Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Locke Park

February 26 I arrive at Heathrow where I'm met by Melly and Eva and whisked off to Barnsley.

We walk in Locke Park with Alfy, the neighbor's dog.  It's half-term and the children are out on the fine  sunny day in droves.

Here's Piper with Alfy in 2012.

And here is more of Locke Park.

Out my bedroom window this morning.

Named for Joseph Locke, who was a railway engineer raised in Barnsley.  According to Wikipedia:
"Joseph Locke (9 August 1805 – 18 September 1860) was a notable English civil engineer of the 19th century, particularly associated with railway projects. Locke ranked alongside Robert Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel as one of the major pioneers of railway development."

I knew him by the infamous story of the accidental death of William Huskisson, MP for Liverpool.

"When the (Liverpool Manchester) line was finally opened in 1830, it was planned for a procession of eight trains to travel from Liverpool to Manchester and back. George Stephenson drove the leading locomotive “Northumbrian” and Joseph Locke drove “Rocket”. The day was marred by the death ofWilliam Huskisson, the Member of Parliament for Liverpool, who was struck and killed by “Rocket”."
"The (Manchester Sheffield line) project included the three-mileWoodhead Tunnel, and the the building of the line required over a thousand navvies and cost the lives of thirty-two of them, seriously injuring 140 others. The Woodhead Tunnel was such a difficult undertaking that George Stephenson claimed that it could not be done, declaring that he would eat the first locomotive that got through the tunnel. It was estimated that the mortality amongst the navvies at the Woodhead Tunnel was just over 3 per cent, whereas the mortality amongst soldiers at the Battle of Waterloo was only 2.11 per cent.[3]"

An observation tower was erected by Sarah McCreerey in memory of her sister, Phoebe, the widow of Joseph Locke, and donor of the land for the park.

Here is Locke Park's bonfire night last year:

  There is also a Ghost Walk and a Park Run held the first Saturday of each month.  Speaking of ghosts, an old "not very nice" lady lived in this park gatehouse.  She paid 4.50 a week in rent and believed herself to be the lover of Placido Domingo.  He sent her "packages" which were "signed" by him in her handwriting.  It is now derelict.


Sean Bentley said...

I want to know what Stephenson washed down the locomotive with...several barrels of Bass perhaps?
Great story of the gatehouse lady! Did you hear that from M?

RobinB said...

M as in Malcolm, not Melly! He is our neighbor, dad to Alfie the dog and former Council member, avid volunteer at Locke Park and member of the Crown Green Bowling Society here at the Park. He and his wife have related many stories about the park--I'm watching them cleaning out the flower beds below my sunny bedroom window as I type this!