Penn circa 1970 and the Y.W.C.A

They say life goes in circles and for me this is certainly true regarding living in Penn.  During the 1970’s I was about to get married and by a strange coincidence I was offered a house in Penn by a colleague who had recently been bequeathed another property in the area.  The first thing that strikes me on looking back was the lack of cars on the roads.  My own street only had a handful of cars whereas today you can’t always find a parking space.  I had not visited Penn for many years and I admit to been shocked to find that nothing remained of my old home on the Penn road.

During the early 70’s I worked part time at the Y.W.C.A in Claverley drive Warstones and it never ceases to amaze me just how many families are long established in the Penn area.  The “Y.W”, as it was commonly known, held youth and junior clubs on several evenings during the week and also held judo classes and day centres.  Weekends were usually either private parties or discos.   Christmas was always special as the staff gave up their time to lay on a Christmas day for he lonely.  Most of the staff was involved and the day included a Christmas dinner, a variety show, tea and gifts.  The judo club was run by the late John Brown of Warstones, a charming man who also worked at Penn children’s hospital.  Tragically he died of cancer at an early age.  Overall Roy Russell, a Londoner who quickly became part of the local community, was in control of the centre.   Many of the local old boys remember Roy and his staff with affection.  He still lives in the area.  The “YW” could rate a book on it’s own of stories about the activities that were held there.  It would be improper of me not to mention other names associated with the centre, such as Andre and Liz Picken, Barry Phillips, Kath, Ray Stone, Mrs Burns, Margaret Green, John Blything, Jean, Reg and many more and my apologies to those I have forgotten.  Roy retired a few years ago and was given an honour by the Queen. Roy Russell died in 2006 following an illness.  All those people that had the good fortune to meet or work with him, during his time in this city, will sadly miss him.  Roy brought nothing but good to all those he worked with and those he worked for.  He was also a keen model boat builder and sailor.  He leaves a wife and family.  

Return to 
the menu
Proceed to the 
next page