Memories of Titchfield Park. Mansfield

Photo:Children in Titchfield Park

Children in Titchfield Park

Mansfield Museum

By Alan Curtis

I bet most folk who drive past Titchfield Park, do so without giving any thought to the pleasure and enjoyment the park has given to the good people of our town over the years...Certainly to me as a child over 70+ years ago..

To the visitor to Mansfield driving along Notts Road, little would he know that he was driving over the river Maun that runs under the road and meanders it's merry way through the park...What a lot of joy that part of the river has given to the people of Mansfield over the years, it would be my guess that every person in Mansfield has, at some time visited the fine park we have in our town..

Titchfield Park is, in shape, like a very large triangle, or if you like, it is the shape of a slice of a very large round cake...It is, like many other structures and buildings of that era, mostly surrounded by stone walls....All along the frontage to Nottingham Road is a stone wall.. Although I do believe that part of the frontage to Nottingham Road is/was protected by Iron Railings which protects the Flower gardens. I do have to add here that in the 18th /19th centuries, there stood on the park side of Nottingham Road, two/three stone cottages, that when they were demolished, the Iron Railings replaced the frontage to the Nottingham Road  side of the park....There is also a six foot high stone wall dividing the park from The Cattle Market.( I recall a doorway leading to the Cattle Market built into the wall,  never knew what it was for)...Continuing with the stone works in the park, the river Maun is lined both sides of it's banks with stone blocks that are topped with stone pavings...There are also three foot bridges in the park that cross the river Maun....

The small gate entrance from Nottingham Road, for many years had Windsor Garage at the side of it, and through the gate, the park pathway ran alongside of the Railway Line embankment. The embankment also had a very high stone wall,  with very large trees either side of the pathway, making it a lovely walk along the tree lined park pathway...the other end of the parkway brought you out onto what is known as  Littleworth...The railway lines ran right along the side of the parkway, crossing both Nottingham Road and Littleworth by bridges.. 

As you walked through the small gate, you passed the Ladies and Gents toilets on the left, these were hidden by trees and bushes.. You then passed a large area of grassland where in the middle, stood the Bandstand. Many is the time I have sat and listened to the Brass Bands playing in the Bandstand on a lovely summers afternoon... Walking a little further , you came to the Children's play area, an area that was most popular to the younger children. It contained two Sea-saws, a bank of children's Swings , and at the side of the swings there were two high swing bars. 

As you cross over the small foot bridge, you came to the Paddling Pools on the right...There were three paddling pools, two rectangular and a large semi-circle one...Although I have seen a very old picture of a time when there were only the two rectangular ones...At the front side of the pools was a very large grassed area,  on a warm day in the school summer holidays , one had to put their coat down on the grass to have a paddle and a picnic. Many is the time you could not find a spot to put your coat down...All these afternoon picnics were done on the cheap, and were a delight for the children..There was an overflow from the semi-circle pool into the Rectangular pool.. The river Maun was at the side of the pools, divided by some large rocks, it was at this point that one could fish with their fishing nets before the river Maun disappeared under the Mill at the bottom of Bath Street..The other side of the pools was an open fronted room shelter, not only did it give shelter to the park visitors when it rained, it was also idylic for  young couples in their courtship days...

As you walked along the paths that circle around the park, and along the side of the river, one appreciated the work that had gone into the lawns and flower beds to make the park such a beautiful place...In the centre of all this was the immaculate Bowling Green... Do not confuse Flat Green Bowling with Crown Green Bowling...Flat is where the bowlers use the straight lanes to bowl up and down the green on a very flat lawn...Crown Green Bowling is where one can bowl in any direction anywhere ,any way, and bowl across another bowlers lane , on a Green that has a crown ( hump) in the centre . I believe that the Park Keeper's Office was attached  to the Bowling green buildings..

