D.J. Evans Youth Club (aka Bowburn Youth Project)

Some dates in the history of the D.J. Evans Youth Club
(formerly Bowburn Boys’ Club, now aka Bowburn Youth Project)


1936: Jim Griffiths started as secretary/leader of Bowburn Boys’ Club. (He finished in 1967.)

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 10/3/67.


1937: Bowburn Boys’ Club (later the DJ Evans Youth Club) was founded by David John Evans, teacher (later headteacher) at Bowburn School. Early activities included boxing and 1st Aid. Football started just before World War II.During the War, the club became the 14th Cadet Bn., DLI.The club mainly used the Miners’ Institute/Welfare Hall. But it also used, at different times, Crowtrees WM Club, the room above Mrs. Storey’s shop in Durham Road West, and Bowburn School – until purpose built premises were opened in 1963.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 10/3/67; Mrs. Eleanour Pragnell (28/11/99); Dur. Co. Adv. 1/4/38 p.5.


29/3/1938: Bowburn Boys’ Club presented an evening of physical training, boxing and plays, in the Welfare Hall. The president was Mr. Strong, the colliery agent; Mr. Chapman (who was M.C. for the evening) was vice-president; Mr. Holmes (headmaster) was treassurer; Mr. Oxley was secretary, and Mr. Evans (teacher) was the leader.Also present were Mr. Reay, an instructor from the Community Service Council, and Mr. C. O’Brien Donaghey, organising secretary of the Durham County Association of Boys’ Clubs.The boxing judges were Mr. Waites of Crook and Mr. N. Oxley of Bowburn; referee was Northern Bantam Weight Boxer Bobby Bates [i.e. Bateson], of Coxhoe; timekeeper was Mr. W.N. Clowes.Members taking part included Ronald Smalley (accordian solo), essay competition winners W. Jones and H. Johnson, and boxers G. Travers (14), W. Patterson (14), H. Johnson (17), R. Etherington and W. Young (17). [Sgt. (Air Gunner) Willie Young was killed in action, aged 22, in 1943]

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 1/4/38 p.5 + photo on p.16.


June 1948: Bowburn school boys beat St. Leonard’s 3-0, in the final of the Durham League Shield at Sherburn. The scorers were Knox (2) and Thompson (1).

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 4/6/1948, p.6.


8/3/1952: According to the County Durham Advertiser at the time, Alan Veitch and Billy Edwards, from Bowburn Boys Club Juniors, had both recently signed amateur forms for Middlesborough F.C. and made their first appearances, for Middlesbrough Intermediates and Middlesbrough A, respectively. However Terry Mills has told Bowburn LHS that Veitch signed for Burnley, not ’Boro. Both played centre forward and both scored.

Bowburn Juniors did exceptionally well that year – even after the departure of Veitch and Edwards.

Other players included Langley, Murray, Griffiths, Reed, Bell, Elcoat, Ramshaw, Hutton, Baker, Hadwin, Coulson and Knox.

 – Sources: Durham County Advertiser 14/3/1952, p8.


31/3/1952: Miss Vera Twitty and fifty of her pupils gave a pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, in the Welfare Hall, in aid of Bowburn Boys’ Club football club.

Coun. J.J. Ramshaw presided and Mr. W. Harrison thanked the artistes. Sum of £10 10s was realised.

 – Sources: Durham County Advertiser 4/4/1952, p12.


1/3/1952: Bowburn Boys’ Club Juniors also did extraordinarily well in 1952. On 1st March 1952, for instance, they beat Sunniside Juniors 8-0. The Durham County Advertiser reported the match as follows.

“Bowburn Juniors’ double hat-trick” (Durham Co. Advertiser 7/3/52)“Hat-tricks by two forwards were a feature of Bowburn B.C. Juniors’ 8-0 away win over Sunniside Juniors on Saturday. Bowburn took a while to adapt themselves to the small ground and had to wait until midway through the first half before Hadwin opened their account. Ramshaw, who had a great game, added two more before the interval and the visitors were three up at half-time.“Centre forward Alan Veitch added a fourth shortly after the restart and went on to collect a hat-trick. Not to be outdone, Ramshaw scored direct from a corner to make his personal ‘bag’ three goals. ‘Flash’ Hutton, playing his first game for Bowburn, impressed and was unlucky not to get more than one goal – a full-blooded drive from 25 yards. In a top form defence, Elcoat was outstanding and right back Murray was often up with the forwards in an effort to add to the five goals he has scored this season.”

