We have received two absolutely delightful emails from Caroline, who recollects her childhood spent growing up in Perivale Park. I quote her emails (with her permission) here for everyone to relish. Caroline now lives in Canada, and has not visited the park since the late 1980s.
The park is literally where I was brought up. My grandfather, Stanley Nettle, worked for the Parks Department, and we lived in Elm Lodge, the house at the Cowgate Road entrance to the park, by the bowling green and pavilion. My entire childhood was spent running wild in the park, climbing trees, paddling in the brook, falling into the river, catching newts in the pond on the golf course and generally having the sorts of adventures that would probably horrify most parents these days. Those were the days (1960s) when kids went out in the morning to play and no-one worried about them until tea time. We built camps in the woods and pretended we were outlaws or pirates, and spied on the people living in the houses bordering the park (Costons Ave and Bethams Rd), inventing wild stories about them being international spies, mad scientists or fugitives from justice. We sprawled in the meadow by what we called the second bridge (the one on the path from the Costons Ave. entrance) on hot summer afternoons reading Enid Blyton adventure stories, and we snuck out of the house in the middle of the night for midnight feasts in the woods, terrifying each other with ghost stories featuring people murdered in horrible ways. We picked wildflowers by the river, and brought them home for Granny, hoping to distract her from the mud on our clothes or the scraped knees. It was idyllic, and whenever I think of my childhood, memories of the park are always foremost in my mind. I am so happy to learn that it still exists and hasn’t been paved over for housing, and that there are people who love it and care about it.
I don’t think I have any photos from back then. I don’t recall that we even had a camera (which is strange, as my uncle owned the camera shop Kelvin Studios in Greenford), and the only photos I have from my childhood are special occasions like weddings, etc or school photos. I think that somewhere I have a photo of Elm Lodge which was taken in the late 1980s (my husband and I visited once to see where I had grown up, and I think we took some photos), but it had changed a lot from when I lived there.
Those of us of a certain age will certainly agree with the observation that kids went out to play in the morning and no-one worried about them until tea time! I have such stories to tell of my own childhood in the 1950s and early 1960s as well.‡ I wonder when this all stopped? In the 1980s some time?
If anyone has similar experiences, do please let us know. And I am now on a hunt for photographs of the park from that era! Again, please send.
‡Not in the idyllic settings of a park but on the streets of Fulham close to Putney bridge station, for the record. Albeit before that in north Aberdeenshire on a farm.