Memories of Arthur Newbury Park



You can read more from John Finnerty.

This newspaper cutting was from the Reading Chronicle of September 13, 2007 was sent in by John Finnerty.

A celebration of 75 years of Arthur Newbery Park

A Tilehurst policeman has taken a journey through time to celebrate the 75th anniverary of Arthur Newbery Park. PC John Finnerty, beat officer for Tilehurst until three weeks ago, has researched the history of the 26-acre park behind Armour Hill.

Using the Reading Chronicle as a source he unearthed details of Wednesday, September 14, 1932 when Arthur Newbery handed the deeds of the park, known at the time as Hare Moor, to the village.

PC Finnerty,47, who grew up in Kentwood Hill, said: "When walking in the park the tempation could be to take it for granted, but without the foresight and vision of Mr Newbery, one of Reading's finest parks would have been lost to housing years ago.

PC Finnerty discovered the group of 30 gathered at the park 75 years ago tomorrow, including Mr Newbery, chairman of Reading Parks Committee, Alderman Webb, the Mayor, Alderman EO Farrer PJP, and Alice Jenkins, soon to be Reading's second ever woman mayor.

He said: "Once inside the park, Alderman Webb made a short speech in which he said another link was being forged in the chain of Reading's history. We are here to receive something which would be a lasting memory."

The group then walked across to the hill where they posed for a photograph with the Reading Crhonicle. Before handing over the deeds, Mr Newbery told the gathering: "In Armour Hill we have a remarkable beauty spot where one can see as far as Streatley Hill, Whitchurch, Woodcote and out as far as Dunsden and Sonning. Along in the valley floor could be seen the waters of the Thames. It seems to me that each generation should take care of the next by ensuring that the onward march of building did not cover all the beauty spots."

PC Finnerty, now a Neighbourhood Specialist Officer for Caversham and Oxford Road added: "The park has changed very little over the past 75 years. Air raid shelters were sunk into the ground in 1939 but removed in recent years. A paddling pool existed in the 1950s but is now a toddler's play area and the swings and slides of the 1960s have been taken away.

"The park is often left with the grass uncut and the odd rabbit can still be found if you look hard enough. All in all, it's a lovely place to pass your time."

Arthur Newbery Park in the 1970s

John Finnerty has also sent in a photo of Arthur Newbery park taken some time in the 1970s

Lucy took one look at the photo and recalled:

Oh yes I remember that - there were swings and a roundabout there. They were the swings that chunked me on my head. I remember that incident. I went to the park with my friend Debbie. After the swing clunked me on my head, Debbie brought me home - I had a massive bump on the side of my head and I started feeling sick so my Mum wizzed me round to the doctor - Lyn Jones on the corner of Armour Road. He thought I might be mildly concussed and that I should be taken to the hospital for a check. I wasn't concussed. And on balance - no harm done.

Go to top