Depredations of Youths in Boston Manor Park
Decorous behaviour needed!
After the very successful Festival in Boston Manor Park recently I have been reading the minutes of Brentford Urban District Council who originally bought the estate from Colonel J.B. Stracey Clitherow in 1924.
It seems they wanted a member of the Royal Family or aristocracy to perform the opening ceremony but as those they invited were all either abroad or not available Lady Cooper performed the opening ceremony.
The Lord Mayor's Show 1919 with Lord Edward Cooper (courtesy British Pathe)
They were both great charity workers and shared an interest in music. Leonora had been widowed a couple of years before the opening of the Park.
The band of the 8th Middlesex Regiment was paid £14.14.0, plus tea for 20 performers and a conductor to play from 4pm to 10pm. There was ‘illuminated dancing’ on the back lawn during the evening.
The grounds of Boston House were then reserved for walks and the Park set aside for games where it was planned to have four football pitches and ten grass tennis courts but in those days no Sunday games were to be permitted. Later there were three hard tennis courts and a netball court that was used by local schools. There were delays building the bowling green as a previous tenant had not removed his hay rick. He’d complained that it had been too wet but when threatened with a daily fine the hay was cleared. Fishing with a permit was also to be allowed on the lake where, in 1925 a pair of swans were added, presented by the Vintners Company.
A few weeks after the opening ceremony there were reports of ‘depredations by youths’ on a Saturday and Sunday when the byelaws prevented any ball games as ‘the general public who perambulate the park in large numbers on that day (Sunday) would be greatly inconvenienced, and possibly endangered’.
Letters of ‘severe caution’ were addressed to boys caught stealing pears and others who were caught climbing and stealing nuts from a walnut tree. In 1925 local head teachers were told to ‘impress upon their scholars the need for decorous behaviour in Boston Manor Park’.
Electric light was installed in the house and accommodation provided there for two assistant park keepers. The other park keeper was to live in the lodge by the gate and Colonel Clitherow’s gardener, whose wife was the caretaker of the house was to sell the products of the kitchen garden until all stock was exhausted.
Mr Clements who was a local Councillor and later the Charter Mayor when the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick was established a few years later, offered an oak seedling grown from an acorn brought from a World War 1 battlefield.
September 28, 2010