The following week, Bowburn B.C. Juniors entertained Alington House in a Durham Junior League fixture. The Advertiser reported the following week: “More goals for Durham B.C.“ (See 8/3/1952.)

 – Sources: Durham Co. Advertiser 7/3/52; Bowburn Interchange no. 19.


8/3/1952: The successful season of Bowburn B.C. Juniors continued, when they entertained Alington House in a Durham Junior League fixture. As an experiment, they fielded many of their ‘B’ team youngsters. So Griffiths, Baker and Reed only started as reserves and star forwards Veitch and Edwards did not even play. Indeed, nine of the players that played Sunniside were going to be eligible for the following season. But they still did very well on 8th March, as the Advertiser reported the following week.

“More goals for Durham B.C.”

“Bowburn Boys’ Club Juniors kept up their record of double-figure wins on Saturday when, in a very one-sided game, they defeated Alington House, Durham, 10-1. Of the players promoted from the ‘B’ team for the match, none did better than Clarke and Coulson. Scorers were Bell (3), Hutton (3), Thubron (2), Reed and Baker.“Tomorrow [Saturday 15th March], Bowburn visit South Moor in the third round of the Langley Park Aged Miners Cup and have selected: Langley; Murray, Griffiths; Reed, Bell, Elcoat; Ramshaw, Hutton, Veitch; Baker, Hadwin. Reserves: Coulson, Knox, Edwards.“Followers of this go-ahead combination will be pleased to learn that the two ‘star’ forwards, Alan Veitch and Bill Edwards, who both recently signed amateur forms for Middlesbrough, did well in the outings for their new sides on Saturday. Making his debut with the ’Boro’s intermediate team against Newcastle ‘N’s’, Veitch had an impressive game. He had a hand in the first goal and scored the third in the ’Boro’s 3-0 win. Playing for Middlesbrough ‘A’, Edwards also put on a keen display and collected the first goal. Both lads are occupying the centre-forward berth in their respective teams, although Edwards was the first-choice inside-right with Bowburn.”

 – Sources: Durham Co. Advertiser 14/3/52; Bowburn Interchange no. 19.


22/7/1961: The new Miners’ Welfare Hall (now = Bowburn Community Centre) was opened, replacing the wooden Welfare on the other side of Durham Road.It was opened on by W.L. Lowson, Colliery manager till he retired in January.

Other speakers were Dr. W. Reid (Chairman of the Durham Division of the NCB), Sam Watson (NUM) and G.H. Braithwaite (No. 4 Area Durham Manager).

Mr. Charlton (Bowburn colliery manager) chaired the meeting and Rev. J. C. Render, Methodist Minister, dedicated the building.

By a 99-year lease dated 24/4/1964 (but effective from 6/5/1960, i.e. before the centre was built), 1.25 acres containing the “social welfare centre were leased to four foundation trustees – two nominated by the NCB (Walter Harrison, keeker, of 12, Grange Park Crescent, and Stanley Charlton, Colliery manager, of Hoggersgate House) and two nominated by the NUM (Joseph Wright, shot-firer, of 64, Park Avenue, and Robert Arkwright, stoneman, of 5, Walker Street).The lease also established a new charity, Bowburn Colliery Social Welfare Centre, which was registered with the Charity Commission on 5/5/1965, reg. no. 520740.  (It was later dissolved, on 30/7/1992, as it had been superseded by the Bowburn Community Association, reg. no. 508090.)The general control of the “scheme” was vested in a Management Committee consisting of the foundation trustees plus nine members appointed by the NCB, nine by the NUM, two by the Durham Education Committee and two others (to represent those not engaged in mining) appointed by the rest of the Committee.The new Welfare Hall was built at a cost of £74,000, allocated by the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO), through its Durham Divisional Welfare Committee. (In July 1961, however, the Advertiser reported that it cost £48,000 to build, plus £6,000 for extra fittings.)The beams in the main hall are unusually made of Glulam, or laminated wood.The old Welfare Hall was not immediately demolished. (The annual meeting of the Bowburn & District Youth Centre was held there, for instance, on 19/2/1962.)

