A 'rural' Park Road in 1969

Memories of Jane Cole of what Park Road was like in 1969

Peter Hill

Jane Cole - in 1975
Founding Chairman of FOSM - Jane Cole in 2004
Photo by Peter Hill
Park Road in 1906
Wivenhoe Memories Collection

When I moved into a bedsit at the bottom of Park Road in late 1969, Park Road was not made up. This was an element of its attraction. The surface was compacted, flat, slightly sandy, not stones and an uneven climb as with Anglesea Road. An illustration of the road could have come out of a nineteenth century book on English villages. It had a yellowish glow, especially when the sun shone on the sandy surface, a delight to walk on and to feel under your feet the earthy, compacted composition.

People would wander up to Belle Vue Road, taking the middle of the road, talking to the down-travellers about the weather, with the occasional input of innocent gossip. This was true village life; cars seldom disturbed the peace.

Just round the corner in Queens Road was Desi and Geoff Self’s grocery shop. This was another delight, opened on Sundays for much needed provisions when working all week at the University, and to pop round to in the evening for a pint of milk.

Opposite my bedsit lived Molly Beeson. She worked in Beryl’s Wool Shop, just down from The Greyhound. The Wool Shop was stocked, not only with every kind and colour of wool you might need, but with haberdashery (in those days you mended your clothes), and with attractive gifts to buy for birthdays.

Molly was involved with the Wivenhoe Players, assisting Clare Hoskyns-Abrahall who started the Players in 1968. I became Secretary to the Players, and we had great fun taking the plays we did to surrounding village halls.

Up at the top of Park Road, Don and Rosalind Hirst used to have bonfires of garden clippings in the middle of the road. Nobody objected. It was such a quiet road. The Valley Road estate was yet to come. When the sad decision was made to tarmac the road, Don Hirst paid a substantial sum towards the costs, and then found that he could not park his car outside his house because of double yellow lines. And although their garden ran almost the entire length of Rebow Road, he could not get a parking permit for Rebow Road, even though the almshouse occupants seldom had a car, because their front door was on Park Road not Rebow Road. Such is bureaucracy.

It will soon be fifty years that I have lived in Park Road. I would love to put the clock back and walk on the earthy un-tarmacked surface it was when I arrived in 1969.

Jane Cole
February 2017

Note:  This article was first published in Wivenhoe News in the Spring Edition in 2017 and is reproduced here in the Wivenhoe community archive by permission of both Jane Cole and the Editor of Wivenhoe News, Jane Hughes.

PS:  Does anyone have any photographs of Park Road before it was tarmacked they could send me for inclusion on this page?  Peter Hill – peter@toadhall2.co.uk


This page was added on 06/05/2017.

Comments about this page

  • And remember Lucky the Border Collie who slept in the middle of Park Road, and for a short while after it was paved? Yes, it was a shame that it got paved.

    By Ruth Dekker (21/05/2017)

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