We have created a virtual tour of our park, including some of the fascinating memories, that older local residents have sent us.
There are 12 stops around the park:
We have created a virtual tour of our park, including some of the fascinating memories, that older local residents have sent us.
There are 12 stops around the park:
Here’s some pictures of the wild flowers on our park. Although it can look like a large expanse of boring grass, if you look closer (and around the edges), there’s lots more to see!
Field poppies, a dandelion clock, plantain flowers and cow parsley
We are very grateful to Raglan School Eco-council for funding and planting a new row of trees, along side the all-weather path, to form an avenue… christened Raglan Avenue!
About 20 parents and friends turned out to plant and stake the new trees, with lots of help from the children of Raglan school. The new trees look fantastic!
The kinds of trees that we planted were:
Here’s some of the best pics from this year’s Even Bigger Big Lunch!
We had a fantastic time, and the sun even shone for part of it.
Thanks so much to all the people who volunteered, sponsored, baked, and helped us! Including everybody who turned up 🙂
This weekend the swifts arrived back over Havelock Rec. These African birds journey all the way to the UK to take advantage of our longer daylight hours to raise their families, and only stay until their youngsters leave the nest, before heading straight back to warmer climes.
Our local RSPB group is looking for volunteers to help survey the local summer visitors, as their numbers have suffered a decline of over 50%: [see the RSPB page here].
The British Trust for ornithology has tracked their migrations [see the BTO page here] and it is an epic journey: over the notoriously stormy Bay of Biscay, across the Sahara, and all the way south of the equator:
Every day that a bird has a nest, and is going to-and-fro to it, increases the chances of becoming dinner for a predator, so the swifts decrease the amount of time their young are vunerable in the nest by coming north to the UK’s longer daylight hours. Swifts are very air dynamic but it means their legs are not very useful, so if you find one on the ground, they need to be thrown up in the air before they can fly away. Once they fledge, they spend about 2 years on the wing, even sleeping in the air. This means that they can’t help their young once they leave the nest, so they depart straight back to Africa.
These are extracts from the first draft (November 2018) of our management plan. It only contains the bits thought to be of more interest to park users, as they already know where the park is, how large it is, and can look at the Friends objectives elsewhere on the website.
The Table of Contents in the document, which can be downloaded as .pdf here: Havelock Rec Management Plan v1 Nov2018 lowres
HAVELOCK RECREATION GROUND 1
1. The Park. 1
2. About This Plan 2
3. Demographics 3
4. History and Heritage 4
5. Social Links 5
6. Summary of improvements since 2015 5
7. Policy and Strategic Context 6
8. Plans to improve the park: 6
9. Site Management 12
10. Sustainability 12
11. Document review and site / work review 12
Appendix A1: Analysis of Survey Results: 15
The full text answers to “What would you particularly not want to see in the park?” 17
Appendix A2: Friends of Havelock Rec Vision Statement: 18
Appendix A3: Biodiversity Report from 2015: 19
Appendix A4: Analysis of 2011 census data from Streetcheck: 21
Appendix A5: Example of a joint monitoring inspection sheet. 25
Appendix A6. iDverde’s management procedures & plan: 25
Appendix A7 – Policy and Strategic Context 27 Promote Healthy Communities 27
Appendix A8.1 – Map of Local Park and the local Green Space Deficiency 30
Appendix A8.2 – Entry for Havelock Rec in the Draft Local Plan: 31
Appendix A9 – London Borough of Bromley Biodiversity and Arboriculture: 32
Appendix A10 – iDverde statement on park users and staff: 34
Appendix A11 – Idverde’s Sustainability policy 37
Appendix A12- Idverde’s Foreword & Introduction 37
Men who died from the local roads in the 1st World War:
Friends of Havelock Rec are proud to say that our Ward Councillors, (Nicky Dykes, Will Harmer and Michael Rutherford from Bromley Town ward Conservatives) have handed in, to the council Environment portfolio holder, an application for the park to have a Deed of Dedication.
Though the park is already designated Metropolitan Open Land, the friends feel that in the current housing crisis, this is insufficient protection. For instance, the CPRE list 10 sites (link to pdf here) with the same designation that are threatened. It should also be noted that it is perfectly permissible to build schools or other public buildings on Metropolitan Open Land – which is why the site was identified for a school when the Friends ran their campaign to save it.
