Lesley Hopkins - Watching the Construction of the Gardens

Lesley remembers the building of the gardens and Quality House

By Liz Warriner

Lesley watched the diggers at work and marvelled at the structure of Quality House, the first metal framed building she’d seen. Listen to the clips to hear her story.

The Construction of the Gardens

“I can remember seeing a …. you know those steam engines – the ones with the big wheel and um that chuff chuff chuff along the way? There was one of those in a state of decrepitude behind a fence in Cotterells on the river side of Cotterells and that was there until they cleared the area in order to build the Water Gardens. The Water Gardens themselves were quite something when they were first built although the river was very much in its channel and everything was very organised as was the way of the time. It really was quite something, something to be proud of if you like really when it was built.”

Watching Quality House being Built

“I remember what was the Coop being built distinctly, because it was built on to a metal structure and it was the first time I’d encountered that as a, as a child. Everything I’d ever seen being built before was, um, well, brick. Fundamentally. This had got a brick outside, but breeze blocks inside and er round this metal frame that they put up first. which was, um, extraordinary I thought. Made a point of watching it going up because it was something a bit new.”L

The New Water Gardens

A teen-age Lesley met her friends in the gardens before going to meetings in the town hall

“The Water Gardens themselves were quite something when they were first built. We used to use it as a place not to congregate en masse, but as a nice place to go. I belonged to the Junior Accident Prevention Council (laughs).  (My word doesn’t that sound grand!)  a sort of a club for people who had vague interests in traffic and cycling and things like that – which I had , I suppose. Our meetings were held at the Police Club in Cotterells – that building is still there in the corner of South Hill School’s ground. And so we could go from school , meet up in the Water Gardens, go to JAPC and then go home. We used to hold committee meetings in the new Town Hall then – it was very new, it smelled very new – carpet and wood, you know, it was whoa, terrifically posh! And we would have one of the Committee Rooms there and hold our meetings and again you could go from school to the Water Gardens and sort of meet up, sit and have a chat , and then go to the committee”

This page was added on 04/07/2016.

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