Help us fill in the history gaps for anniversary

Dorset Road Community Centre in Hag Fold
Dorset Road Community Centre in Hag Fold

A community centre’s leaders are asking residents to help uncover the building’s history as they prepare for a milestone celebration.

The committee at Dorset Road Community Centre in Atherton has been discovering how the venue, originally called Hag Fold Community Centre, was built ahead of its 40th anniversary bash this September.

“People remember the petition being put together but then it goes foggy. No-one seems to know what happened to it.”

Norman Bradbury

The group has discovered Atherton resident Susan Pimblett ran a petition in about 1970 to get the centre built, although sadly it seems she died of cancer before her idea could become a reality.

Supporters of the community centre also organised door-to-door collections asking for donations to help get the building off the ground.

However, Dorset Road Community Centre chairman Norman Bradbury says there are still several questions the group would like answering - and he believes readers of our former paper the Leigh Reporter may hold some of the answers.

Mr Bradbury said: “People have been telling us a lot of information went in the Reporter so we need to look at some papers from that time.

“We’ve found out that Susan set the petition up. Young people used to stand on the corner of Hilary Avenue near a substation and she lived in one of the houses there.

“One day she asked them what they wanted and they said a youth club and a community centre. She told them they wouldn’t get it by standing there and organised a petition for them.

“People remember the petition being put together but then it goes foggy. No-one seems to know what happened to it.

“Obviously the centre was built but there’s an unknown situation between the petition and the building work.

“We’ve not managed to get in touch with Susan Pimblett’s family, we haven’t found anybody. I’m sure everyone would have known about her if she hadn’t died between 1970 and 1974 and so never saw it come to fruition.”

Mr Bradbury says he believes the petition must have gone to Atherton District Council and volunteers from the Hag Fold centre are slowly searching the records of its meetings.

The researchers have also discovered construction work was halted for around 12 months due to issues with the building’s foundations, and would like to find out more about what happened.

The 40th anniversary celebration event is scheduled for September 10, when around 100 guests will enjoy a period afternoon tea and entertainment.

Mr Bradbury says the committee is also looking to organise a separate event dedicated to Susan Pimblett and unveil a plaque in recognition of her efforts getting the centre built.

Anyone with information about the building’s history should ring 01942 884184 or email dorsetroadcc@yahoo.co.uk.