The following is from Jean. Thanks Jean!
Does anyone remember Bill, the full time Groundsman who looked after the football and cricket pitches as well as maintaining the woods? There was also an aviary next to the pavilion that was burnt down one night but fortunately the birds were rescued.
The tennis courts at that time could be hired by anyone who wanted to play on them but were poorly maintained so weren’t very popular. Someone came up with the idea of forming a tennis club and, despite some local opposition, the plans were passed for a building to be erected and shrubs planted on the outside to soften the effect.
The children’s playground consisted of a couple of swings and some monkey bars situated on the edge of the woods opposite the present playground. There was a wide ditch with water and a “Tarzan” rope – which was very popular near the present playground.
There was only a tarmac path then joining Empress Drive to Walden Road. The circular path was added later.
The Cow Path connecting the top field to Elmstead Lane had open meadows on either side and on the right hand side was a large rambling “tudor farm house” standing in paddocks with a gate and horses. Does anyone know more about this house and possibly have any pictures? The house was pulled down and the land developed and is now Broadheath Drive. The Art College was built on the other side.
Problems with groups of young people were such a problem at this time that the Council allowed residents to close the gates to the park and lock them. The downside to this was that someone had to get up early in order to open the gates to the general public.