- 1932 - 1939 (Creation)
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The Croydon Occupational Centre for Unemployed Men opened in 1932 was one of the first occupational centres in the country to open, and did so temporarily in the old Whitgift Middle School building in Church Road. For a short period in 1934 the centre was housed in the British Legion Hall on the London Road, until their new premises at Robin House, 6 Morland Road were ready in December 1934. These premises had formerly been an Industrial School and Detention Home. Within the second year of operation, it was decided to omit the word Occupational from the centres title, making it the Croydon Centre for Unemployed Men.
Soon after opening, the centre was seeing almost 300 men a day. Activities within the centre developed the mens skills in carpentry, cooking, gardening, cleaning, gardening and maintenance. The centre also had a library and reading room, guest lectures, and sports and games facilities available to the men. The centre operated with the help of volunteers and helpers. It was funded mainly by annual subscriptions.
In November 1936 a Womens Section of the centre started up in the Methodist Church Hall in Parchmore Road, providing a meeting place for the wives of the unemployed men. They organized drives and fund raising for the Centre, and by the outbreak of the Second World War had moved to Robin House.
The Centre received two royal visits in June 1933, from Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George. Edwards visit was an informal one but George included the centre in his tour of the borough, which was a part of the celebrations for the Jubilee of Croydons Incorporation. During the visit he toured the building and its facilities, and also chatted with the men at the centre. (Croydon Times 10th June 1933).
The 1943 Annual Report mentions that funds were low, and it probably closed soon afterwards. By 1955 the building was in use as a Corporation Day Nursery.
Gift to Croydon Public Library by G.P. Holden of Norbury on 19 August 1965. Earlier provenance unknown. Transferred from Local Studies Library collection qS70(331.13)CRO in 1999.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Accession Number: A413
Croydon Centre for Unemployed Men visitors book
Item date: 1932-1939
Depositor's Name: Holden, G P
Accession date: 19/08/1965
Custodial history: Transferred from Local Studies Library collection qS70(331.13)CRO
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A visitors book from the Croydon Centre for Unemployed Men, with signatures of the visitors and where they were visiting from (area and/or organization). The hand written entries date from September 25th 1932 until June 16th 1939. The reasons for visits are not given, although many were from people hoping to open similar centres elsewhere. The visitors book includes the signatures of Edward, Prince of Wales (7 June 1933) and Prince George (9 June 1933).
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