Bowes Lyon: Then and Now

Tony Collman

Bowes-Lyon House, as it was known then (now Bowes Lyon Young People’s Centre), opened on St. George’s Way in 1964, to become Europe’s largest dedicated Youth Club. On two floors, it provided facilities for snooker, table-tennis,  music practice rooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium where some of the best-known groups of the time performed.

Do you remember going there?

This page was added on 27/03/2021.

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  • I remember going along to bowes regularly from 1980 till beginning of 86 on a Sunday to watch punk/indie bands . So many great nights had so many great bands and so cheap . A pint so cheap dancing or jumping about preparing and releasing pressures and tensions before school and work and tensions of the time

    By Andrew Martin (16/10/2023)
  • I remember in the 1960s, as a little girl, presenting a bouquet of flowers to Shirley Williams the politician. I don’t have the newspaper cutting anymore. Would be lovely if anyone had the picture. I was then known as Lesley Runnalls

    By Lesley Ryder (03/06/2023)
  • Bowes was a massive part of my families life as my aunt worked there for many many years Linda Logan

    Great place and so many good memories

    By Aaron Willis (21/01/2023)
  • Bowes Lyon House came up this New Years as Andy Fairweather Lowe performed at New Year celebrations. My school friend reminded me we saw him for the first time together at Bowes Lyon House, in the 60’s. We also used to go there on Friday nights for disco night. Many, many memories.

    Good to know its still there

    By Linda Aspland-Zumm (01/01/2023)
  • I was one of the two original Youth Workers for the first year or so. Marilou and I learned quickly and enjoyed the atmosphere and young crowds. As well as booking top groups, we also had discos and alternative weeks of Jazz & folk with top performers – we even had Paul Simon play unexpectedly. Football and indoor sports were also regular features Saturday mornings attracted hundreds of younger kids. A great time for us all when the Govt adequately funded the Youth Service.

    By Pat Erricker (17/11/2022)
  • I went to Bowes Lyon House in the 1960’s to see The Who (many times) along with Long John Baldry and the Steam Packet with Julie Driscoll and Rod Stewart (before he made it big), Geno Washington and many more like the Small Faces .. it was a great time back then for us kids .. great memories!!

    By Jacki Deamer (06/07/2022)
  • I was in bands in the late 90s and early 2000s and practised and played at Bowes several times, as well as taking part in Lyon Radio when it was on air in 2002. The staff there like Craig and Nuzz were always really cool and helped us out when we needed it.
    Seems like they stopped putting on gigs sometime in the 2000s, which is a shame as it was always an intimate little place, and Stevenage deserves to have a proper music venue.

    By Tim G (18/03/2022)
  • Bowes was great!
    First memories were of skating many, many times @ roller discos there on a Wednesday night? in the early 80’s.
    Used to hire the skates from a booth at the top of the stairs. During the summer holidays they’d have an inflatable in the gym hall upstairs (with spectator gallery) and skating ‘anti-clockwise’ in the main hall.
    Bar / cafe upstairs too.
    Outside, skates could be hired from a room at the back opposite the half-pipe when there was still a ‘Bowl’ to skate in.
    Friday discos were a must for lots of Stevenage teenagers to meet up in the mid to late 80’s.
    Bowes had 2 practice rooms that bands could rehearse in for peanuts.
    Once played @ Battle of the Bands upstairs in the main hall as a kid. It rocked!!

    Brummie who worked there in the 90’s called Kev, he was a good man.

    Bowes was great as a kid but from the 2000’s it turned into a ‘serious’ drop-in centre for troubled youths with little or no activities.

    Sometimes you’d just wish the adults would stop being clever and leave well alone…

    By Class of ‘87 Stevenage Boy. (05/12/2021)