It is considered best practice to protect council owned green space with Deeds of Dedication, and Fields In Trust provided the Friends with help to fill in our application form – Fields in Trust work to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites (through Deeds of Dedication). Hammersmith & Fulham Council are protecting all the parks ‘for future generations’ in their borough with Deeds of Dedication (see announcement here).
Here is a photo of the proud moment:
Here’s some nice pics around of our park, and we were wondering if you had some too? We (or our parent friends groups/forums) would then be able to use them for future posts on social media, if that’s ok. We think our park is ace and want to show off how great it is!
In November 2016, alongside 20 parks in the Borough, we were designated the title of Local Green Space. A Local Green Space is a:
“green or open space which has been demonstrated to have special qualities and holds particular significance to the local community which it serves.
Development which causes harm to the ‘special qualities’ of a Local Green Space as defined within its Statement of Significance but is otherwise policy compliant will be considered inappropriate and will not be accepted except in very special circumstances.”
A lot of work and time went into the submission for this, so we are very proud to have achieved this status.
You can read the full documentation including the other parks that were granted this status, which is part of the Council’s Draft Local Plan, here.
Our events for 2017 will include our third Big Lunch in June, our third ‘Bug Day’ in July, a brand new summer picnic event in August and our second Havelock Hoedown. Now all we need is for the weather to be on our side in 2017 – we didn’t mind the rain really, but we have put in an early order for sunshine on these dates in 2017.
Our locals were not put off by the weather, we know how to have fun here, whether it rains or not!
There was a great turnout for our Bug Hunting and Birdbox Painting day on a very warm but windy Saturday 9th July.Even the sun turned up for a while.
Thanks to everyone who came and participated! We sold out of birdboxes in record time and we now have 30 Havelock Hunters in our midst. Lots of people took part in the Scavenger Hunt, and there were some excellent drawings and crafts. Thanks to Sandy and Judy who helped us to identify lots of minibeasts and to Friends of the Earth who had a stall.
We braved the rain and had a great time, so thank you to everyone who came along! The cake stall was as amazing as ever and the crowning glory made by Michelle was, quite literally, a crown! Happy 90th birthday Your Majesty! We hope the winners of the Guess the Weight of the cake competition enjoyed it as much as we all enjoyed the rest of the cakes.
Our volunteers set up the stalls (in pouring rain!) and a lovely marquee (thanks to the Scouts) complete with beautiful table decorations.
And of course, everyone got stuck in to the Tug of War. We’re not sure who won…. but it was about the taking part.
Not forgetting the amazing game of pin the tail on Puddle the corgi – painting by Sandy.
What a great day, fun had by all who came. Thank you for helping us raise some much needed funds. See you at the next event in July.
As we’ve just sent out lots of leaflets about our forthcoming events, we thought that some people may be new to the area or not be quite sure where we are. Just for you, here’s the map of the area showing Havelock Rec. For more detail on Google Maps, click here.
The two main entrances are on Homesdale Road and off Havelock Road (actually Marlborough Road). The Homesdale Road entrance is a pedestrian entrance opposite the Eivissa beauty salon.
If you’re arriving by car, parking is available on the street but is restricted to residents only between the hours of 12-2 on Monday – Saturday. There is pay and display parking available on nearby Chatterton Road.
If you’ve never visited us before, now’s your chance! We hope to see you on June 12th at noon for our Big Lunch, if not before.
It’s nearly a year since the fateful and desperate day when we formed our campaign to save our park, and this park friends group to run it. Thanks to all of you, we still have a park to use and for our children to play in. It also means that we are holding our AGM shortly: please join us for a drink and to talk about our park, at 8pm, at the Chatterton Arms on Wednesday 24th February!
In this newsletter:
10:30am Saturday 12th March – litter picking
12noon Sunday 12th June – OUR 2ND ANNUAL BIG LUNCH
12noon Saturday 10th September – Havelock Hoedown
But more will be arranged – keep an eye on your email or the notice board!
We are delighted to announce (for those of you who have not been on the brickfield recently) that we have finished planting both the Homesdale road entrance and the biodiversity hedge (along the chain link fence).
