You can listen to John talk about his memories of Osmaston Park or you can read his interview.
So, name and date of birth, please?
10, wow. What’s the all-time memory of Osmaston park that you have?
Oh right. It was the hole that used to be at the back where the (Osmaston Park community) centre’s built now. About fifty foot deep and about sixty or seventy foot across. And everybody thought it was a bomb hole. It wasn’t. It was where they had dug out to put some rubbish actually. (Laughs) But everybody thought it was where a bomb dropped during the war. But it wasn’t.
And did people go and play on it?
Everybody played near it, yeah. Until in the end they did fill it up with rubbish and then that was it.
And the old community centre which was falling to bits, which was virtually where the garden is now. And that was a bit rickety, but yeah, it was a good old place. Yeah.
What is there to do at Osmaston Park?
What is there to do? Anything you like really. There’s a play area for young children. There’s different groups that use this place, dance groups, karate, aikido, all sorts. I can’t remember how many groups use it but we’re full all week. Just in a short while there’ll be a dance group come in with their children. There’s a crèche that runs five days a week. It’s open for parties at the weekends. There’s a BMX track.
Can you tell us about the first time you ever visited any park? That was Ricknall Rec because I used to live in town. And that was a long, long time ago. And all I can remember is falling out of a tree and breaking my hand.What’s changed at Osmaston Park, do you think?
Oh, it’s changed. In the past ten years it’s changed dramatically. It used to be a no-go area. We explained to them that it’s a beautiful park, terrible place to die…And we got some play equipment. We got funding for play equipment and then got funding for this place. Got this place built (Osmaston Park community centre), got a lease for it and it’s been okay ever since. And we have no trouble with anybody now at all.
Would you say it’s a nice park to visit?
It’s a great park to visit. It is, it’s marvellous. No trouble. No bother. Everybody respects everybody else and it’s okay.
Like more toys for the generation of kids?
The BMX racing track could be finished and not left half finished. There could be a bit more play equipment. We’ve just got some disabled play equipment put up there. There’s always room for more, you know, and a nice open space for kids to play. You know, things for them to climb on. Not in a set out structure of swings and roundabouts and things…
A bit how it used to be? A bit of rough and tumble and climbing and playing? Kids love it don’t they? It can be quite simple really.
Yeah, yeah. That’s right, yeah, they do.
What would you think about the lighting system around the park? If you were to walk round at night time or whatever, do you think it would be safe and stuff?
I do. (Laughs)
But I mean if you stick to the paths, then the paths are well lit. If you want to go in the dark areas, you can go in the dark areas. It depends what you want to do (laughs).Would you say this is your favourite park in Derby or is there another one?
Yeah. I work here as well; I can’t say anything else can I?! (Laughs) And I’m one of the directors of the place so…
(Laughs) Are you?
And you work here as a volunteer?
How often are you here?
Only five days a week. I have Sunday and Wednesday off. Somebody else does it then.
Is it entirely staffed by volunteers?
Yes. Yeah. Nobody gets paid. If we have a big event, or when the football is on, we pay some people to run the café. But that’s all.
Do you have any memories of the Caribbean carnival? Do you go to the carnival?
Yeah, yeah. We work here on the carnival. We open the place up and serve out the front. And it’s good. A really good day. Shame about the weather for the past two years, but hopefully this year it’ll be really nice. It’s a big carnival. A nice carnival as well.
Brilliant. Thanks very much.
Do you want to press stop on the—
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