We’m gooin’ up the park

I wondered if Pamela Whittaker’s picture of the big old slide in Holland Park would spark up memories, and indeed it did. Today I received this wonderful pair of photos taken there, sent by reader David Cresswell. I love the period feel to them – the pram, the clothing, the fact that the trees in the park hadn’t yet grown  very large.

I tried to remember the equipment I played on there; witches hat (replaced by a climbing frame shaped like a boat with a small slide), wooden and metal roundabout, swings, the iron horse and a climbing frame that seemed to be on very tall legs, shaped like a space rocket. I remember playing in that sandpit on a sunny afternoon while my mum sat chatting to other mums on the bench nearby. I can remember sheltering from a sudden summer storm with other kids in the bandstand that used to face the annexe.

I thank David for his wonderful contribution to our collective historical record, and if you have any pictures of Brownhills or Walsall Wood that you’d like to share with other readers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. That’d be brownhillsbob at googlemail.com – thanks.

That pram is a piece of work. I think that horse was the first of a couple of versions of it - I'm sure I remember a metal one.

I'm sure I remember playing in this sandpit. Anyone remember the bandstand?

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9 Responses to We’m gooin’ up the park

  1. Dave Cresswell says:

    Glad to be of service. You were right about the rocket bob as well.

    The pram which I think was a Silver Cross when it had finished the service of all the family, Caroline, Christopher, Michael, linda was not at its best was used to carry a hundred weight of coal from Tuckley’s coal merchants on the high street. I know I pushed the thing along the road to Catshill Road. That was before the days of the coal in those plastic bags called Trend.

  2. Schwannschwein says:

    At one point in time, there were actully 2 slides – the one in the photo and a second one of a similar height in the main playground area with all the other stuff. It was light blue and red, I seem to remember with silver coloured metal. Somehow it was never quite as good as the one in the photo which was shinier and faster.
    There was also a climbing frame shaped like a half moon

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  4. Chris Holbrook says:

    I remeber the sand pit at holland park,there was also a bit of a paddling pool adjacent to the shelter pictured, which had wooden seating for changing wet clothes i think. The bandstand was great and there were bands on regulaly. especially bank holidays, the salvation army band would play there and then go around the Hussey estate on Sunday morns.The back room of the bandstand was used for st. Johns first aid classes for a while. Also on the park was a “GIANT STRIDE” and “THE BOAT”.There was originally 2 slides, one smaller than in pic, which I would go down with a greaseproof breadwrapper under my bum for extra speed. When the teenage lads got on the Giant stride or Boat they would go so high untill it went in a full rotation.Ahh memories….

  5. Peterr de Snoo says:

    Could anyone tell me who was the Holland Park named after ?

    • It’s named after Hyla John Holland, a civic luminary of the time. It’s mentioned here:

      http://brownhillsbob.com/2009/07/11/local-history-this-is-my-truth-tell-me-yours/

      He was head of Ogley Hay school in the early part of the last century, a JP, councillor and also choirmaster. He campaigned for the establishment of the park in the 1920’s.

      The local Freemasons group has this to say on hit’s history page:

      http://www.ogleyhaylodge.org.uk/index.php?p=1_5_History

      Ogley Hay School dates from around the year 1844, and the Parish Church of St. James was built in 1851. The incumbent of the Parish in 1910 was Reverend William E. Wibby, BD, (Surrogate to the Bishop of Lichfield). He was a very eminent Freemason, being initiated in the Dartmouth Lodge No. 662 in 1912, became Master of the Legge Lodge No. 2784 in 1918, and subsequently held Provincial Rank in the Craft. He was also very active in other degrees in the order (being Grand Chaplain and Provincial Grand Chaplain in the Mark Degree).

      During the early part of the century, the Headmaster of the school was Hyla John Holland. He was also the organist and Choirmaster at the Church, a Justice of the Peace, and an Elected Member of the Local Council. He was held in very high esteem amongst his Brethren and fellows as a man of integrity, and a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. A strict disciplinarian who instilled implicit obedience, and upheld all the moral and social virtues to his scholars and co-citizens. (One of his pet subjects was “Good Citizenship”).

      His principal virtue, however, in our eyes is that he was “An excellent Mason”. Initiated into the Hatherton Lodge No. 2474 in 1906, he became (as far as can be ascertained at this present time) the “first connection of Ogley Hay with Freemasonry”. He was Master of the Lodge in 1918, subsequently receiving Provincial Rank of Deacon.

      We have positive knowledge that during his sojourn as Headmaster of the school, no less than 10 Masters of the Craft Lodges, and numerous other brethren received a significant proportion of their education at his hands. It was largely due to the benign influence of “Hyla John”, as he was affectionately known, that the name of “Ogley Hay” was suggested and unanimously accepted by the Founders as the title of this new entity into Freemasonry. Several of the Founders were his pupils, and one of the Founders (W.Bro C.F. Horton) was the Headmaster of the school retiring in 1977.

      Hope this helps

      Bob

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