The Oval Bebington, Cheshire

The Oval Bebington, Cheshire, (sometimes referred to as the Bebington Oval and Port Sunlight) is a municipal athletics stadium with a sports hall in Bebington, Merseyside. It opened in 1973 and its first centre manager was Denis Woodman, who became Director of the Countryside & Recreation Division, Cheshire CC, and Chairman of the Association of […]

An Assessor’s Personal Review form the 1970s & 1980s

My initial view as an assessor at the beginning of the award, was the difficulty of comparing the management of centres that were very different e.g. a large town centre facility with a small rural. Indeed, at one stage there was a discussion about the desirability of having different categories. The award then moved on […]

Some history and my memories of recreation management – by Geoff Bott

I started my first job as a sports director in 1964 when I was appointed by Leeds City Council as Principal of the Leeds Athletic Institute. The council embarked on an innovative scheme and set up an old Victorian “E shaped” school as a sports activity centre. It’s design provided three large halls and twelve […]

A low-cost sports hall at Tisbury in Salisbury District

The John Hirn Construction low cost sports centre model was selected by Salisbury District Council in 1992 to meet the needs of the Districts Western Parishes. The late Michael Norrish, Managing Director of John Hirn had been developing an all timber sports centre model very successfully in Southern England. Tisbury and District Sports Centre had […]

Deeside Leisure Centre

Recollections of the Early Years (March 12th, 1971 – April 2nd, 1978)   The Project The Gamechangers In 1960 Sir John Wolfenden drew national attention to “the serious shortage of facilities for indoor games and sports”. His report (Sport and the Community) persuaded many local authorities to plan for the “greatest challenge of the seventies”.   […]

ARM News Guide

ARM News played a key role in the formative years of recreation management from 1970 to 1982.  It is an amazing chronicle of – the practicalities of sports centre management in the first decade of centres, of the developing recreation management scene, and of the important character and role of the Association of Recreation Managers […]


Lilleshall was originally built in 1831 as the hunting lodge and family retreat of the Duke of Sutherland. It first became a National Sports Centre in 1951 and was opened by the then Princess Elizabeth II with the original plaque still in place in the entrance to the main hall. It was Lilleshall’s connection with […]

Sports Centre Management Recruitment and Professional Sports & Recreation Bodies: The Historical Background

1. Three Principal Sources for Centre Management Recruitment Initially centre managers came mainly from three principal sources (Physical Education, Baths Management and the Military Services). From the mid-1970s, as the number of sports centres rapidly grew, and demand and interest increased, the sources for managers broadened. 1A Physical Educationalists PE teaching was the largest source […]

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