Robert Beard Youth Centre celebrates 50 years

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 February 2015

The Robert Beard Centre in the 1970s.

The Robert Beard Centre in the 1970s.


Memories will be shared by past and present members of a youth centre when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The Robert Beard Youth Centre in High Street, Hornchurch, will welcome old friends today to commemorate the occasion.

Sally Hart, neighbourhood team facilitator at the centre, said: “The day is going to be all about nostalgia and remembering all of the good times that people had here.

“It is a very important place because young people have been coming here for decades so it is bound to have had made an impact.”

Robert William Beard – born in Dagenham on July 22, 1878 – moved to Hornchurch in 1914 where he owned a bakery shop.

He soon got involved with local affairs when he won a seat on the Romford Rural District Council before transferring to Hornchurch’s Urban District Council – he was elected chairman in 1937.

Robert was also a magistrate in Romford and this was where he realised there was very little provision for young people. He became one of the pioneers for Youth Service Hornchurch.

The building was used by the 2nd and 4th Hornchurch Scouts before it was turned into a community centre by the Chief Education Officer of Essex County Council in 1944.

The centre was demolished and replaced in 1965 – at a cost of almost £40,000 – with the building that stands today.

Robert’s granddaughter will join the visitors at the weekend.

Sally said: “This place bring back a lot of memories for people which I’m sure they will want to share.”

The celebrations will start at 12.30pm at the Robert Beard Youth Centre today.

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