Thanks to everyone who made it happen! Personally speaking, when I first read that we should plant the hedge on Dr Judy’s biodiversity report, I never imagined that a year later we would have actually planted ourselves a hedge! I wasn’t sure we’d even have our recreation ground to put it on either!
Lots of thanks to Stephen Tickner at the landscape group, who enabled it to happen (and helped us muddle though learning how to be a friends group). The hedge planting was done by a volunteer group that Stephen organised, called Pulse. They are committed to helping long term unemployed back into work.
Above, the drawing of what the hedge might look like in a couple of years time, from our page for your input into our action plan, and our little mascot William, supervising the work on the entrance!
Unfortunately, as the brick pit was filled with crushed and compacted rubble (and other stuff, see our history page) it is hard work to dig the holes to plant, and it is great that people put in the effort for the community – thanks again!
It will be exciting to see our plans to add diversity to our park actually take shape, and for our collective effort to make a little change for generations to come.
Our packs include holly, hawthorn, dog rose and hazel from the Woodland Trust, and Wayfaring tree, guelder rose, and dogwood (among others) from OVO energy. For the entrance on Homesdale Road, we’ve also got some ornamental dogwood.
The hedge is following expert recommendation, this hedge will enhance the biodiversity value of our park, not just with the little trees themselves, but by providing food and (when bigger) homes for our bats, bumble bees and birdlife. They will also give shelter for other plants and flowers that insects, like butterflies and grasshoppers, will love.
This is one of our projects to help us, as a community keep our park, as it provides a visible sign how much it is valued and used by the community. If you have any ideas you have for our park, please feel free to fill in the survey (http://friendsofhavelockrec.org/our-action-plan/)or just email us:
This summer, Google updated their street view of Homesdale Road, and our notice board now appears!
What’s really good about this, is that it means, that any Whitehall official, Bromley planning officer or speculative developer can see that we care about our park and that it is loved. Also, the position of the parked car hides the broken railings, if not the somewhat drunken parking notice! Thanks also to people like Emma and Rebecca, (forgive me if I’ve missed anyone here) there are several notices on it, showing that we’ve been organising events and our park is not “under used” as was suggested when it was proposed as a site for building La Fontaine.
We are very proud to announce that Havelock Recreation ground has been added to the List of Assets of Community Value!
Only 15 places have been successfully registered in the London Borough of Bromley (see the photo of the other places) since the Localism Act came into effect in 2012.
The Localism Act required councils to keep a List of Assets of Community Value, and it also gave the Community Right to Bid; it means that when listed land is disposed of, the community has the right to a ‘moratorium period’ (seems to be six months) to decide if they want to bid for their asset. Importantly for us, it also demonstrates to government bodies and potential developers, the strength of local feeling about this park.
(a montage of photos from our recent Big Lunch event)
What the internet says about the Community Asset Register, the Community Right to Bid, under the Localism Act.:
A building or land is an asset of community value if its main use is to further the social wellbeing or interests of a local community for example a local village shop, community centre or playing fields.
The Community right to bid came into force in September 2012. The Community right-to-bid allows communities to nominate buildings and land that they consider to be of value to the community, to be included on a local authority maintained list. If any of the assets on the register are put up for sale, the community is given a window of opportunity to express an interest in purchasing the asset, and another window of opportunity to bid. from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5959/1896534.pdf
The Community Right to Bid allows communities and parish councils to nominate buildings or land for listing by the local authority as an asset of community value. An asset can be listed if its principal use furthers (or has recently furthered) their community’s social well-being or social interests (which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests) and is likely to do so in the future. When a listed asset comes to be sold, a moratorium on the sale (of up to six months) may be invoked, providing local community groups with a better chance to raise finance, develop a business and to make a bid to buy the asset on the open market. from: http://mycommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LOCALITY-BID_UNDERSTANDING.pdf
How the Community Right to Bid works is set out in the Localism Act and Regulations: With the Community Right to Bid, Local Authorities must keep a ‘List of Assets of Community Value’; the legislation sets out in detail the process they must enter into and what information they must include. The legislation also outlines the definition of an asset of community value, what groups can legitimately nominate, the appeals process for land owners, timescales for groups interested in buying land or property on the list, and compensation available to the owners of land or property on the list.
