Before WW1 part of a field in Fleetville was stacked with bricks brought for use in nearby house-building. A number of children who were swiftly populating the district used the space around those brick piles for informal games of football; maybe even borrowing a few bricks for temporary goal markers.
In the 1930s, married couples in search of a new home wandered the building estates on Sunday afternoons, entered the partly completed homes through spaces which would later become front doorways, and assess the possible suitability for them and their growing family.
Families who had come from London at the end of the Second World War, and whose children had become used to playing on bomb sites, saw the partly finished Fleetville homes as just another playground site; and so we all discovered the joy of exploring, climbing, jumping and leaping, making inventive use of the levels, spaces and materials at hand. No-one was given permission, but on the other hand, no-one told us not to, or if they had we had discovered the art of selective hearing!
|Open building site at Jersey Farm|
COURTESY CHRIS NEGUS
It probably did not happen quickly, but there began a time when building sites were found with chain link fences around them, and wide gates with padlocks. Possibly under pressure from insurance companies. Then signs warning of hard hat regulations. More recently one or more people on site did no building at all; this was the security department; no-one passed in or out except via security and their signature forms and walkie-talkies. All very efficient, but children's adventure was denied.
|Marketing panels in Sutton Road.|