Memories of Stowmarket – The Rec

Tuesday 29th August

The Rec was our playground, it was only a couple of streets from our council house in Silverdale Avenue – down Lydgate and Curwen and there it was.  It was short for the recreation ground, but everyone called it the rec. A huge grassed are with rows of trees along a couple of edges.  There was a slide, with a large platform at the top which served as a tower to be attacked by hordes of marauding ‘injuns’.  A whirligig which we used to spin faster and faster until those still clinging on would be spun off or our arms got too tired to keep on spinning.  There were a couple of swings which we would swing higher and higher and then launch ourselves into space at the highest point we could achieve.  There was the main shelter with benches all around where we played football when the weather was bad, and a smaller four-sided one which was incorporated into our games too.  But mostly there was a huge expanse of grass where we rode our bikes or played football every Saturday.  Whoever turned up was delegated to, usually, the losing side.  We literally had jumpers or coats for goalposts.  It was a mad melee, nobody played in any particular position, we all just chased the ball and kicked either it or our opponents.

There were also a set of ornate Memorial Gates listing those who had fallen in the two wars, though as a small child I never really understood that fallen meant died, I seem to recall thinking they must have fallen over and then stopped being soldiers.  When I was about three I remember quite clearly a motorcycle accident where the bike skidded and the rider and passenger came off just by these gates.  I can recall the headlight splaying across the brightly coloured gates (but my Mum and Dad can’t remember this at all).  I can also remember marching to these gates in the Scouts every November, and also when Churchill died in 1961 I think.

And later when courting we would often take girls to the rec for a kiss and cuddle leaning against one of the large trees, or in winter huddled in the memorial shelter.  The incident with Jane in Sips, Slips and Snippets of Love really did happen at the rec too.

So many fond memories of the rec, my childhood playground.