Memory Lane - Happiest time of my life

Billy Lewis pictured in the Boys Welfare building.
Billy Lewis pictured in the Boys Welfare building.


I have fond memories of my time spent at this club.

Some of the lads lived close by in Brunswick Grove where I lived, some were from Old Town, and quite a few used to travel down from the Dyke House area.

It used to open from 6.30pm until 9pm.

You could guarantee we would all be sitting on that little wall waiting to get in from 6pm, even though we would definitely not get in until 6.30pm, five nights a week.

When the doors were finally opened by Mr Stubbs and Reg Tweddle we would pile in, the majority heading straight for the gym, for football.

A few went for the snooker table, even though the rain was dripping from the roof onto the cloth.

Some lads would go upstairs for boxing and judo classes.

But the gym was my favourite.

There would be about 30 to 40 of us waiting to play three-a-side football. The winners stayed on.

All the lads used to sit on top of the wall bars waiting for their chance to get on.

This photo is of me showing the Mail how bad the conditions in the gym were. I think it was 1967 or 68, the same year it was knocked down.

There were quite a few lads who made the grade in football, but it was the small gym upstairs where the most successful lads were being taught their fancied sport, boxing.

They both went on to win Lonsdale belts and were true Hartlepool champions.

I’m talking about George and John Feeney, coaches by a brilliant man in George Bowes.

I missed the Boys’ Welfare, and the pieces of concrete falling from the ceiling.

You had to be nimble on your feet in that gym alright.

When the ‘Welly’ closed down Bridge Youth Club opened, but it was never the same and most of the lads lost contact with each other.

But for me the Boys’ Welfare was the happiest time in my life.

Billy Lewis,

Longscar Walk,