The Lifeline for Mums

“I moved to Shirley Towers shortly before 1966. My family and I moved to Howard’s Grove until a couple of years ago (about 2005) when I moved to an elderly person’s flat in Lordshill. The Park hasn’t changed much. I used to take my two children there as youngsters. My daughter was born in 1966 and my son in 1972. They loved it. We’d have been lost without the Park – most mums take their children there after school for a run around, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Even my two grandsons enjoyed it when they were tiny. They still love it. My 13-year old grandson loves the football and the 7-year old the swings. It was a good idea to open a Kiosk. If they change the Park, they should think of the little toddlers, whose parents take them up there when the other kiddies are at school. Otherwise they’ve got nothing. What else have we got in Shirley as a lifeline for mums? They need the Park and they need the toilets.”

Valerie Minchington, June 2007

“I also remember watching them build Wordsworth Infant School from the house in Howard’s Grove.”

Valerie Minchington, September 2009


The Children’s Hospital, Shirley, in the 1960s & 1970s

“I remember the Children’s Hospital in Shirley which used to be opposite St.James’ Park on Winchester Road. My mother, who had eight children, worked there in the evenings. We used to get taken to the Children’s Hospital as children if we had an accident or emergency or were referred by our GP. As a child, my sister Teresa caught meningitis and was taken to the Children’s Hospital to be treated. I remember how upset we were and how worried and anxious we were for her safe return. We missed her very much. We weren’t allowed to go in and visit her and I remember standing at the bus stop opposite, waving to Teresa, who was waving from the Hospital window.”

Editor’s Note – Teresa was waving from the balcony of the Children’s ward – a photograph of this is held by SCC Museum Services.

“In those days children were not given antibiotics and medication intravenously and my sister had to have medication through regular injections. There was a wonderful nurse there called Rosie, who had emigrated from Trinidad. My sister wouldn’t let anyone else give her the injections. She was so dedicated to the care of the children that Rosie even came in on her days off to administer the medicine. Without a doubt, Rosie saved my sister’s life.”

“Rosie and the other staff of the Children’s Hospital, including my mother, were transferred to the East Wing of the new Southampton General Hospital, presumably in 1974. As an adult I became a paediatric nurse and when I worked at the Southampton General Hospital, I had the absolute honour of working with Rosie who as far as I am aware still works on G ward till this day.”

Editor’s Note – The Children’s Hospital was indeed transferred to Southampton General Hospital’s G Level East Wing in 1974. See here for more information on the history of the Children’s Hospital.

Cathy Barraclough (née O’Neill), June 2007


The Children’s Hospital, Shirley 1970s

“When I worked at Wordsworth First School in the early 1970s I used to take pupils who had suspected concussion, or various serious injuries, straight up to the Children’s Hospital where the staff would check and treat the children. Being a small hospital they did not find it as intimidating as when later the hospital closed and we then had to travel to Southampton General Hospital.”

Mrs Rita Judd, July 2007

“My sister Rosemary, now living in New Zealand, remembers well having her tonsils taken out at the Children’s Hospital and being looked after by the nurse from Trinidad who had very little patience with her! My son Andrew was the last child to be admitted to the hospital before it moved up to Level G at Southampton General Hospital.”

Penny Hall (née Beytagh), April 2012

St.George’s Day parade – Church Street, early 1970s

Brownies and Girl Guides in the 1970s

“Over the years I became a Brownie Guider and later a Guide Guider.”

“I enclose a photo taken by my late husband of a St.George’s Day Parade in Church Street in the early 1970s. The service had taken place in St.James’ Church and the parade had passed the Park and continued towards Shirley High Street.”

Mrs Rita Judd, 18th May 2007

One of our other contributors has spotted her father in Mrs Judd’s photo above!

“My late father is second from the left in this photo, standing looking on, with his beret on at an angle. He was a Venture Scout leader.”

Penny Hall, April 2012


Trees around the Park

The trees on Winchester Road used to be within the Park, but when the road was widened from a two-lane to a three-lane highway (some time in the 1970s we believe), the boundary of the Park had to be moved back. Thanks to a campaign by local residents, the trees were saved from destruction, although they’re now outside the Park itself. It seems that there have also been other such campaigns – for example, one to save an evergreen oak tree.

Mr and Mrs Hobbs, 5th July 2008


Peter Slack, Ivy Doreen Wren, Stephen Slack, Judy Wren – June 1970

An Afternoon’s Entertainment at the Park

This photo was taken at the same location as that of Judy’s uncle’s and father’s football team above, on Sunday 27th June 1970.

“It shows Peter Slack, Ivy Doreen Wren, Stephen Slack and Judy Wren, i.e. me!”

“I was thirteen at the time, and had been living in Shirley Towers for two years – Shirley Rec was very popular and we’d visited it many times from when I was small.”

“As a child there were certain things you had to do in the Park – enter the Park via the Church Street entrance, go down the slope, have a go on the swings, etc. Go past the now Café, which was then only toilets, with the Park Keeper’s office on the right‑hand side (to play tennis you had to go and book a time and court). Then climb halfway up the embankment where there was a little track and follow it all the way along to the far end, looking down at the tennis courts and empty half of the Park on the way round, all the way round back to the Church Street entrance and down into the most beautiful part of the Park – the area on the left hand side as you entered via Church Street where every year there was a small avenue of glorious cherry trees and I think roses in the beds. Another play on the swings, etc, and that was an afternoon well spent!”

Judy Humby (née Wren), September 2014