A building or other land is an asset of community value if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act states that “social interests” include cultural, recreational and sporting interests. The regulations list a number of situations where land or buildings are exempted from inclusion on the list or operation of the moratorium. These include homes, hotels, assets being transferred between kindred businesses, and Church of England land holdings.
A number of community organisations can nominate land and buildings for inclusion on the list: parish councils, neighbourhood forums (as defined in Neighbourhood Planning regulations), unconstituted community groups of at least 21 members, not-for-private-profit organisations (e.g. charities). Community organisations also have to have a local connection, which means their activities are wholly or partly concerned with the area, or with a neighbouring authority’s area.
The Community Right to Bid does not give the right of first refusal to community organisations to buy an asset that they successfully nominate for inclusion on the local authority’s list. What it does do is give time for them to put together the funding necessary to bid to buy the asset on the open market. If an owner wants to sell property/land that is on the list, they must tell the local authority. If the nominating body is keen to develop a bid, they can then call for the local authority to trigger a moratorium period, during which time the owner cannot proceed to sell the asset. There are two moratorium periods. Both start from the date the owner of the asset tells the local authority of their intention to sell. The first is the interim moratorium period, which is 6 weeks, during which time a community organisation can decide if they want to be considered as a potential bidder. The other is a full moratorium period, which is six months, during which a community organisation can develop a proposal and raise the money required to bid to buy the asset. The regulations list some situations where the Moratorium will not be applied, even when it is an Asset of Community Value on the list. These exceptions include the sale of assets from one partner or another (for example in a divorce).
In August 2012, the government announced grant funding which community organisations can apply for in order to make use of the Community Right to Bid or Community Asset Transfer. The Social Investment Business is managing the £16 million grants programme ‘Community Ownership and Management of Assets’ on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
We had such a fantastic event!
Thanks to the many of you who came along and made it a wonderful day! And to Rebecca for all that organising, to Stephen Tickner for helping us set it up and just being there, to Michelle for all those diet-busting delicious cakes (myself, I had too many of those), Cassie for the Tombola, Emma and the local businesses for the Tombola prizes, 3rd Bromley scouts for their tents, tug-of-war rope and expertise, and everyone else who helped out, who are too many to list!
Here’s the article that Hatty Collier wrote yesterday, about our park, in the News Shopper:
She said “Plans to build a primary school on a Bromley park have been shelved.
Residents, councillors and Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill have campaigned against the proposals.
One of our ward councillors, Nicky Dykes, has posted about saving our park on the local conservative’s site, she tells us:
We are delighted to announce that our councillors tell us that they will not allow the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to build on our park:
Nicola Dykes, one of our Ward Councillors, wrote “Due to considerable opposition from Bromley Town Councillors, local MP Bob Neill and the local community, the Council has informed the Education Funding Authority (EFA) that they will not lease them the land to build the school. Instead they are working with them to find an alternative site for the school which they are confident they will be able to do.
Thanks to all those hardy souls who turned up to help us pick the litter and plant the last of our bulbs!
Tea, coffee and cake were served too, and we all worked hard to improve our park:
Here’s a group photo of some of us at towards the end of the morning:
Litter picking at the Bourne End side,and bulb planting at the Havelock side:
Many of the Friends of Havelock Rec met up on Valentine’s Day 2015 to make a heart in the rec.
Our park is the heart of our community, so we laid out a symbolic heart in the brickfield. We demonstrated how much, and how many of us care about our park. Despite the chilly weather, lots of people turned up to support the campaign.
To Our Supporters,
We are very grateful for the local conservative party’s support, but they don’t actually make the decision. We want the option of building on Havelock Recreation ground to be dropped now, and not have to fight a planning application.
We are very grateful for the local conservative party’s support, but they don’t actually make the decision. We want the option of building on Havelock Recreation ground to be dropped now, and not have to fight a planning application.
Friends of Havelock Rec got some good news today. Here’s the post from http://www.bobneillmp.co.uk/
Monday, 16 February, 2015
Recent proposals to build a new bilingual primary school on a section of Havelock Recreation Ground, put forward by the Education Funding Agency (EFA), have, quite understandably, caused deep concern amongst residents in Holmesdale Road and the local area.
