Heneage Road

1906 The YMCA moved into Heneage Road

On October 14 1908, the Hull Daily Mail wrote that the Mayor of Grimsby’s appeal for subscriptions to purchase the suitable house known as ‘Fernlea’ on Heneage Road for the purpose of establishing a branch of the YMCA in the town, had received a good response. £253 3s 0d had been received. Mr. D Brocklesby had contributed £100; Messrs F.S. and F.W Bennett £50 each; and Mrs. E.A. Riggall £25, which suggest donations were from a fairly select group. Nevertheless, the property in Heneage Road was purchased in 1906. The YMCA had arrived in Grimsby, ready to make a contribution to the spiritual and moral welfare of young people in the new century.

Minutes of a meeting of the Grimsby YMCA in October 1939 record that a Form of Requisition had been received from the Admiralty: the entirety of the Heneage Road building was to be taken over for use as a military hospital. The committee discussed the matter and agreed to write to the Admiralty; the loss of the Heneage Road centre would result in serious financial problems for the Grimsby YMCA.

The claim for compensation was dealt with by headquarters in London. At a meeting at All Saints Hall in May 1940, a letter from YMCA Headquarters was read out along with a letter from the District Valuer which stated that a rental value of £130 had been placed on the building. This amount would be paid to the YMCA; however, the Grimsby association had claimed a value of £400 per year. In October, agreement was reached for the sum of £220 rent per annum and £33.7s.0d for removal expenses. A further reminder letter about non-payment had to be sent before any money was received.

Faced with the need to find new accommodation at short notice, the YMCA began a search for properties in town. Various offers were made, including the use of rooms above Burton’s tailors in Freeman Street at a rental of £1.00 a week plus rates. This proved to be unsuitable and after further investigations into properties in Brighowgate and Grimsby Market Place, the association relocated to All Saints Church in Heneage. From here, they began to provide support for servicemen and run boys clubs. The set-up was far from ideal and the service was reduced to three nights a week in January 1941, before ceasing to operate completely after complaints made by church officials about damage caused.

As they had in 1917, the YMCA operated a hostel from the Imperial Hotel on Grimsby Road. There was great demand for additional accommodation, particularly for troops in transit; as a result, the association secured the premises known as Dring’s Hotel at 78 Cleethorpes Road to provide extra accommodation for up to 80 solders.