Finchley Youth Hall History

1905 - The Primitive Methodist Chapel in East End Road moved to 142 High Road, the same year that the trams arrived in the High Road

1939 to 1949 - The chapel was closed during this period

1940 - At approximately 5.30am on the 2nd of October a High Impact bomb (incident report 138) was dropped on the area between Leicester Road and Huntington Road - rear of shops in High Road. There were no casualties, fire, roads blocked or damage to mains. The blast from a land mine (number 835 on the incident report) had previously damaged the roof, windows and organ of the Finchley Methodist Chirch. As the Primitive Methodist Church building (now the Youth Theatre) was gutted by the HI bomb the two churches were combined. "Later , in 1953 we also welcomed members of the King Street Chapel, which had become a Presbyterian Mission since Methodism left it."
(FMC report eastfinchleymethodist.org.uk/about-us)
(Map of all incident reports Finchley Bomb Map)

1947 - On the 12 June the sale of the building at 142 High Road was agreed for the cost of £3750 plus tax. The Middlesex County Council was party to the purchase and negotiations involved Mr. W. Harold Perry and the Finchley Borough Council. (see MCC minutes) At a meeting on the 14 July 1947, Finchley Borough Council recommended that the proposal should go ahead and that "a Youth Centre be established in the former "Trinity Methodist Church" at East Finchley".
The description of the building in the proposal was given in a letter from the District Valuer's office, 310-312 Seven Sisters Road, dated 19 May 1947 as follows
"A brick built chapel erected in 1904, set slightly back from the road and at an angle to it. Attached to the Chapel are a Vestry, Cloak Room and Kitchenette. There is a Church Hall at the rear, of brick construction, which was erected in 1936. The Church has suffered war damage, as a result of which considerable repairs are necessary. It is understood that the Church Authorities will retain the benefit of any pay out by the War Damage Commission so that it is assumed that the cost of the necessary repairs will have to be borne by the purchaser. The hall at the rear is in good condition."

1948 - On Saturday 28 February the rear half of the Youth Hall was opened. Councillor Bryson gave a brief history of the efforts to open a Youth Hall and said "the hall was for youth, and they should run it as they wanted it run". Willow Youth Club, All Saints' Youth Club, Finchley Theatre Club and the Under 20 Club performed to over 100 attendees. On the 31 March the following managers were appointed: William Harold Perry (on behalf of Mr Perry), George Victor White (on behalf of Mr Perry), Councillor John Gordon Bugson (on behalf of the Borough of Finchley), Herbert Henry Wilmot (on behalf of the Borough of Finchley), County Councillor Col. G Beach (on behalf of Middlesex County Council) and County Alderman F Corbelt (on behalf of Middlesex County Council).

1950 - On the 13 of May the front half of the Youth Hall was opened.

1952 - The 1952 DF was held from 19th May to 23rd May with the adjudicator being Eric Newton.
The Finchley Youth Officer, Eric Burton, confirmed to the Council of Youth that a stage had been approved to be built in Youth Hall.
The Finchley Youth Frama Festival for 1952 was held at St Lukes Hall as in earlier years, but once the new stage was completed, all future DFs would be at FYH.

1953 - The building of a stage in Finchley Youth Hall was commenced. There is a personal reminiscence from two of the volunteers involved at Finchley Youth Hall retrospective
For 1953 the DF was still held at St Lukes Hall as the new stage was not planned to be completed until later in the year. That DF was held from 16th March to 21st March with the adjudicator being Dick Williams. The Finchley Press reported on the 27th that the support was poor and the audiences generally unresponsive.

1953 - Finchley Youth Hall stage was officially opened on Saturday 31 October. Finchley Press 6th November 1953 - cutting at FYH telescopic stage
An announcement was made that for the first DF using the new FYH stage the adjudicator would be Maisie Corby.

1954 - The first major event at FYH was when the annual Drama Festival was moved from its earlier home at St Luke's Church Hall, probably in early 1954 although no records have yet been found of the actual date and programme. But the second was when FYT staged an exhibition called 'Finchley Youth Show the Way' which was opened by Chris Chataway in early November to show the great scope and variety of the work done for and by the youth of the borough.
A display of photographs, some lent by The Catholic Herald, showed many youth activities - from actors in the Wembley pageant and partakers in the road safety campaign, to an Aylesford pilgrimage, and wedding photographs.
The exhibition was visited by the Mayor and Mayoress of Finchley, and Councilor Hartigan, chairman of the Finchley Education Committee.

1958 - Additional sanitary work undertaken on the building.

1991 - There was a major fire and running of the building was taken over by Barnet Youth Services. (Originally run by Finchley Youth Office.)

1996 - The Friends of Finchley Youth Theatre registered as a charity.

1998 - Finchley Youth Theatre in Chaville, France for May Day.

2008 - Floor in the dance studio replaced (and new auditorium created) at the cost of £120,000.

2010 - The Entrance steps were changed.

2012 - At the Extraordinary General Meeting of 6th November 2012 it was decided to relaunch the Trust. A members' meeting was called for 27th November 2012.
It was agreed that FoFYT should promote itself and FYT at the forthcoming East Finchley Festival on 8th December.

2013 - Early in the year the LBB thought they would prefer the name Finchley Youth Centre. After discussion with FoFYT it was agreed to put in hand the process of renaming the charity.
A provisional website was put online in May as www.fofyc.co.uk
Subsequently, at a Supporters' meeting in October 2013, it was suggested that the name of the Friends group should stay as Friends of Finchley Youth Theatre to reflect the main purpose of the group.
The Trustees agreed with this at their Board meeting on 29 October partly to avoid the complications involved in changing bank accounts, the Constitution and the name of the existing charity.
The website was moved to the alternative domain www.fofyt.co.uk and the earlier domain deleted.

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Pages updated 21.3.2018