La Fontaine Academy, which opened last September under the Government’s Free School policy, is currently in temporary accommodation at the site of the former Princes Plain School. Although there is of course a need to find a permanent home for La Fontaine, I remain unconvinced that Havelock Rec offers a suitable alternative for anyone involved, including pupils, staff, or indeed local residents. At the end of the day, we have precious little green space in the Borough, and what we do have should, I believe, be protected wherever possible.
Our home page is deliberately not the front page of the site and first thing you see. We want visitors to quickly see any updates we post here. If you’ve not had a read of it yet please click Home in the navigation menu or this link.
We’re working on a mock-up that will show what this view will look like with the proposed La Fontaine school.
To see this as a 360 panorama visit this link. If you view it on a modern smartphone or tablet it will turn as you turn the device using the compass and accelerometer. Be virtually there!
In the shady corner of the Park
Narrator: Originally the park had a small pavilion, the site of which is under part of where the nursery is now. It was built for football players, and the park was used for training by Millwall FC.
Felix: “Bromley’s new oasis … what was an ugly brick works and later a tip for the local Gas Board, has now been converted by Bromley Council in to an attractive stretch of grassland which, during the long summer weeks of school holidays, should be a boon for mothers in the Bromley Common area” – the Bromley Times, on the 9th August 1953.
Fiona’s memory from 2015, read by Rebecca:
“I remember playing here as a child, just to run around or play ball games with friends/siblings. Once, I actually ran away from home and packed my tiny suitcase and went down and hid in the dip at the end. It only lasted for about half an hour, until I got cold and decided to go back home again. I moved back into the area in the mid-90s and both my children have enjoyed playing on the wide open field, building snowmen and sledging, and they both learned to ride their bikes and fly kites there.”
Narrator: To return to the start point at the Havelock Road entrance, continue along the front of the nursery past the two benches – then the entrance is on your left.
|We hope you have enjoyed our tour and walking around the park. Thank you for listening. There is more local history and information on our website, the Friends of Havelock Rec. We also thank all the local people who gave us their recollections of the park in yesteryear.|
|1857||1865 survey published 1871||1898
|Tinted maps from 1857, 1865, 1898, 1903 and 1933 of the Brick-pit and surrounding area, where Havelock Rec is now. Final image is a Google Satellite picture of 2020.|
Half way down the Bourne Road side of the park.
Narrator: This part of the field is behind Bourne Road, and the space in front of you is the best spot in Bromley to capture a good sunset on your camera!
Narrator: In the first decade or so after being grassed over, our park was used for football club training, by Millwall FC. This had to be abandoned, when a piece of glass worked it’s way up from the landfill, and injured a player. Until the last few years, Millwall FC would still hold an annual dinner at one of the restaurants on Homesdale road.
Read by Andrew: “Tony, my friend, a retired butcher was telling me that during WW2, they used the pits to dump the debris from bombed houses, things like bricks, wood, house fittings etc. After the war the area was grassed over and used as a football pitch. Problem was that even when things are buried, the lighter materials come to the surface, and this includes the broken glass from all the house windows, which resulted in some pretty horrific injuries. Imagine the consequences of a slide tackle over broken glass . . .” Daniel Bentley writing as Chatterton Road History Society, in 2017
Narrator: The local scout group, 3rd Bromley, regularly use the park for their activities, and have done so for a long time….
Lilian’s memory from 2015, read by Sandra: “The Queens Silver Jubilee celebration was A Big Do, and the community got together on the Brickfield. Like most of the marquees, the Scout’s pavilion did games for the kids. I believe there was also a Tea Tent, nowadays you’d probably call that a refreshment tent. Mostly everyone put on games and sporty things for the kids. At the time Jean New was the Akela, and she lived in Mornington avenue, at number 4 – opposite me at number 5a – which is how I got involved in the first place. She used to use the Brickfield for cubs. The Brickfield is the only open space that the scouts can do the parts of their organisation’s programme, including: ball games, compass work and teaching tent pitching.”
Narrator: Continue down the side of the park to the shady corner with the large trees, next to the Nursery.
At the Green lane entrance to the Park, by the Large Oak in the Neighbour’s garden.
Narrator: Look towards the opposite side of the park, where you can see the spire of St Luke’s church, Bromley Common – behind the trees in the corner. The park is in the parish of St Luke’s.
