One Million Half-Crowns

An appeal to Methodist Youth in 1955

One Million Half Crowns
Chris Hancock

I have in my collection the red and blue badges above and decided to find out more about them…..

Bryan Reed was one of the pioneers in the changes to the way Youth Work was organised and perceived both in the Methodist Church and through the Church’s influence much wider in society. He was the general secretary of the Methodist Youth Department and involved with the development of the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs.

As part of his work in the MYD he organised the collection of one million half crowns for a project on the North Bank estate in Muswell Hill.

The project combined the building of a Youth Hostel and the provision of new Methodist Youth Division offices. In 1955, a Joint Committee of the North Bank Estate and of the Youth Department was set up to examine the possibility and it was unanimously agreed that such a joint project was not only feasible, but also desirable. The site chosen for the building was a free gift from Guy Chester, who also donated the first £50,000 towards the total cost of £230,000. The Youth Department’s ‘Million Half-Crowns’ Scheme was an appeal to its own members to support this work.

The Stone-laying Ceremony was held on March 14 1959, attended by the President of the Methodist. Conference of that year. Chester House was officially opened on May 14 1960 by Philip Race and Mollie Bolton when again the President of the Conference at that time was present.

Chester House was the headquarters of the Division of Education and Youth until 1997 (or 2000 depending on the website you look on) when several divisions were merged and brought together in Methodist Church House.

During its time in Chester House the MYD division, had the oversight, on behalf of the Methodist Conference, of the Church’s ministries amongst children, young people and young adults.

To read more about Bryan Reed and his work please see the link below to The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education;

Doyle, M. E. and Smith, M. K. (2002) ‘Bryan H. Reed, informal religious education and youth work’

To read more about the North Bank Estate see

from where I gleaned a lot of the information above.

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