The park gardens and flower beds were always something to behold. There were some raised flower beds that in the centre of the square they formed, had a bronze statue of I believe was Peter Pan...Next to it was a drinking water fountain . The fountain had two heavy Goblets that were chained to the centre of the fountain, I know each one was a heavy cup goblet,  you pressed against a button and water came from the fountain and filled the goblet...It was often a life saver...

Along the lovely walkway paths one used to stroll, and when required, you could sit and rest on one of the many seats around the park, and if you had the inclination, you could stop and smell the flowers...   

What a lovely part of our town Titchfield Park is..... 

This page was added on 01/10/2012.
Comments about this page

Titchfield Park is the oldest public park in Mansfield. The land was once an area of swampy grassland and owned by the Duke of Portland, who leased it to the Improvement Commisioners in 1879 for a recreational public park to be created. Further improvements were made by the 1880's, which included the construction of a bandstand and the planting of the avenue of trees, previously mentioned here by Alan Curtis. The paddling pools and bowling green were added by 1914, and that year the park was handed over by the Duke of Portland to the Mansfield Corporation and named Titchfiled Park. I too as a young child in the 1950's remember the park well. We lived just off Littleworth and often frequented the park. From the Littleworth entrance to the park was Meadow Row, which was once a row of workers cottages on the left hand side. I beleive that the occupants more than likely worked at the tannery which stood opposite the cottages, and where the river Maun ran underneath. During 1911-13 the Great Central Railway embankment was built which ran across the backyards of these cottages on Meadow Row. By the 1950's the cottages were no longer occupied and their windows and doors had been bricked up. But I do remember them well and as a child found them a bit spookey to walk pass. One's voices would echo along this area. The tennis courts are also worth a mention. I'm not sure when they were added to the park, but I do remember my sister playing tennis on them in the 50's. All in all some happy memories were had on Titchfield Park.

By Angela Roche
On 01/10/2012

Lovely reading Alan about Tichfield Park, it has took me back to my childhood days also my Teenage years, what wonderful memories they are, I will take a stroll through the Park one day soon and relive those memories, Its such a shame that the young people today cannot enjoy the experiance that we had in such lovely places that our Mansfield has to offer.

By Eileen Leverton
On 02/10/2012

Thank you Angela, lovely memories.. What an amazing part in the history of Mansfield, Titchfield Park is, and being quite local to the park on Bradder Street and Quarry Lane, we were able to enjoy the outdoor life of the park. What fantastic foresight the planners of the park had with their futuristic idea's of the years to come. In the first instance, as the photograph shows, the paddling pools were not built at the time the picture was taken. One can see the long stone wall that divides the Cattle Market from the park. The building behind the wall must be the Mill and somewhere in there, must be Mansfield Baths. The picture it is said can speak a thousand words, and so with the one above. It shows that in the beginning, the planners made excellent use of the River Maun from it's entrance to the park, to it's exit. The River Maun was the paddling pool for the park at that time. What a great job was made of the stonework and reshaping of the river through the park.  During my younger days, we always called the park "The Meadows ", I don't know why, but the dictionary describes the word Meadow as low grassland near a river, which does fit in with Angela's description of the land before it became a park..

By alan curtis
On 02/10/2012

Hi Alan: again stirred the memory banks have been stirred, actually it was just about two weeks back my sister, mum and myself were talking about the times spent on weekends at the Meadows and all the activities and friendships that were developed. When we lived on Moor Street we always walked down there, too bad people seldom walk these places now, and go paddling in those pools. Mums memories of course go back just as far as yours Alan, from when she lived in Ravensdale . I do have a couple of queries, I have been trying to recall a place like Titchfield Park that had a waterfall and the "older" ones slid down it. Mike