Narrator: On Homesdale Road, just past the Gas Works, is a brick industrial building. It is not a coincidence that this is over where the Blackbrook, or Ravensbourne West ‘river’ crosses Homesdale Road. It was built by Henry Podger, who was the son of a farmer, who, on hard times, was convicted of thieving from his employer in 1842. In Henry’s early years, he worked at Woolwich Arsenal, and then set up a laundry business here in 1864, using the stream’s water until mains water arrived.
Henry Podger is described as a real “Rags to Riches” story, and was so successful that he opened 3 shops in Bromley, and specialised in difficult items such as hat plumes and furniture, using machinery that he designed himself – including the first collar ironing machine, which was shown at the International Health Exhibition in 1884. The current building was rebuilt after a fire in 1886. The laundry employed many local people until the 1920s.
Until the 1980s, the field was used by the local School, Raglan Road Primary.
Marissa’s memory, narrated by Jo: “The brickfield was already a grassed playing field when I moved here in 1959, but the lady down the road, who had moved in 8 years earlier remembered it being grassed over. The work was done by the contractors, the Macintoshes. I was told that in the war there were two big guns (anti-aircraft) in there as it was a very big pit. And, there was half a house left (from the WW2 bombing) at number 43 (Havelock Road) with all the children playing in it. Every year at the end of the year, Raglan school would have a sports day on the brickfield, and my Maurizia was the champion running one year. At the weekend, the Raglan boys used to come and play football with the teacher. We used to go there in the evening as a family and play tennis and badminton. My Maurice would never allow us to picnic on the other side of the field, it had to be in our corner.
The Brickfield was left to the children of Raglan Road School, and the council was to look after it on their behalf.”
Narrator: In recent years – since about 2016 – the park has been used, as a roost for the Herring gulls and Black headed gulls, who forage at the waste transfer station at Waldo Road. Before the gulls arrived, there had been a large flock of hundreds of carrion crows, who had supplemented their rubbish diet with the local song birds. As the Herring gulls have moved the crows on, song birds have recovered in the park and local gardens.
Continue along the edge of the park, round the corner, and down the side.
This part of the park is over the deepest part of the pits; the map shows 3 tiers of slopes to the bottom of the pit. Though trees have trouble growing along this side, the wildflowers do well and at the right time of year you can have yellow drifts of birds-foot trefoil or pink drifts of field bindweed.
At the first small bench along the chain-link fence.
Narrator: The green lane behind the fence goes through to Waldo Road, and dates from when this was the brickworks.
Peter’s memory read by Tony: “In one place was a large mound where the lorries from the gasworks sometimes used to come and tip the clinker and by-products from the gas works. Often the local lads used to go and collect bits of coal and coke. It earned quite a few of us a fair bit of pocket money. And then they would tip a tanker of a creosote like product from the local gas works. It lay in the ground like tar. Many a kid had a good hiding after going home with it on your boots, since, after a couple of days the soles of your boots just fell off.”
Jo: The Gas Works were further up Homesdale road and produced Town Gas. This was quite a large site, part of which is now occupied by Tesco, though the site went all the way back to Liddon Road. Until 2018 it contained two huge gas monitors, and when the central European starlings migrate here in the winter to join the local starlings, the monitors provided a huge roost of them.
Peter’s memory read by Tony: “The coke from the gas works? It was regular pocket money for a lot of us. My dad made me a purpose-built barrow that took 28lbs of broken coke (that is what you had to ask for when queuing at the window in the gas works). From memory you could get: a small coke; or a broken coke which was larger lumps; and then boiler nuts (they were a form of compressed coal dust and something else) they were the most expensive and burned very hot.
The Gas Works was I believe run by a Mr Skudder who lived in a house just inside the Main Gate and the ticket windows were further along on the left. You bought your ticket and one of the prisoners of war would take you with your barrow under the hopper and dispensed your measured amount. They, the POWs, would be all over the place driving low trucks called Lister trucks.”
“Among the rubble there was a constant supply of asbestos sheets that when thrown on any of the numerous bonfires resulted in loud explosions. Be assured I am in no way fantasising or exaggerating.”
