Put these dates in your diaries!
14th April, 2-4pm – Easter Mini Olympics
9th June, 12-4pm – The *Big* Big Lunch!
14th July, 2-4pm – Bats, Birds, Butterflies and Beyond
5th August, 12-3pm – Summer Family Picnic
Just a brief note to wish all our supporters a great time this yuletide season, and that you might enjoy a good new year, and a thank you, everyone, for your unstinted support this year! Please keep an eye on the events page on the website so you don’t miss anything (though we will put posters on the noticeboards too)
I think we can say that the park has had a good year with all round improvements.
You might have noticed that, at the end of last year, we put up some rustic oak benches with the help of a volunteer group; Emma organised this – very well done – and Mark contributed the wood, so thanks to both of them!
In the spring, we had a record display of daffodils around the trees on the Havelock side of the park, thanks to the grass-cutting team who left them until the end of spring before mowing the area around the little trees.
Idverde, who are contracted to maintain the park, fulfilled the council’s obligation to replace some of our trees this summer, and put a ‘hippo’ bag for each new tree.
These dark green bags have a gap at the top (and a gap in the mesh protection too) that allow them to be watered – thanks to those people who watered the trees, that were within staggering distance of their houses! It was very beneficial to getting them through the dry spell in good nick. This year we have a new parks officer at idverde, Caroll Long, that you might meet in our park, she’s got lots of knowledge and enthusiasm, so it’s going to be great to work with her!
This year’s Big Lunch was very enjoyable, and lots of thanks go to Rebecca and Michelle for organising it – the cakes were as delicious as always! Unfortunately there was too much wind for the hot air balloon to take off, but I noticed that most of the men were standing around it chatting for ages, whilst being regaled by stories of ballooning derring-do!
In the school summer holidays we held our BirdBox and Bug hunting day, and a new family picnic days, both of which the weather behaved and we all had a good time.
|From the bug hunting: a wool carder bee, a gatekeeper butterfly, and some people on the bug hunt!|
We held another Hoedown in September, but on review, we are not sure that September is a good time to hold an event? Anyway, we will be re-thinking our events, and perhaps concentrating more on the Big Lunch and summer events, as this has not proved very practical for making the necessary arrangements during the summer. However, if you want to help and have your say on our decisions, all our committee meetings are open and we would be thrilled to see any of you!
Finally, just the other week, we have some more new trees – a little min-coppice of pine trees in the ESE corner near the green lane (to Waldo Road Waste Transfer station!). These will look really fabulous in coming years, and it’s great that they’ve been planted at such a good time of year, so they can put some roots down before the park dries out in the summer! Apparently these were planned in November 2016, so it’s great to see them!
Wishing you all the best in the new year,
Emma, Kerry, and your committee.
We had a fantastic afternoon, and even the sun came out to play!
Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a good day!
There’s a special mention for the Baker Girls who really contributed to the fun, and Mick whose calling meant that all the dances were do-able!
We painted little bird boxes to go home, and hunted all over the field to see what bugs we could find!
Thanks to Rebecca, Michelle, Emma and everyone for a really lovely event!
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.
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.
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.
Some recollections from Arthur Sheppeck, who played in the brickfield, mainly from 1941 to 1949. He remembers the Brick Pit being 60 feet deep.
He told me, in 2015:
‘One day, 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…!’
Daniel Bentley writing as Chatterton Road History Society, in 1917:
“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 . . .”
One long-time local, Reg, from Bourne Road told me in 2017, that when he was a boy he used to cut across the brickfield and through all the piles of dumped rubbish, as his family lived in Cannon Road, and he attend Raglan Road school.
He and the other lads would look through the rubbish discarded from the little model railway factory, (which 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).
One teacher he particularly remembers is a Mrs Evans, They called her “Creeping Jesus” because she would appear silently behind them, and when they were not attending to their school work, and hit them across their hands with a ruler.
He remembers a bakers on Havelock Road that they frequented.
Two families he remembers living in Havelock Road, and having loud remonstrations on Fridays nights, were the Crisps and Danhers.
At that time, most pupils attended Raglan Road until they were 14, and some of their lessons were in one of the school extensions, the one behind the Hayes Lane baptist chapel on Hayes Lane (I think it’s now a pupil referral centre). When they had to get back to the main buildings for the next lesson (or registration at 4pm), and 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.
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.