You can listen to George talk about his memories of Chaddesden Park or you can read his interview. George was interviewed by his grandson Will/JD.
(Laughs) Would you like to tell us your name and where you live?
My name is George Joseph Barker. I live at…Chaddesden, Derby.
Can you remember the first time that you went to Chaddesden Park?
I would be – let me see – five. Yes, I’d be five first time I went. Have you lived in Chaddesden all of your life?
No, no, all but for two years. We came originally from Staffordshire.
Have you got a favourite memory of the park?
An unfavourite one was of Chaddesden Park in 1945. It was a celebration of the end of the war and there was a big party at the Memorial Hall on Chaddesden Lane. …they got us all in a huge group and took us down onto the park whilst they prepared the party. And I was on a slide and a lad came down and caught me at the back of the head. In those days, most boys wore hobnail boots, and so I missed the party and spent two days with concussion (laughs).
(Laughs) So was Chaddesden Park the first park you ever went to?
I would say so yes…
This will sound unbelievable, but there was a boy… from Chaddesden who used to like to do crazy things, and he was on the swing and he swung and swung higher and higher and something went wrong and he came over the top of the fence and landed on the concrete path outside. And to the day he died, he had jagged teeth where he’d tried to eat the path.
(Laughs) So how far back can you remember?
To my memory, which goes back about seventy-four years, there’s always been play areas but they have been developed, changed, and lots of things have happened. Like for instance, through Chaddesden Park was a stream that came down from Locker Park and this used to flood in the wintertimes. They’ve dredged it since….
and at the end of Chaddesden Park used to be a cinema called The Gloria, and in wintertime when there was any flooding, the first maybe twelve rows were under water from Chaddesden Brook.
(Laughs) Would they still run the film in there?
Oh yes, yes. (Laughs) Yeah?
You used to have two films, actually. You’d sit at the back and you’d see the film and the reflection of the film in the water.
(Laughs) So how long ago was the last time you went down there?
Oh, I bet it’s a couple of years.
What kind of changes have you seen?
The paddling pools have been redone…There was an area that’s always been cordoned off for the cricket… So a large area of the park was taken up for cricket….They’ve got bowling greens. Tennis courts…It’s quite a good little park, really…
…A new library at the – let me see now, where are we – the southern end of the park, adjacent to Nottingham Road…and there used to be gates that they used to close at night. One lot was near St Mary’s Church and the other was down the bottom of Chaddesden Lane…plus the recreational area has changed…they used to lock it at night.
So was there like a fence around the entire park?
Yes I think there was a fence round…and private houses down one side.