Anonymous ladies’ memory, ready by Sandra: We used to have a big bonfire and fireworks on the field for a number of years…
Peter’s memory read by Tony: “Every November the competition to build the largest bonfire caused many a fight as it was almost a nightly job to nick stuff from anywhere you could find. There was always a large one near the Walwyn road entrance.”
Narrator: Continue along the edge of the park to the next entrance to the Green Lane where our neighbours have a large oak tree.
At the Walwyn Road entrance to the Park.
Narrator: The slope at this end of the dip is the best sledging slope for a long way, and safe enough for small children to enjoy. On snow days, the park is busy, with long queues to take a turn on sledging down!
Narrator: Here are some more recollections about the rubbish being dumped in the pit here. Locals say it was 60 feet deep (that’s about twice the height of house) so it took a few years to fill up:
Peter’s memories: “There were large Horses and their tip Up two wheeled carts that used to tip in to the brickfield. They were stabled in Old Homesdale Road at Mackintosh’s Yard, where there was a Night Watchman during the war, he was Mr Jerry Hodder from Waldo Road. He would sometimes roast a potato for us in his fire.”
Narrated by Phil: At that time, most pupils attended Raglan Road until they were 14, and some of their lessons, were in one of the school extensions, down a track behind the Hayes Lane Baptist chapel (now a pupil referral centre). Children were not given much time to loiter before having to be back to the main buildings for their next lesson (or registration at 4pm), and one local resident, Reg, told us that if one of the horse-drawn rubbish carts was coming up the hill, he and his friend would run out – without the driver spotting them – and hang on the back of the cart. Reg continued:
Reg’s memory read by David: “Sometimes, when they got to the main road, a public-spirited soul would tell the driver that the poor horse had two hangers-on at the back and they would have to jump off. Other times they would get a lift all the way to the Havelock Road entrance to the dump and then they only had one road to walk back down.” Reg in 2018.
Narrator: Continue round the park perimeter, parallel along the line of the chain link fence to the green lane.
At the south end of the Dip.
Narrator: Our older residents remember that there was a model railway manufacturer on Homesdale Road:
Reg’s memory read by David: “I would look through the rubbish, with the other lads, that was discarded from the little model railway factory – it was where Excel house now stands by the railway, on the corner between Homesdale and Godwin Roads – in the hopes of adding to their own railway sets (or selling re-usable parts).”
Peter’s memory read by Tony: “The Model Railway Factory was located at the top of Homesdale but on the Main Road and was called Graham Farish. They are still in production and are at the top end both in quality and price. There is a stockist near me in East Grinstead called Martells.”
.Jane’s memory read by Jo: “My husband’s family sold the brickfield – we think late 1920s – have papers from buying not selling. Have some anecdotal stuff – not least mires with cart horses dead in them…” Jane in 2015.
Narrator: Continue along the edge of the vegetation and you will reach another entrance to the park at the end of a wire fence and green lane.
At the north end of the Dip.
Narrator: The lower ground to our north is what we call ‘The Dip’. This part of the park was, in the pre-1860s, a smaller brick pit. In those days, clay for brick making was dug from the nearest suitable field, dotting the landscape around here with little pits.
Jo: Although war time was a traumatic experience for the grown-ups, children have better memories of the playtime opportunities of a rubbish dump in the pre-health and safety era…
Boys playing on Havelock Rec in the evening light (2020-11-24)
Reg’s memory read by David: “When I was a boy, I used to cut across the brickfield and through all the piles of dumped rubbish, as my family lived in Cannon Road, and I attended Raglan Road school.”
Peter’s memory read by Tony: “To younger kids it was the most fantastic playground you could ever imagine, with new material being tipped there on a daily basis! Many of the kids camps were either in the huge patches of Burdock, that used to grow there, or the older ones made quite large more permanent structures out of the abundance of water tanks. And, “God Help You” if you ever went near or touched a camp belonging to another street.”
Phil narrates: The “Last Input” from the Gas Board was in 1950, and their licence was to use the Brick-pit as a landfill site for “Inert, Industrial and Household waste”.
Narrator: Now follow the edge of the vegetation, around the park to the next stop (about half way along).