By Mike Frost
On 05/10/2012

I have today driven along Nottingham Road and past Titchfield Park. What a difference to how it looked when I was a child. The railings are still there, but not the railings that were along that strip of Nottingham Road during my childhood days. Near to the bottom of Duke Street was another gate leading to the park. There was a shop at the bottom of Duke Street where you could, if you had the money, buy sweets and pop. I think there was also an ice cream cabin in the park, near to the bowling green. As a child, we would change into our swimming costumes, not only did we paddle in the paddling pool, we would lie tummy down, float with our hands on the bottom of the pool, then walk along the pool with our hands, pretending we were swimming. I believe the park changed from being called the Water Meadows when it was passed on to the Duke of Portland's son, the afterwards it was passed on to the Mansfield Council. Eileen Leverton

By Eileen Leverton
On 05/10/2012

I have now solved my own problem of why the park is called Titchfield Park. Titchfield was the name given to the eldest son of William Cavendish - Bentinck, the 4th Duke of Portland and his wife Henrietta , nee Scott. Titchfield was elected to the House of Commons in 1819 as a Tory Member of Parliament for Bletchingley. He lost his seat, and in 1822 he became Member of Parliament for Kings Lynn. Unfortunately, Titchfield died in 1924 at the very young age of 27. It is therefore quite easy to see and understand the reasoning behind the Duke of Portland's wishes to name the park in memory of his eldest son.

By Alan Curtis
On 08/10/2012

Alan, my memory of THE MEADOWS was similar to yours but I only remember two paddling pools, one slightly deeper than the other but I may be wrong - at our age the memory goes, I'm 80 now. The iron rails were probably removed as part of the war effort, as were all those on the houses in the town. I remember well they came down Carter Lane with an acetyline torch taking then off all the walls. We also had an iron fence between our house and the neighbours but it stands today or at least it did till after the war. My Grandmother was so pleased it never went The workmen left their tools in our front garden overnight but when they collected them next morning they just carried on down the street. Back to the park, do you recall the holidays in the park with a band playing on the old bandstand, loads of sand alongside the river and an artificial beach, Froggarts roundabout and Punch & Judy ---they all created a replica of holidays at the seaside. This was for the duration of the schools Summer holidays each year of the conflict and of couse fishing for Minnows in the river. I seem to also remember ice cream on sale but whether it was Scotts or Divits my memory is not that good.

By Malcolm Raynor
On 11/10/2012

Alan, There was a football pitch as well on the Meadows if my memory serves me right, situated adjacent the dividing wall between The Cattle Market and the entrance on Nottingham Road. I do not recall any club playing on it, just a kick about function

By Malcolm Raynor
On 12/10/2012

Malcolm, I believe you are right. I think it was added to the large grassed area at a later date, but not in my time, as I remember. I do believe that in the early days, no ball games were allowed. Of course it could have been that the young lads of the day had a kick around and put coats down for the goals. Perhaps the Council put up the goal posts to make it legal, I'm really not sure ! Alan

By Alan Curtis
On 15/10/2012

Alan, I understood the 'no ball game' rule was 'no ball games except on the designated field, and don't let your ball go over the wall or onto the path' rule, we certainly played there. Our greatest problem was to own a ball. Also played (cornet and tenor horn) in the Mansfield Borough Brass Band in the bandstand, under the leadership of Fred Suttle of Meadow Lane. Glad to see that people still remember. Probably shouldn't say but also played in the river where the pool outlets were, very silty and dangerous, as was the walk/swim under the foundry and climb out over the green foundry gates. Happy days at Tichfield Park.

By Bryan Hessey
On 11/11/2012

I've spent many happy hours on Titchfield Park in the 1950s and early 60s. My pals and I thought it was the best of the Mansfield parks, probably because the river flowed through which made it more interesting than the others. We spent many hours fishing for sticklebacks there. Off we'd go with fishing net, an old jam jar with string tied round the top for a handle, a bottle of pop and a few tomato sandwiches which were wrapped in the waxed paper that sliced bread used to be wrapped in, I can taste them now, didn't they taste great? Does anyone recall the macaw that used to fly free in the park? It belonged to someone in one of those stone houses opposite on Nottingham Road. If I remember rightly that was the second half of the 1960s, you quite often saw it perching in one of the trees. Could the Brian Hessey that commented on this page be the brother of Ilene Hessey (I don't know if I've spelled her name right)? She was in my class at Rosemary School between 1958 and 1962, I seem to remember there was a Hessey in each year when I was there so she must have had quite a few brothers and sisters.

