We provide fun, challenge and adventure to over 1400 young people in North Lancashire – #SkillsForLife
We provide fun, challenge and adventure to over 1400 young people in North Lancashire – #SkillsForLife

SilverHelme Personalities

The opening of the Camp Chapel 1965

Photo below from the District’s archives, dated 1953/4, shows a group of Morecambe & Heysham Association Scouters.

Morecambe Scouters 1954

Back row, left to right, Frank Abley, Albert Mortimer (2nd Mcbe), Norman Perryman (6th Mcbe), Cliff Wilman (11th Mcbe) and Geoff Colwill (3rd Mcbe).
Front row, Jim Halden (Slyne) & Francis Middlebrook (13th Mcbe).

I think the photo will have been taken at the Overton campsite, behind the Globe Hotel. SD 433 578. A site that was at one time an ornamental garden attraction. You can see the layout on this map.

OS Map 1910. National Library of Scotland
Albert M copy
Albert Mortimer Scoutmaster 2nd Morecambe & Heysham (Salvation Army) Warden, SilverHelme Scout Camp

Albert Mortimer, after whom the Lodge is named, was born 17 February 1911 in Keighley, the son of George Mortimer a cupola tenter in an iron works making textile machinery, and Sarah née Driver. The family were then living at 21 Albany Street, Knowle Park in Keighley.

Moving to live in Lancaster, he was the Scoutmaster at the 2nd Morecambe & Heysham (Salvation Army) Scout Group (approved for registration by Morecambe L.A. at their meeting 8 March 1951), which met in the Salvation Army Citadel on the corner of Moss Lane and Cheapside – close to where the Morecambe Library now stands. His wife Mary (Molly) née Skinner was the Cubmaster, retiring in 1963 owing to ill health.

Salvation Army Citadel, Morecambe.
NLS OS Map 1939

In 1939 the family was living at 52 Lymm Avenue, Lancaster where Albert’s occupation is listed as Maintenance Fitter Engineering Lino & Oilcloth Manufacturer.

The 2nd was a very active and progressive Group and among numerous highlights were annual camps at Kibblestone in Staffordshire, Ommen in Holland and Stockholm in Sweden, in 1962 the gaining of seven Queen’s Scout badges (including, from memory, David Rush, Geoff Clayton & David Dawson) and being awarded the Scout Shield for the best all-round Salvation Army Scout Group in Britain.

Albert was a prominent member of the local Morecambe Scouting community; as well as leading the 2nd he was also at one time a member of the District Executive Committee, ADC Scouts, one of the first Voluntary Wardens at this campsite and Chairman of the Scouters’ Committee.

Albert died at the relatively young age of 57 on 10 June 1968. Morecambe’s then District Commissioner, the late Max Melling, reporting his untimely passing away in the Morecambe Association’s Official Handbook for the year commented that “Mr Mortimer’s enthusiasm, directness, leadership and friendship are sorely missed.”

Morecambe Visitor 19 June 1968

MORTIMER. — On June 10, 1968,
at his home, 32 Princess Avenue,
Lancaster, Albert, aged 57 Years,
the dearly loved husband of Mary
Mortimer and loving father of
Karen and Colin and dear grand-
father of Gwenda and Judith. Ser-
vice at the Salvation Army Hall,
Moss Lane, Morecambe, on Thurs-
day, June 13, at 2.30 p.m., prior to
cremation at Lancaster and More-
came Crematorium at 3.30 p.m.
Family flowers only, donations to
Mr. F. Middlebrook, 69 Owen Road.,
Lancaster, for Silverhelm Campsite
Chapel, Silverdale

Lancaster Guardian, 14 June, 1968

MORTIMER. — On June 10,
1968 at his home, 32 Princess
Avenue, Lancaster, Albert, aged
57 years, the dearly loved hus-
band of Mary (Molly) Mortimer
and loving father of Karen and
Colin and dear grandfather of
Gwenda and Judith. Was cre-
mated at Lancaster and More-
cambe Crematorium on Thurs-
day, June 13.




Francis Horatio Middlebrook was born on 23 April 1900 also in Keighley. He was the first child of Harry Middlebrook, obviously an admirer of the hero of Trafalgar, and Louisa Mitchell. In the 1911 census the family is living at 9 Balfour Street, Keighley. Harry’s occupation is a Tinsmith.

In 1939 Francis is living with his first wife Alice Presland at 4 Elam Wood Cottages, nr. Riddlesden, Keighley. Francis is listed as a Centre Lathe Turner and he is also an Air Raid Warden.

In the 1960 handbook for Morecambe & Heysham and District Boy Scouts Association Francis was the the Scoutmaster at the 13th Morecambe & Heysham (St. Mary’s) Group which met at St. Mary’s School in Morecambe. His second wife Elizabeth was the Cubmaster there and also at the 12th Morecambe which met at St. Patrick’s Hall at Heysham.

On November 11th, 1960, four Scouts from the 13th On November 11th, 1960, four Scouts from the 13th – Peter Guy, Peter Hodson, Gerard Escolme and Anthony Redmond received Queen’s Scout badges from the District Commissioner Max Melling.

In the 1970’s Francis was often to be seen at SilverHelme, shears in hand, clipping back the undergrowth along the pathways through the site – hence one of the paths through the site was named Francis Passage in his honour.

Harry Brooks
Harry Brooks

Harry Brooks was born 28 September 1920 in Rochdale. He was the only child of William Brooks and Olive Lambert. William & Olive were married in 1919 at St Alban’s Church, Rochdale. William was a Warehouseman living at 37 Macmillan Street, Rochdale.

In 1939 the family is living at 13 Whalley Road, Rochdale when William is a Hospital Stoker & Watchman. Harry served in the forces in the Second World War spending some time in Italy.

In 1947 Harry married Joyce Aspinall at St Luke’s Church, Heywood. After moving to Morecambe Harry and Joyce became involved with the 16th Morecambe Group; Joyce was the Cub Mistress and Harry joined soon after as an Assistant Scoutmaster. The Group moved from strength to strength and highlights included camps in Switzerland at the Kandersteg International Scout Centre, Gilwell and all around the local area. Foundations were laid for a strong and successful Group, which continues to today.

Later, Harry was the Warden at SilverHelme and developed a strong love for the site along with Joyce.


Plaque on altar fire base

Max Melling was born 30 Jan 1914 in Bolton. His father was John Melling and mother Jane Lilian Lord. They married at Claremont Baptist Chapel, St George’s Road, Bolton in 1909.

In the Census of 1911 the family is living at 89 Lower Knotts, Bradshaw, Bolton. Father John is a Bakery Engineer.

In 1939 Max was living at “Silverdale” Orient Drive (Woolton), Liverpool – there’s a coincidence! – with his mother and his brother John. His occupation is listed as Asst. Master Secondary School.

Max married Emily Craven in 1945 at the Friends’ Meeting House, Lancaster

He was a Senior Master at Morecambe Grammar School for many years.

District Commissioner for Morecambe & Heysham 1956-1971.

Awarded Silver Acorn 1971.

The large camping field at the southern end of the campsite is named ‘Melling Meadow’ in his honour.

The opening of the Camp Chapel at SilverHelme on 11 April 1965. Albert Mortimer (centre) is leading the prayers alongside the DC, Max Melling (right). Photo: Alan Hague
Opening of Mortimer Centre 1969


Reopening of Mortimer Centre 1985

Morecambe Visitor Tuesday July 30, 2013