A Stroll in Grove Park
By Tina Paphitis, on 26 April 2013
Last week Andrew Flinn, Gabriel Moshenska and I met with Stephen Kenny at Grove Park Community Centre to discuss how we could help the community develop their heritage project. We were met with a warm welcome and a cup of tea! The Ringwood Centre is an inspiring place that survived being torn down for a major road development in 1972, and it is clear that the community really care about the Centre and Grove Park. The Centre consists of a house and relocated pre-fabricated buildings partly occupying land where the writer Edith Nesbit’s (author of The Railway Children) house once stood! It does everything, from hosting regular activities and events (such as folk singing, lace-making and fitness classes), to circulating a local newsletter and providing a place for people to visit, meet and chat with friends or get on with their own thing. Grove Park itself has a fascinating history: as well as being the home of Nesbit, who entertained her friends H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde in her gardens, it was also where Desmond Tutu ministered in the 1970s, and has a rich railway heritage.
Grove Park Community Group are developing a heritage and literary trail to reveal this hidden history, and hope to develop an audio-visual guide for walkers, which will include information about the history of the place, and of recollections of local residents. In this, we (Andrew) aim to provide training and equipment needed for conducting oral histories that can be used for the trails and other activities. Additionally, we (Gabe and Tina) hope to add to this history by running a week-long excavation where local primary school children can come and learn about archaeology – and who knows what might turn up?! This will all take place around a Grove Park Summer Fair to be held on 6 July, which promises to be a fun event, and where people can contribute their own tales, recollections and sentiments about Grove Park.
After discussing all of this, we were taken on a lovely walk around the Park, during which we could plan potential trench locations and take in the wonderful views! We went away feeling enthralled by the place and the work of the Group, and excited to be part of this project. Watch this space for updates on our progress and information on events!