Memories of the 1950s

“We remember during the 1950s the St.Faith’s Private School – where Wordsworth House is on Wordsworth Road. Also, just across from the Park was the Shirley Children’s Hospital – where the building just came down on Winchester Road.”

Editor’s Note – The site of the Children’s Hospital is now a housing development – June 2011.

Ron and Frances Heather, May 2009


“The Shirley Boys”

In March 2010, Lesley Stapley (née Shotter) sent us this photo of her father, Sidney Shotter (born 1928), and a group of his friends known as the “Shirley Boys”, sitting on the steps of the former Winchester Road entrance to the Park, between 1952 and 1958. Lesley’s father, believed to be the first on the left in the second row, has since passed away.

Lesley says:

“Dad used to play a lot of football in St.James’ Park (or the Rec as it would have been known), and I remember many times watching him from the steps in the picture. His family lived initially in Howard Grove and then in Lumsden Avenue until we moved to Bitterne when I was three years old. My youngest sister seems to think that my uncle Frank, Dad’s brother, is also in the picture on the right of the same row. He lived in Sir Georges Road, Shirley until his death. I wondered if anyone had any idea who the other chaps might be or any further history relating to this group?”

Lesley Stapley (née Shotter), March 2010

If you have any information for Lesley, please e-mail Michaela at history@fosjp.org.uk. Thank you!


Fond Memories of St.James’ Park

“I have many fond memories of the Park since a child in the 1950s. When I attended Shirley Junior School, during the summer term we were marched down to the Park to play rounders. Does anyone remember a Miss Bidwell who lived at the corner of Bellemoor Road? She used to invite the local Sunday School children around for a party in her gardens. The Summer fetes held at the vicarage in Church Street? The sweet shop on the corner where [Shirley] Parish Office is now? Playing tennis on one of the grass courts? I well remember the ‘Gents’ loo which was in a French style made of black wrought iron, at the corner of St.James’ Road and Winchester Road, and often used by the Sunday afternoon football players!”

Editor’s Note – The Gents toilets were just outside the Park railings.

“The children’s area of the Park declined in the late 1960s, but went through a revamp in the 1970s, and my children spent many happy hours there when visiting their grandparents.”

“I’m delighted that St.James’ Park is safe and is going to have a well-deserved facelift. It is such an asset for the people of Shirley.”

Jean Scott (née Brown), 31st March 2010

Editor’s Note – Jean now lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire; she caught up with St.James’ Park via our website.


Memories of the Children’s Hospital

“In 1954 I contracted tetanus (lockjaw) and was close to death in the Children’s Hospital, opposite the Park, for about a month. A Sister Boyce was in charge at that time, ably assisted by Nurses Middlewick and West. I had various operations: one such was a tracheotomy performed by Mr Rowntree; I still have a “Matchbox” toy he gave me for, in his words, allowing him to “cut my throat”. A Mr Shackleton was the anaesthetist who pioneered the deep sedation treatment which allowed the body to fight the infection to a greater degree.”

“It was in St.James’ Park that I learnt to walk again after the muscles in my legs had deteriorated due to the feet being flat whilst unconscious for so long. Bittersweet memories indeed. Every time I pass I think of those days and the wonderful people involved in my care. The beds in the hospital still bore the names of the sponsor in pre‑NHS days, one such being The Atherley Laundry.

Stephen Westwood, February 2014