By Peter Bowler.
On 21/01/2013

My great, great grandfather (Samuel Cox) was loaned this land by the 4th Duke and farmed it until his death in 1869. Samuel's father (Joseph Cox and my 3 x grandfather) was the yeoman to the Duke. The reason Samuel was loaned the land is subject to family speculation, which is not for these pages.

The building which is now used as the gardeners store, was most likely a washroom and part of the house where he and my great, great grandmother lived. The house itself was demolished to make way for the widening of Nottingham Road.

I have photographs of the house and Samuel sitting in his garden, in what is now a busy Nottingham Road. 

By Phil Cox
On 15/02/2015

Phil, Why not add a page on our web site with the photos of your Gt Grandfathers house and him sat in the garden?

By Editors
On 15/02/2015

Yes Phil that would be wonderful to see.

By Angela Bramwell
On 17/02/2015

I was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield in 1948 and lived in Mansfield until 1960, when my parents emigrated to Australia.  My mother's parents lived in Bishop Street near Titchfield Park so my brother and sister and I spent many happy hours playing in the park as we grew up.  Whilst the park was picturesque, the Maun was not at all clean or free-flowing at that time in my memory and therefore not very inviting for swimming, although we did paddle in it sometimes.  I remember my brother and I used to climb a particular tree overhanging the stream, and when one day he lost his grip and fell he emerged from the water covered in a putrid layer of green slime, looking like an alien in Dr Who!  Angela Roche (01/10/12) mentioned the tennis courts in the park.  My father, a Welshman born, had taken up tennis while he was in the RAF in Egypt during WWII.  He became a lifelong tennis enthusiast and taught me to play the game on the Titchfield Park courts (asphalt, as I remember) in the couple of years before we left England.  There was rarely anyone else playing, and when I attended Queen Elizabeth's Boys Grammar during 1959-1960 I couldn't find one other boy who would give me a game on the school courts during Sport!  Perhaps there is more competition for tennis court time in the Andy Murray era.  When we arrived in Australia my tennis skills proved a handy means of 'assimilation' into Aussie culture, as there were a lot more young people playing there.

By Tony Williams
On 28/07/2015

Titchfield Park Bowling club and Mansfield Brewery Bowling Club both played on Titchfield Park until approx 2011 .

By steve revill
On 17/02/2016

Great comments about the towns local park. As a former "Woodus Lad " it was a Sunday day out to walk to the "Meadows " from Woodus with my parents. With no car in those days it was apart from the buses walking on a Sunday. Getting dressed up on Sunday with new shoes to break in meant sore heels, when we got to  the "Meadows"!, and yet an ice cream was on the cards when we got there.Tennis courts, kids paddling, putting golf  etc., plenty to do on a summers day and of course you had to "keep of the grass" how times have changed. Nights seemed longer and time didn't matter as a young kid, ice cream and cups of tea consumed it was time to walk back home. Happy days long gone but memories of the "Meadows" are never lost with readers adding there stories.

By G.Burton former Woodhus lad
On 20/02/2016

Titchfield Park Bowling Club was formed in 1907 and celebrated 100 years in 2007 with a presentation on the Green by the Mayor of Mansfield and continued playing there till the year 2009. Mansfield Brewery also used the bowling green for approx 35 years , but both clubs were forced off the green owing to the continued vandalism of the green and disruption when both teams had matches.

Both teams now play at the Fretwell Sports Centre at Sookholme.

By Steve Revill
On 22/02/2016

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