 – Sources: Plaque in foyer; lease dated 24/4/1964; Dur. Co. Adv. 20/5/1966 p.16 + 23/2/1962 p.12 + 21/7/1961 p.7.


24/7/1961: The newly formed joint Bowburn & District Youth Committee took possession of the old miners’ welfare, including fittings, furnishing and attachments, gifted to it by the Welfare Committee, who had now moved into the new centre over the road.The premises were to be used by each club – the Parish Church, the Methodist Church and the Boys’ Club. These would maintain their own identities but each would assist in the financial upkeep of the new centre, which was expected to cater for some 400 youths.A care-taker committee was chaired by Cllr. J.E. Wright, with Norman Strong (treasurer) and Ralph Jackson (secretary). The committee would consist of five representatives of each of the three organisations.It was planned to engage a part-time caretaker.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 28/7/1961 p.7.


July 1961: Walter Harrison presided over a meeting of the Bowburn Boys Club management committee, in the Welfare Hall.Mr. John reported from the Joint Youth Committee and it was agreed that he and Messrs. Mould & Knox should represent the committee at the next joint meeting.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 21/7/1961 p.12.


19/2/1962: Annual meeting of the Bowburn & District Youth CentreOfficers elected: presidentóMr. G. Scott; chairmanóCoun. JE Wright; vice-chairmanóMr. W. Harrison; secretaryóMr. T. Attley; treasureróMr. N. Strong; committeeóMrs. D. Wright, Mr. & Mrs. Coleman, Mis J. Marr, Miss M. Cook, Miss B. Hedley & Miss M. Bowes, Messrs Jackson, Bulman, Ruecroft, Clark & Wigham and representatives of local organisations.(Meanwhile, the management committee meeting of the Bowburn & District Youth Centre was held on the same evening – 19/2/1962 – q.v.)

 – Sources: Co. Durham Adv. 23/2/1962 p.12.


19/2/1962: Management committee meeting of the Bowburn & District Youth Centre in the old Welfare HallMr. W. Harrison presided, Mr. Evans gave financial report and the secretary, Mr. J. Griffiths, reported the formation of a badminton team.Arrangements were made for the forthcoming annual meeting, to be held on 18/3/1962.(Meanwhile, the annual meeting of the Bowburn & District Youth Centre was held on the same evening – 19/2/1962 – q.v.)

 – Sources: Co. Durham Adv. 23/2/1962 p.12.


19/2/1962: Walter Harrison presided over the management committee meeting of Bowburn Boys Club, in the Old Welfare Hall.Mr. Evans gave the financial report. Jimmy Griffiths reported that a badminton team had been formed to compete in the Boys Club League. Plans were made for the AGM, hopefully to be held on 16/3/1962.The same evening, the Bowburn District Youth Centre held its annual meeting.Officers elected were G. Scott (president), J.E. Wright (chairman), Walter Harrison (vice-chairman), Tommy Attley (secretary – who gave the secretary’s report) and Norman Strong (treasurer – who gave the treasurer’s report).The committee elected consisted of Mrs. D. Wright, Mr. & Mrs. Coleman, Miss J. Marr, Miss M. Cook, Mrs. B. Hendley, Miss M. Bowes, Messrs. Jackson, Bulman, Ruecroft, Clark and Wigham, and representatives of local organisations.The following week, the Advertiser reported a grant of £50 to the Youth Centre from Durham RDC.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 23/2/1962 p.12 + 2/3/1962 p.6.


4/3/1962?: Bowburn Boys Club football team lost 6-4 at Cornforth.The team included Morton, Cairns, Robert Dickerson and his brother, and Bainbridge

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 9/3/1962 p.10.


