I believe it had been a covered reservoir at one time (which is why Mill Lane is sometimes referred to as Waterworks Road), and was converted into an air-raid shelter during World War II. By the time I was around, it was not used, and was just a big hill with a couple of barred gates leading inside (all locked up) and steps leading up the side.
I remember that I used to like to climb up the steps to the top when I was little. I think my mother sometimes took me up there, and the next-door neighbour may have done too. There were gratings set into the top pf the hill, drains of some kind I suppose they were, and I used to like to drop pebbles through the grating. I used to call them “Long-Way_Downs”.
Some time during the 1970s they demolished most of the reservoir, leaving only two small hills. One was made of earth with grass growing on it, and had been part of one of the sloping sides, and the other hill was mostly concrete and the like. The rest of the area was just waste ground, which quickly became overgrown with long grass and plants like Rosebay Willowherb and a plant that we used to call Bad Man’s Oatmeal, which might have been Cow Parsnip or Yarrow or possibly Hogweed. It was common for us to go and play up there as there was a lot of area to explore.
Eventually in the 1980s they started to build houses there, St. Joseph’s Court, and I think by about 1985 all traces of the Reservoir were gone. I have tried to find photographs of it, but without very much success. I have seen one photo from the air from 1937 which shows it just as a fuzzy lump, and another from street level from around the same time which shows a tiny glimpse of it in the corner of the picture. I guess it wasn’t something that anyone really thought it was worth photographing, which is a pity as I would have really liked to see it again.
It just goes to show the value of taking photographs of everyday things, as our surroundings change so rapidly.
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