Rain or Shine in the Park

“In the 1970s and 1980s my son Paul had excessive energy. Rain or shine I used to take him to the Park every evening before he went to bed. I would count him round 7 times, to run round the Park. Then I would bring him home to sleep all night! The Park Keeper was permanent then.”

Mrs Wendy Hobbs, May 2009


Photograph donated by Mrs Irene (Rene) Johnson

Mrs Johnson is pictured with her grandmother and her siblings after they won a prize for their miniature car in the Shirley Carnival, c.1930.

Dangerous Park Railings!

You may have noticed that the railings around the Park have had their spear-like ends sawn off. We have a photo from the 1930s (kindly donated by Mrs I Johnson) that shows very pointed railings. A lady once told us that a boy had been killed whilst climbing the railings at the Winchester Road end of the Park, and this was why they were sawn off.

However, at FoSJP’s Tee in the Park! event in July 2008, we were told that the boy didn’t die, but survived – apparently he was a boy from Bellemoor School at the time of the accident. People were guessing that this happened around about 1986, but if you know any better, or if you happen to know the boy in question, we’d love to hear about it!

Shirley resident Grace Wathen tells us:

“My family and myself moved here from South Wales in February 1980 and for approximately the first three years that we lived here I played in a brass band – I think it was Solent Brass but I am not sure. One Saturday I was given a lift home from an event where the Band had been playing by a gentleman who took me home (I live in Stratton Road in one of the old houses). As we drove along Wordsworth Road there was a boy sat on the pavement by the park crying. At the next band practice evening the same gentleman picked me up on Winchester Road and he told me the lad had still been in the same place when he went back along Wordsworth Road and he either took him home, to the hospital or called an ambulance. It is so long ago that I cannot remember exactly what he said. I do not think it was as late as 1986 since by then I had had to stop playing in the band for medical and family reasons as having two young sons who played football I had busy weekends and evenings.”

Grace Wathen, June 2009


Plane tree down in Wordsworth Road, October 1987
(Ray Hancock)

The Great Storm of 1987

The Great Storm of 1987, during the night of 15th and 16th October, was the worst storm to hit England since the Great Storm of 1703. Ray Hancock tells us:

“At your presentation last Sunday [7th March 2010], there was a reference to the severe storm that occurred in the early hours of Friday 16th October 1987. I had previously booked that Friday off, and I remember phoning work to ask if they needed me to go in but they said what had happened had happened and that nothing could be done immediately. Anyhow, on the Sunday when it was a bit quieter, I cycled around town taking photos of the damage. My itinerary took me past Shirley Rec, up Bellemoor Road , through the Common to Cemetery Road, then to Hill Lane, down to Town Quay, up through the Central Parks, the Avenue, by which time I had run out of film. Rather stupidly, I had not taken any money with me, and therefore had to call it a day. By the following weekend, much of the damaged had been partially cleared up.”

“I have enclosed a copy of the first photo I took which was of a fallen plane tree at the Church Street end of Wordsworth Road. You can still see a slight depression in the top of the bank and just to the right (east) of this is a younger replacement tree.”

Ray Hancock, March 2010