At the large Sycamore Tree
Narrator: If you look to your left, between the houses, you can see the spire of St George’s church; the 1865 extravagant and classy centrepiece of the villa park, created in Bickley, by a George Wythes Esq. He was an eminent railway constructor who had made a fortune, in Essex and India, and then bought part of the manor of Bromley. He laid out an estate of high-quality suburban villas for the well-to-do city workers. Another mile beyond that is a pub called the Crooked Billet.
Narrator: The smaller of these two trees is an Aspen, often called quaking Aspen because their leaves tremble in the slightest breeze. This is because the stalks are long and flattened.
Rebecca: Bromley (and surrounding areas), were in the direct line to London for V1 and V2 rockets. The Crooked Billet was rebuilt on the site of one of the earliest V2 rocket explosions, on the 19th November, 1944. V2 rockets were launched into space and fell silently and vertically on their targets, so the pub and it’s customers – the pub was full at the time – had no warning. There was only wreckage left of the pub, and neighbouring houses were left gutted. 27 people were killed outright, and many others injured.
Jo, reading the memories of Mrs T Coombes, daughter of J. Pepper (Headmaster of Raglan Road Junior School 1941-59 and previously master in Senior Boys) in Raglan School’s Centenary 1889-1989. Something I shall always associate with wartime is seeding grass – it grew along every pavement and at the bottom of every fence This contributed to the general air of shabbiness in the streets. The houses mostly had peeling paint, gates leaned on their hinges or were propped open, and windows were obscured by sticky netting or replacement parchment, or were blacked out with old lino or impenetrable dark air raid curtains.
Jo, continuing: . The disused brickfield behind Havelock Road, which was used as a tip for industrial and household rubbish, was an irresistible adventure playground. We called it the Brickie and would sometimes wander there at lunch break and scramble about through the rubbish via little pathways, having to take care to avoid the more unpleasant patches.
Andrew, reading a memory from an Anonymous gentleman: Beneath the park is rubbish from derelict bomb sites during the war. It was always steaming hot. Some parts of the Rec sink (because of this) so it was deemed unfit to build on – I don’t know if the powers that be still know about this – heaven help us if they built on this ground and it started to sink! I thought I should tell you the history of this land as there are not many of us left in the road to tell this story
Narrator: Continue clock-wise along the perimeter of the park, but stay on the level without going down the slope.
At the Homesdale Road entrance to the park.
Narrator: If you turn and look back at the rear of the houses along Havelock road, you can see the terrace is interrupted by a block of flats.
Rebecca: In WW2 this area suffered badly from the bombing. Each of the two blocks of flats in Havelock Road mark the sites of houses destroyed by German bombs. The houses from 25 to 41 Havelock Road was demolished by an Aerial Mine, which was more destructive as it detonated above the ground.
Jo: In Jubilee Country Park, you can see the concrete circles marking the site of the Thornet Wood Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery. It was one of a defensive ring of gun sites encircling London during the War. There were 8 big guns and rows of huts for the reserve unit 71st London Regiment that manned the battery.
Narrator: ‘One day, when we were playing in the Brickie, one of the ARP wardens approached us boys. He told us “For God’s sake don’t do what I’m going to do” and he took an incendiary bomb he was carrying and lobbed it into the pit. It exploded with a blinding flash of white light, and the warden told us “that could have been you”. I can tell you, it fair put the wind up us…!’ Arthur Sheppeck in 2015.
Narrator: Bromley is not far, as the crow flies, from the ww2 fighter station of RAF Biggin Hill, and with the anti-aircraft stationed locally as well, so it didn’t just suffer from not the bombs…
Sandra: On November 9th, 1940, a German Heinkel bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and it crashed on Johnson Road (half a mile to the south of here), demolishing 2 houses and killing one of the residents.
The bomber still had 30 live bombs on board, which had to be removed carefully by hand to the open space of Bromley Common and defused, by three service men who were awarded George Medals for their bravery.
Jo: From the bombers crew, only the navigator survived; he was arrested when his parachuted into a field near Sundridge Park. If you’re interested, there’s lots more detail on the Chatterton History Society website.
Tony reads Peter’s memory: “One particular occasion was when a large general store in the market square was bombed, much of the rubble was also tipped over there (the brick pit). Some of the local Mums soon spent some time over there recovering molten bars of soap and other items.”
Narrator: Continue clockwise around the edge of the park until you reach a large Sycamore tree on your left.