy, that is really good to hear. Do you want any dates related to what you remember?

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