Birkenhead YMCA

7th March 2007, 16:07
Hello everyone.

The Y.M.C.A., at Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead, was used by Holts to accommodate any 'out-of-town' lads being trained at Odyssey Works. I personally stayed there for 6 weeks during my Deck Boy training - 6-11-61 to 10-1-62,(had pneumonia after 4 weeks, so had to do 2 weeks on next course). Was there again in Dec 1963 for my E.D.H. & Lifeboat courses.

The old hostel has now been demolished and a new one is being erected on the same site.

A few months prior closure I was given a tour around the old building. The managerial staff had no idea of the connection between the hostel and the Blue Funnel Line, and were very surprised to learn that so many young trainees had stayed there. As a result of that visit I have been invited to the 'stone laying' ceremony in April, (the original stone is being used). There will be a Daily Post reporter at the event, and the YMCA manager has asked me tell the reporter all about the connection between the old building and Blue Funnel, and relate some of the tales.

If anyone can assist me with this I would be most grateful, and if anyone has, or knows someone who has, any photographs taken at the YMCA, could you please let me know. (I don't suppose many of us had cameras at that young age).

P.S. Please forward this message to other ex. crew members you may have in your address book.

7th March 2007, 20:22
I stayed there in 1964 and they had a new dormitory financed by Blue Flue to accomodate the trainees. There was an elderly gentleman who took it upon himself to act as kind of a father figure to the trainees,I cant remember his name but at 16 he was a very welcoming figure. He had never been to sea but new the Syllabus for EDH off by heart and used to help prepare the candidates. It really was a home from home for the Blue Funnel boys and for many years after if I was ever in Birkenhead I always used to stay there. Les

7th March 2007, 21:58
As a youngster in the late 1940s I lived within 15 minutes walk of the Birkenhead YMCA. My parents insisted that I attend the Saturday morning gym classes.
These were run by a Mr Charles Lord, a diminutive but indiarubber figure who cajoled and bullied us through the exercises he had devised to put some muscle on our (in my case puny) bodies.
Mrs Lord, a tall gaunt woman, played the piano to try and keep us in some sort of synchronisation.
Not being of an athletic nature, to this day, I hated these classes with a vengeance, but there was no mercy, Saturday morning was sadist time.
Nevertheless, I am sorry to hear that the scene of my frequent humiliations has been knocked down.
As I recall the YMCA also had a small theatre which was used for amateur dramatics and Scout Gang Shows etc.


8th March 2007, 01:23
Great story Sow-Sow-La (and interesting name), I have a feeling there are going to be some interesting follow ups and look forward to them.