Phillipa Robinson

Memories of Highbury

These memories of Highbury were sent to us by former local resident Philippa Robinson who now lives in Minehead. 

As girls of 5,  8  & 12  respectively we needed no encouragement to visit Highbury Park on a daily basis. This, of course, was after all the chores had been done for Mother; making all the beds, dusting etc and no vacuum cleaners in those days just after the war; we did this happily.

We loved it when the hay was being cut just inside the park gates, prior to this we played hide and seek in it, always staying along the hedge-line of Shutlock Lane.

It was fascinating to watch the man driving the horse along which was pulling the large bladed machine, then when it was all over we would quietly walk back behind the horse and driver all the way to the stables. The stable block and rest space for the men were situated just past a toilet block surrounded by beautiful shrubs and flowers.  We, of course, had to stay out of the way of the horse and machine so we kept on the main drive, which was then a main thoroughfare for public use that led to the bottom of Kings Heath village.

Opposite the stables and to the right of the main drive was a walled garden which had beds of roses and large rhododendrons of all colours, beyond this was a beautiful white house known as the tea rooms situated in a bluebell wood, my eldest sister had her wedding reception there. A little further over was an oblong pond, very large indeed with lovely water lillies floating. Also adjacent to the tea rooms was a sunken lawned area which we presumed used to be a tennis court? We would walk across this and onto the undulating grassy area towards Kings Heath village passing the huge obelisk which we were told had connections with a Mr G.F.Lyndon’s  horse winning the Grand National? Heard from my much older Brother that the large drive which ran from Dads Lane, Avenue Road, and Shutlock Lane junction was lined with lovely elm trees.
 
The other side of the park which was at the junction of Moor Green Lane and Shutlock Lane was the entrance we used when we wanted to play “Lions Den”
ahead of the gateway was another Rose garden with large oblong beds surrounded by grass verges and benches, running parallel with Shutlock Lane was a path and a few yards along this path was the Lions Den, a series of large boulder type rocks measuring several feet in height and width were placed together with Ferns growing out of the crevises, there was a narrow path going down into a cave like area, we would then scare each other by saying “quick the Lions coming” I suppose Health and Safety put paid to the structure, we never hurt ourselves, and we would never do any damage to the park, we loved it too much.
 
Following this path  we strolled to the right and into the Italian garden, it had lovely Roses over a pergola with stone columns and beyond this along beautiful patterned tiled paths to a structure that we thought  was a wishing well, and out into the area where the large pond was with Waterlilies, at this we veered right with the Lodge house behind us we entered the open parkland again and to the area where the annual Fete was held.
 
Almost every week we were able to watch the mounted Police exercising their horses, presumably warming them up before going on patrol, happy times.
 
Also remember a very nice Tennis Court with a white painted pavillion and seating area, this was opposite the toilet block near to the stables and walled garden.
and finally, I finish on a sad note.
 
Behind the stable block and covering a large area was an allotment, working this allotment were the badly injured soldiers from WW2 some had missing limbs others had their heads bandaged, we were instructed not to stare and if any of them shouted “hello” or waved to us we were to do the same, this area affected us greatly, we were used to seeing injured Soldiers in the village selling matches, whilst they balanced on crutches, my Mother always bought from them.
 
THE END