Grove Park Youth Club was built as a community facility for the Chinbrook Estate, a product of the LCC Housing Division.
The Youth Club was built in the final phase of the estate; construction commenced in June 1965, with practical completion in July of the following year.
At this time the LCC architecture department was led by Sir Hubert Bennett, and the project architect was Leo Hallissey. It is therefore a small product of a historically important era of progressive civic buildings by the LCC that include the Hayward Gallery, Michael Faraday Memorial and Crystal Palace National Recreation Centre.
The building was commissioned as part of the LCC Education Department’s Capital Building Programme for 1964/5. The final tender price accepted by ILEA was £31,076. The brief was for premises to house a main hall, coffee bar, “girls room”, workshop, and manager’s office. The building is a composition of four linked brick pavilions with glazed panels between - the sloping site meant that access is at first floor level from Marvel’s Lane. Some variety is afforded at roof level by contrasting pitches.
Leo Hallisey recalls being influenced by the BauHaus in his approach to the building. Originally the circulation allowed for both members and non-members of the club to use the coffee bar, as a way of encouraging newcomers to experience the activities on offer. Its clean uncluttered spaces and double height main hall were designed to optimise operational flexibility.
Original features (some of which remain) recall great public buildings of the period including the Royal Festival Hall. The building was ready in time to host its first dance on 30th July 1966. It was formally opened by the Hon. Angus Ogilvy, Chairman of Council, National Association of Youth Clubs, on 20th December 1966. Nb Note drawn from ILEA file at LMA archive and correspondence with the architect (2016)