Here is a collection of memories of visits to the park:
Born 1961 and lived at 19 Eaglesfield Rd from 1963 with two older brothers.
Memories of Eaglesfield Park:
Firstly we never called it Eaglesfield Park – it was always just Eaglesfield.
I went to the paddling pool a lot when I was very little with my mum and dad and my grandparents who lived at 41 Cleanthus Rd and I used to take my daughter there when she was little too. I was quite upset when it closed down.
I remember the kiosk near the duck pond and the toilets which were near it. The kiosk sold tea & coffee and sweets & drinks in glass bottles.
I remember the beacon being lit on Silver Jubilee night in 1977 but I was desperate to get away and go out with my friends.
I sledged down the Valley which is now called the Meadow in 1967 as there was lots of snow and I loved it and I remember a family of foxes running across our path.
I used to go down into the Valley with my two brothers at 5am-6am in the school summer holidays to watch the rabbits running about.
As I got older I didn’t use Eaglesfield as much as Oxleas Woods but it has always been very dear to me as I’ve lived nearby all my life.
Madeleine – FOEP member
I was born at the Military Hospital on Woolwich Common in 1944. I lived with my parents at 99, Shrewsbury Avenue, then a grand Victorian house and we lived in the ground floor flat. When I was 8 we moved to Heavitree Road in Plumstead but with my parents both working I spent most of my free time with my Auntie Main who looked after me and lived at 67, Shrewsbury Lane opposite the bowling club.
Auntie Main was very genteel and right and proper, if not a little eccentric. She bred Cairns dogs and took in borders, including students from Woolwich Polytechnic. My life revolved around Shrewsbury Lane and I’d regularly walk Auntie Main’s dogs in Eaglesfield.
The park always had a brown uniformed park keeper. I remember one time taking my own terrier ‘Trixie’ to the park and she was attacked by a large Boxer who had her pinned to the ground. I was screaming and the park keeper came immediately and rescued her. He really gave you that feeling of safety.
I remember the Lilly Pond as it was called (now the wildlife pond). I remember it being just like the old postcard view. It felt somehow a posh area, mysterious and like a forbidden area for some reason.
The paddling pool was there at this time. It was very shallow, and I always wanted to learn to swim. It was a bit deeper in the middle, so I’d try and swim there, but it was still pretty shallow, so I used to scrape my knees on the bottom. I’d go home with scraped up knees!
Sweets were still on rations after the war. I’d take my rations up to the refreshment hut on Eaglesfield and buy humbugs and flying saucers. One of Auntie Main’s lodgers was from Nigeria. His name was Mr Okisable and he used to give me his sweet rations too!
We didn’t have any fear and I’d go up on my own and even feel safe walking across the path at night. It was always a nice, safe little park. You could use it any way you wanted. There were always lots of people up there doing different things. I was friends with the son of another of my auntie’s borders, a lad called Terry Copsey. We’d make dens in Oxleas Woods and we used to take a couple of old heavy wooden tennis rackets up to Eaglesfield for a knock about.
I’ve always been a hill person and lived here all my life. Eaglesfield was always a lovely place to be.
It just felt safe. It felt like my park. It mattered.
You’re on this high point, you look right out over Kent and you do feel free. Up on Eaglesfield it makes you want to jump for joy!
I was 6 years old in 1971 and living in Cleanthus Road. The playground area was a paddling pool then. It was green but great fun! My mum was disabled and couldn’t get up to the park, so as a 6 year-old I used to run up there on my own in my swimming costume – no towel and bare feet! I had lots of friends and we all used to go up together. I was hyperactive so my mum was glad to get rid of me for a while! That wall that’s still around the playground used to be choc-a-bloc with mums. It was so packed you couldn’t get a seat. It felt like being at Charlton lido! I loved going in that pool – I called it the pond. My mum would never know when I was coming home – there were no mobile phones then. I’d eventually go home – running back over the road again in my wet costume, no towel and no shoes. But it all felt so safe.
There used to be a park keeper called Jerry. He was always very smart with his hair slicked back and thick glasses. He was absolutely wonderful – like a grandad to all us kids. He loved all the children and told us stories. There was a tea hut that sold tea and ice creams. The ice creams were lovely. There was a long-distance lorry driver called Fred who used to stop by for his break and a cup of tea. He used to take all us kids for a ride around the block in his lorry! Talk about safeguarding – couldn’t happen now of course but we were always alright. He’d say, ‘come on kids who wants to come for a ride’ and we’d all run to get in.
Where the pond is now, at the back, there used to be a hut there where the teenagers would hang out. We used to collect the conkers there and do conkering.
We’d go down to the lower field blackberrying. A girl I knew had a horse down there – it was in her back garden. Her dad had a pony and trap. We’d go down and stroke the horse. We’d climb under the golf course fence and collect up the lost golf balls, sell them up the park and buy ourselves an ice cream!
I remember the Mulveyhill boys used to always play cricket up there. They lived in one of the big houses on Cleanthus. We used to think they were posh! I think some of them still live around the area. There used to be a bonfire at Guy-Fawkes too, down near the Cleanthus Road corner and everyone would come up for it.
Thinking about these memories, I’ve realized just how much of my childhood was spent up there.
I spent countless afternoons and evenings after school and on that weekends up at this park throughout the 1990’s.
We would take a ball up there and play ‘Wembley’ on the low wall that circled the inside of the old playground or sit on the swings talking about whatever filled our young minds at the time.
The park occupies a special place in my heart as somewhere I came to breathe and unwind. It helps that it sits on one of London’s highest points and allowed us to survey the kingdom we belonged to but were probably a bit overwhelmed by at times.
I can still picture the sun setting and the woods growing dark behind us as we eked out the last of the light before we headed home.
I’m so pleased it has received a much-needed revamp and hope that many more young Londoners will find the peace, fun and escape in it that I did.
Born 1963 and lived in Kinlet Rd from 1963 to 1987 and has lived in the local area ever since.
The paddling pool is my earliest memory and the water used to gush out of it. I remember playing with older boys and they used to pretend there were alligators and crocodiles. It seemed the sun always shone and I was there all the time. I loved the jelly snakes you could buy from the tea hut. When it snowed I used to dress my Action Man up in his skiing gear, tie his knees together and he skied all the way down the Meadow – I loved it!
In the mid 70s my brother and I made a three hole golf course on the Meadow as we were a bit too young to join Shooters Hill Golf Club so we constructed our own.