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Building Operations in Progress:

Section 1.

Permission to proceed with the first section was given in

February,

1944,

and

certificates

to

purchase

rationed

commodities

of

timber

and steel soon followed. The work of this section included of the college kitchen, larder, scullery, walling and roof dining hall, an ablution block and a timbered dormitory, a

the construction for half the YMCA hut erected

on

a

solid

brick

foundation.

The

estimated

cost

of

the

section

was

£1,250.

This loaded programme of work had to be completed in less than six months to receive the first group of boys on 27th July. The number of operatives of all trades amounted to eight or ten, excluding electricity fitters, and plumbers, which work became the responsibility of appropriate contractors.

Having laid and raised a brick foundation for a temporary timbered structure, for the dormitory, the bricklayers concentrated on the erection of the spacious kitchen which formed part of the main building.

The carpenter and two labourers then set about erecting the timber sections of the hut. Soon bricklayers and carpenter with labourers ascended scaffolds to work on roofing a lofty kitchen, a skilful operation.

The ablution block soon claimed the attention of the bricklayers, followed by the plumbers, while the foreman and the National Secretary, surveyed the land for the laying of drains and the construction of inspection chambers.

All work kept up with the programme and time table, but half the dining room remained to be completed in just four weeks, and even with an "all hands on deck" effort, essentials only received attention. The structure appeared to be merely a coverage against wet weather! The brickwork on the side walls had to remain without plaster; the gable end near the kitchen and scullery wall had two service hatches but the opposite gable end appeared to be only a temporary defence against rain and nothing more than a frail timbered partition of used zinc sheets nailed to a fragile wooden frame. The rough concrete flooring, only very lightly screeded, produced at first, sarcastic remarks, but later became a veritable skating rink!

Yet despite all this, that large room developed a friendly atmosphere. Here the campers dined, held their sing songs, had debates and listened to lectures and discussions.

The Committee had enquired whether the mining boys from the Valleys and other industrial areas in South Wales could be received on 27th July, as arranged. The competent Building Squad had no doubts. A formal opening had to be delayed but the Committee decided to visit the Camp on a date in late August.

The first group of boys to have a week's holiday came from Newport, while

other camping weeks included boys from Swansea YMCA, Birmingham and Rhondda L.E.A.

Warstock YMCA,

The last week end in August, older boys came together in such numbers that all accommodation was taken up. It was the occasion of a conference of YMCA members. The guest speaker, Mr. Trefor Jenkins, the Youth Organiser for Glamorgan L.E.A., and later to become the Director of Education. He revelled in meeting the young workers in such unusual conditions. They did not hesitate to ask questions or participate in discussions. Many years later he confessed it to be one of the happiest experiences of his work

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