Robert Claude Ashby (1876-1962) came to live in Southampton in 1887. In the first half of the 20th century his tireless and pioneering youth work earned him many plaudits and awards. His youth work began in 1898 when he helped form the Shirley branch of the Church Lad’s Brigade. Initially, the brigade met at Shirley Parish Rooms, but in 1912 Ashby purchased new premises in Stratton Road. Later this building became known as Ashby Hall or Ashby Youth Club. In 1919 he became a member of the Southampton Juvenile Advisory Committee and was later active in the formation and running of the Juvenile Organisation Committee. Between 1939 and 1945 he was chairman of the Juvenile Court. He was awarded a CBE in 1937. He retired from the youth service in 1949 and was honoured by a farewell dinner in December of that year. He died in 1962 at the age of 86. He lived at different times in Winchester Road and Northlands Road before moving to Romsey where he spent the last years of his life.

Ashby Hall was situated at the rear of the houses on the west side of Stratton Road. It was accessed through an alleyway between numbers 32 and 34. The building was initially Lion’s Brewery and later became a Salvation Army Citadel, before being purchased by Ashby in 1912.

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