We met Christine when we went to Markeaton Park to take photographs for the exhibition. Christine was on the park as part of her work for Cycle Derby.
What are your first memories on this park?
I remember Markeaton Park when my children were really small, probably about 10 years ago now. And we used to come here and I remember the Monday play centre being busy…and I much prefer this end of the park, where it’s nice and quiet.
Okay. And can you remember the first time you came to this park, like roughly what year it was?
It would have been 2004, something like that. 10 years ago, yeah. And that’s where I first saw Cycle Derby as well because they had one of their bike pods with the strange bikes on the park with the fire engines in the summer. And my children were really small in little pushchairs and on trikes and things. So that’s how I remember them.
Did Cycle Derby do a lot on this park?
Yeah. We held races for under 16s, under 14s, under 12s and under 10s. We’ve just held a big cycle across race on here, so if you head over there you’ll see lots of tracks in the grass where the bikes, from lots of riders of all ages, up to 70, have ridden 2 weekends ago. And Cycle Derby did – held an event here similar to that in September. Our most recent event was by Derby Mercury, which is one of the clubs I’m in.
Have you or one of your friends ever injured yourselves?
Ever injured ourselves, here on the park?
Do you have any history knowledge on the park?
History knowledge? I’ve been – in the summer I’ve been teaching adults to learn to ride here in the park. That’s one of my jobs with Cycle Derby. And we’ve been watching the archaeological dig that’s been going on in front of the orangery. And so I’m quite interested to see what they do when they – because they’re going to put in a big perimeter route in as well, aren’t they, for the heritage lottery fund. So Mundy, Mundy was the man who owned the house, wasn’t he, in the middle? And there’s a nice road all the way round the outside of the perimeter, which was the old coach road that they’re going to, I think, re-establish as part of a perimeter track that’s going to be all-access, not just for walkers but for people in wheelchairs as well.
What would you like to happen to the park in the future?
I’d like – at the moment when we ride here, we ride here quite a bit with different groups of people. And all you’ve got is the main drag all the way through. And it feels that you’re quite sort of hemmed in. There’s only one way in and one way out, so I’d like them to open up some of the other routes around the park. I’ve heard rumours they might be opening a mountain bike trail over there, but I’ve not heard—
Which you’re very happy about.
Do you find anything negative about this park?
Some of the facilities need a little bit of a spruce up, don’t they? Just to make it more appealing. So just the facilities, because the park is lovely.
Do you feel like it’s a safe park?
I’m not here after dark really in anything I do, because I don’t live here. I used to live here, but when I did live here I didn’t really walk through the park… So I don’t know after dark. You obviously get a feeling that lots of people use it with the cars for the university and lots of people walk through it, so in the daytime it feels quite – so even if it’s quiet and the weather’s not very good, there’s lots of people going through the park.
Would you feel safe to walk after dark?
In here? Probably. But I wouldn’t, I’d ride because I ride everywhere. And when you’re on a bike it’s a different feeling of safety because you’ve got speed on your side and people, yeah, so it’s a different question of safety when you’re on your bike.
(Have you got any final questions?)
Did you attend this park as a child?
No, I didn’t grow up in Derby. I grew up a long way away.
Can you tell us about the first park you visited?
Yeah. It probably wasn’t when I was a child because I was brought up in the country, so the concept of parks was quite bizarre. I think probably the first one I remember is when I went to university, so I went to Leeds. And there’s a big park behind the university buildings called – what’s it called? Hare – no, it’s not Harewood. Headingley. Headingley. Headingley. Just behind – can’t remember what it’s called, but that was my first impression of a park that was green space with people walking through it and facilities inside it, that was probably then, when I was 18.
Thank you very much.