Butterworth, James ('Jimmy')
1897-1977; e.m. 1922

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WM minister, was born near Oswaldtwistle, Lancs on 17 March 1897. As the oldest of five and with a widowed mother, he began work at 12 in a bleach works to augment the family income. His World War I experience with the Lancashire Fusiliers fired him with a passion for providing a better world for the next generation. While at Didsbury College he started a youth club in Manchester which shaped the pattern of his whole ministry. In 1922 he was sent to Walworth, South London, and remained there for 54 years. He organized the replacement of the old Walworth chapel by the first Clubland, opened in 1929 by the Lord Mayor of London as a lively centre for youth activities in an area of great deprivation. He had a great gift for enlisting the support of celebrities such as Bob Hope, Dame Sybil Thorndyke and members of the royal family. Though 20 years' work was destroyed by bombing in 1941, he arranged the building of even better premises after the war. In addition to an account of Clubland, he wrote two books on youth work: Byways in Boyland (1925) and Adventures in Boyland (1926). He died on 5 April 1977.

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  • Times, 25 Sept. 1929
  • James Butterworth, Clubland, 1920-1970(1970)
  • Methodist Recorder, 14 and 21 April 1977
  • Brian Frost, with Stuart Jordan, Pioneers of Social Passion (2006), pp.60-67
  • John Butterworth and Jenny Waine, The Temple of Youth; Jimmy Butterworth and Clubland (2019)


Entry written by: JDB
Category: Person
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