How Jubilee Meadows became the Harwell Recreation Ground. Notes from minutes of meetings of the Harwell Parish Council.
Prepared by Martin Ricketts and published in Harwell News #176 and expanded in Harwell News #223
The Parish Council’s consideration of a site for the Rec at the end of the 1st World War was tied up with the discussion of extra housing provision.
At the meeting on 29th Nov 1917, where it was noted that the Chairman Mr Greenwood had joined the army so the Chair was taken by Dr Rice, it was minuted that
“A reply to a communication from Mr Ormond (Wantage RDC) concerning Housing for the working classes it was unanimously decided that the answer to whether such houses be required in the Parish should be answered in the affirmative, the number of houses so required should be stated as four, and the weekly rent that could be obtained from 5/- to 6/-, and with regard to the … possibility of such houses being built after the war by private enterprise a negative reply should be given.”
The site chosen was to the west of Wantage Road, which seems to have been used for football, but wasn’t owned by the Parish Council. While work on the proposal, increased to 8 houses, was still going on there were calls for a Rec. In 1920 at the Annual Parish Meeting in March there was discussion of the United Service Fund
“& the desire to so distribute about one & a half million pounds for the benefit of ex-servicemen. … Major Wiggins was keen to be a member of that Committee to push the Claims of Harwell men …”
The matter of a Recreation Ground was brought forward by Mr G Bailey. It was explained how the law stands in regard to securing land for Recreational purposes.
April 15 1920 A Parish Meeting duly convened took place at the Council School and commenced at 7.30 p.m. Parish Councillors Messrs. Ellis Storr, Pryor, Tyrrell and Dr Rice were present and amongst others who attended were Major Wiggins, [others] & Mrs Carter.
The Agenda to be considered was “The Advisability of procuring a Recreation Ground”
The opinion being unanimous that a Recreation Ground is necessary for the Parish it was decided a Committee be formed to select possible sites and get in touch with the owners to discover if they are willing to sell voluntarily. This committee shall consist of three, with the Chairman as an ex officio member. The proposition was made by Mr Caudwell seconded by Mr Ellis and carried unanimously. The following members were proposed, seconded and duly elected Major Wiggins, Mr Greenwood, & Mr G Bailey.
Mr Caudwell also proposed Mr Ellis seconded and it was adopted “That a Committee of five members be elected to secure voluntary subscriptions”. The following were unanimously chosen each being proposed, seconded & agreed to: Mr Napper [+4]
It was proposed by Mr Caudwell, seconded by Mr Ellis & carried “That this meeting stands adjourned till May 6th when the sites Committee shall report their results to the meeting.”
Some pages later in the minute book:
Feb 2nd 1921: A Parish meeting took place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 2nd. The Parish Councillors being … There was a well attended meeting of ratepayers and others.
The following Agenda was discussed
(1) The action taken by the Harwell Parish Council to secure the “Jubilee Meadow” for Recreational purposes.
(2) The Results.
(3) Suggestions from Parishioners.
It was proposed by Mr W Hitchman and seconded by Mr A Smith that Major Wiggins be asked to approach Sir Philip Chetwode and Gen Wigans with a view to reconsidering the site of proposed houses. Mr Pryor explained the efforts made by the Harwell Committee to alter the site. Major Wiggins protested against the suggested charge of £137 called for by the District Council should the housing site be changed.
Mr Fuller concurred and a resolution was passed unanimously condemning the actions of the Wantage Rural District Council.
March 23rd 1921 A Parish Meeting … Councillors … Amongst others present were Messrs S Lay, W Pryor … and Mrs Carter.
A letter from Mr Fuller to Mr Hodinott and the reply thereto were read with reference to Recreation Ground. The site selected for the new houses was discussed and a proposal was made by Dr Rice that six houses only be erected instead of eight. Mr H Pryor moved an amendment which was seconded by Mr H Tyrrell that only four houses be erected. This amendment was carried by a majority.
The Clerk was instructed to report this amended proposal to Mr Ormond explaining that the reason was the necessity for retaining sufficient space for Recreation Ground.
To cut the story short, a piece of paper inserted among the 1920 pages has at the top the decision to buy Jubilee Meadow for £300 on Jan 23 1922:
Proposed purchase of land to extend recreation ground [PC/95/05 minute 14] The Council’s solicitor had written that, as proposed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman at the meeting which had taken place in his office on 11th May, the sellers’ solicitors had agreed to a four foot fence on the north and west boundaries, but requested that it be of such a gauge and standard as to deter members of the public from cutting through it.
On the matter of costs, the sellers’ solicitors proposed that the Council pay the sum of £428 towards their estimated total legal costs of £678 plus VAT
It was agreed:
(a) that this division of costs was acceptable to the Council
(b) that the Clerk sign the Draft Contract on behalf of the Council
(c) that payment be made of £1500 deposit.
- memories of harwell
Karen Missen nee Teague –
11 May 2014
My sister was born in our bungalow in Broadway close in 1963, I remember my gran taking me to the playground and I used to build fairy houses with the cut grass under the trees next to the road. my dad worked at the atomic, the house was haunted, and mum and dad recall lots of hauntings, and a large black dog with red eyes seen on the lawn, dad thinks the close was built on the site of the old cemetery?