5/9/1962: Bowburn Boys Club football team won 4-2 at home against West Cornforth.Outstanding for Bowburn were Jopling, in goal, Robinson, in a strong half-back line, and match-winning right-winger Bainbridge.The following Saturday, however, they were beaten by Fishburn and, after Jopling (following his pleasing start on Wednesday), decided to try elsewhere and many of the other players “played as if they didn’t care”.The team for Evenwood on 15/9/62 was to be:B. Littler; N. Wharrier, D. Sudder; P. Robinson, R.B. Dickenson, S. Harper; F. Bainbridge, J. Whitfield, M. Morton, D. Dodds, J. Mulgrew.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 7/9/1962 p.11 + 14/9/1962 p.13.


25/10/1963: DJ Evans Youth Club (known as “the Boys’ Club” – though its charitable aims were to provide a service for both boys and girls – was opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, President of the National Association of Boys Clubs, and Mr. F.W. Fry, NCB Area General Manager of No. 4 Area and president of the Club.It replaced Bowburn Boys’ Club, which had been founded by DJ Evans in 1935, but did not have its own premises.The new premises cost £14,000. Half was paid by the Ministry of Education, a quarter by Durham County Education Authority, £2,000 by CISWO, £300 by the National Association of Boys Clubs and the rest by the club itself.The Club was named after headteacher of Bowburn Junior (& Infant?) School, David J. Evans. It retained the “Boysie” (Boys’ Club) nickname, despite equal emphasis on boys and girls in its foundation document.DJ Evans was the club’s treasurer. Its chairman was Cllr. J.J. Ramshaw, its vice-chairman Walter Harrison, secretary James Griffiths and club leader R. Knox. Other committee members were S. Charlton (collliery manager), G. Johns & R. Smith (under-managers), A. North, S. Mould, J. Wright, G. Knox and J. Griffiths, and Police Sgt. G. Hardman.The land was leased by the NCB to the National Association of Boys’ Clubs for £15 p.a. from 25/10/1963.Peter Robinson (19), international right-half and captain of the Durham County Boys Club football team that had won the national trophy at Crystal Palace in 1962, presented a chrome-plated miniature miner’s lamp to the Duke.  Robinson himself was presented with a gift from his fellow members. The Duke of Gloucester had visited the the youth club about nine years earlier, when they were in the old Institute premises.Another famous visitor in the 1960s was Frankie Vaughan, singer, who visited the Boys Club on behalf of the National Association of Boys Clubs. He also gave a concert in the Miners Welfare.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 25/10/1963 p.16 + 1/11/63 p.18.


9/11/1963: Durham County Association of Boys Clubs held their second trial to select their County football team, on the Bowburn Colliery Welfare ground.Durham won the national trophy in the previous year and hoped to retain it.The first trial had been held in Sunderland.Clubs taking part this time were expected to be Newton Aycliffe, Billington, West Hartlepool, Coundon, South Pelaw, Tudhoe and Bowburn.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 8/11/1963 p.13.


19/10/1964: Trust Deed/Lease signed for the DJ Evans Youth Club, by representatives of CISWO (who owned the land), the National Association of Boys Clubs (who “owned” the building) and the club committee.The building was already in use – see 25/10/1963.The four committee reps. (the trustees) were David John Evans (of Burnlea, 6, Wylam Terrace), chairman; John James Ramshaw (of 12, Oxford Tce), secretary; James Griffiths (23, Bede Tce), treasurer, and Walter Harrison (12, Grange Park Cres), a committee member.Witnesses were Stanley Norman Mould (labourer-road worker), 6, St. John’s Crescent; Walter J. Chitty (electrician), 1, Romaine Square; Vernon Campbell (schoolmaster), 26. Bede Terrace, and John Fawcett (clerk), 32, Durham Road.

 – Sources: Charity Commission website;Lease; M. Syer.


14/12/1964: DJ Evans Youth Club registered as a charity with the Charity CommissionReg. Charity no. = 520751Charity Commission website.


3/3/1967: DJ Evans Boys Club presentation supper, including retirement present of binoculars for Jim Griffiths, secretary/leader of Bowburn Boys’ Club since 1936Jim Griffiths resigned as he was leaving the district. He had been secretary of Durham Junior Football League etc.The presentation was by the Club’s president, Mr. F.W. Fry (No. 4 Area General Manager, NCB).County badges were presented to N. Blacklock, J. Wright, D. Archer, M. Prest, N. Porritt, B. Fleetham, J. Hesler and R. Pyle.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 10/3/67.


