ALLOTMENTS AND RECREATION GROUND
The Allotments This land – about 10 acres altogether – stretched from the Recreation Ground to the far end of the field, and included the land where Rainsford Close is now. This was farmed by the Manor farm staff and the whole land was full of soft fruits, raspberries, strawberries, black-currants, red-currants, loganberries, gooseberries etc., very tempting for young children to help themselves when leaving the village school.
When Close Cottage (now called Owlet End) was bought and made into one house, the surrounding land had been used as allotments and tenanted out. But when that land was built on, a portion of the land comprising the original Manor Allotments was allotted for those tenants – as it is laid out now.
According to the Minutes of the PCC in 1958 and 1959, there was a lot of discussion about the state of the Recreation in general and quick decisions had to be made. The wall and the surrounding hedges had to be improved and repaired where necessary. Also the soil beneath the swings was now a very large puddle on wet days, the puddle large enough to stay there for several days until the sun had dried it. Mr. Reece was instructed to lay a new hedge
There had been much correspondence between Warwick Education Authority and the Gloucester Diocesan authorities concerning the possibility of purchasing this piece of ground as an ideal site for a new school. The ground had been measured and £900 had been quoted as its value. But the PCC felt very strongly against this proposal and wished to retain this ground for use by the children. So this was proposed by Major Taylor and seconded by Mr,. A Green, and was a unanimous decision.
The Rector, Rev Cecil Lake had hoped a smaller Rectory could be built on this field, as the present one was too expensive for him to keep!.
By 3rd June 1959 Miss Hodgson petitioned the PCC to attend to the ground beneath the swings which was now in a deplorable state during the winter. It was felt that this was not something for the Church alone to attend to. The Rector Rev Cecil Lake then suggested that he write to offer the swings to the Warwickshire Education Authority.
And this started the old saga.
The village was now in the county of Warwick, but the Church and the Church School insisted on staying in Gloucester Diocese. So therefore the Warwickshire Education Committee stated that they were not going to accept responsibility. It was up to Gloucester Diocese to do that!.
So – the answer was – concrete – done by the Church, with Mr. Steele proposing and Tony Green seconding that Mr. Ralph Dodd would deal with the laying of the cement
In 1960, the Parochial Church Council was spurred on by a generous gift from the Horticultural Society of £84 and this was to be spent on the erection of a climbing frame. The concrete base had been done, but Mr. Dodd saw another problem. The wooden swing seats needed replacing, and the chain links needed to be shortened.
By 13th September 1961 Major Taylor was complaining that, owing to bad conditions of the hedges, children were causing damage to the allotments. Boundaries were discussed and, in March 1965 it was decided to hold a village meeting to discuss a form of raising money to erect a fence alongside No. 42 The cost of chain link with 9 concrete posts was £150 – Wire netting £121. The Rector Canon Patterson proposed that a sub-committee should act on behalf of the Church Council.
In 3rd May 1967 Eric Greenway was asked to repair the brick wall to the Rec using bricks from the Churchyard.
From then on, it seems the village suffered many strong winds causing havoc to the tall and mature elms planted many years ago alongside this brick wall, and by 29th September 1972 they were so damaged and diseased that four of them had to be felled,and any others left, had to be lopped at the top. Arden Forestry were asked to take down the elms and three poplars for £82
Suggestions for new trees to replace them were green and scarlet oaks, lime, tulip tree and plane trees
See video under “Events – Forlorn Recreation Ground”
Due to gales, one poplar had been uprooted just missing No. 20, and the other two did not look safe. The poplar stretched across the village street stopping the flow of traffic. Work was quickly done the next day on sawing, with many wheelbarrows appearing along the village street, where the wood was offered free to the o.a.p. as firewood.. The brick wall which was demolished by the uprooted tree was not covered by insurance. Nigel Radbourne and Ernie Pardo who spent the whole of the day sawing off the branches and trunk, were going to be paid for their work.
In 1976 the Parish Council were approached to get quotations for the cutting of the Rec as well as the village green, and the Jackson Education Charity Trustees came to the rescue agreeing to pay the whole of the bill for the repair of the Recreation Wall.
But at the next meeting Maisie Wilks reported on a quote from the Contractor who would require £15 a month to cut the Rec and the grass verge, and it was thought that the Playing Fields Maintenance would still undertake this cutting, as it was, until recently, used by the school children for their school playing field. However, in November of that year (1976) the School Authorities stated they were no longer responsible for this contract, but would - possibly - fit it in at a price!
It came - £60 per annum, and the Church decided to accept their quote! But the following year, the Rector had to chase the Council's Playing Field man, as the quote for mowing covered the clipping of the outer edge as before - AND THIS WAS NOT DONE! However, all was restored when the Warwickshire County Council gave the village a gift of some trees for the Parish, and stated they would replace the dead tree on the Recreation Field – plus a beech hedge.
Then, in November 1976, the School authorities dropped a bomb. They were no longer responsible for the contract to attend to the cutting of the Rec and to the village green – once again saying they - might - fit it in, at a price!
Then in 1985, attention was drawn to the swings and the crossbar – which was almost rusted through. Also the see-saw needed to be made up to conform to British Standards. Thankfully this work was delayed, so the children were able to enjoy the massive and enjoyable see-saw a little longer, but the crossbar on the swing was removed and replaced with a new one, this being paid for by the Charity Trustees, the work being done by Brookes of Goldicote at a cost of £50. But there was an extra cost of £43 for the use of lorry and crane.
Photo:Clifford Chambers in the 1980's: Charles and Di Celebrations