August 1967: DJ Evans Boys Club management committee met in the Board Room in Bowburn Welfare Community Centre.J. Johnson was secretary, DJ Evans the treasurer and M. Kenny the “boys’ leader”.Mr. Kenny reported that the football team had withdrawn from the Durham Junior League but hoped to play friendlies against affiliated clubs.

 – Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. (undated copy lent by Paul Dawe).


January 1971: Stanley N. Mould, former caretaker at Bowburn Welfare Centre, died, aged 61.SNM worked at Bowburn Colliery till 1965 and was a founding member of Bowburn Boys Club, on whose management committee he served for 35 years.

 – Sources: Joe Irwin scrapbook borrowed from Clive Lawson 4/10/2003.


March 1973: Presentation to Walter Harrison upon his marriage and forthcoming departure to live in BrightonÖÖat a joint meeting of Bowburn Welfare Community Centre and the DJ Evans Boys Club committees.WH had been secretary of the Welfare for 22 years and chairman of the DJ Evans Club.

 – Sources: Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) May 1973– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook [9/8/2003].


7/9/1982: “Pool Room” extension to DJ Evans Youth Club opened by Norman Strong.


1984: Simon Healey became the Youth Leader at the DJ Evans Youth Club.He took over from John Ward, who retired from part-time youth work.

 – Sources: Mike Syer / DJ Evans YC records.


21/4/1989: DJ Evans Youth Club visited by Duke of Gloucester, President of the National Association of Boys Clubs.He was greeted by Ronnie Mould, chairman, Simon Healey, youth leader, other members of the committee and members of the club.The Club had been opened by the Duke’s father, who had also been President of the NABC, in 1963.

 – Sources: Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?)  13/4/1989(?)– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook [9/8/2003].


March 1992: DJ Evans Youth Club closed, after a public meeting to find a new management committee was attended by 20 young people but only one adult.An appeal in the Durham Advertiser led to the formation of a new management committee three months later.It re-opened about three months later, with a new committee consisting of Peter Clarke (chair), Margaret Ball (secretary), Susan Heron (treasurer), Mary Bell, Jean Clark, Sue Smith and Mike Syer.

 – Sources: Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?)  –26/5/1992 Rita Irwin’s scrapbook [9/8/2003];Annual Report of Youth Club 1992/93..


April 1996: Youth Club at Christ the King Church closed, after 30 years.Youth workers Keith Armstrong and Harry Cairns later worked at the DJ Evans Youth Club but at first transferred to Ludworth.The youth worker at the DJE club was at that time Dominic Sharp.MS notes: phone conversation with Vince High (DCC) 13/3/96 & Fa. James Thompson 16/3/96 etc..


November 1996: Two public meetings were held at Bowburn Methodist Church, to consider three proposals: (1) that provision for children and young people be improved, including uniformed organisations (Rainbows, Cubs, Beavers etc.) as well as a youth club for younger children and sporting clubs; (2) that the needs of local teenagers be investigated, leading (in consultation with them) to the development of some suitable provision, such as a drop-in coffee stop, featuring soft drinks, chessboards and maybe video games, and (3) that the possibility be considered of setting up an informal drop-in job club, with training opportunities for people who are unemployed.The meetings followed a needs survey (the “Spectrum Project”) carried out by half a dozen members of the Methodist Church, with support from Christ the King Church and the local development officer from the Barnardos Spectrum organisation.The chapel’s Thursday Coffee Mornings for Mums & Kids had already started, in June, and the Kids Club started the following year. Both were a direct result of this initiative. Contacts for these were Liz Atkinson and Denise Horner.Bowburn Interchange no. 1.)


February 2006: The Bowburn Youth Project was awarded the healthy youth work standard by Durham County Council's Education in the Community department and Chester-le-Street Primary Care Trust. The project had drawn up a two-year action plan to show its members what they need to do, and it would start by focusing on healthy eating.To coincide with the action plan, the project has refurbished its kitchen at the D J Evans Youth Centre, and it was officially opened at an event yesterday attended by about 25.