Abbey Park Sound

Dave Pick remembers life as a park keeper

Park Keeper  2.09 minutes  [518 kb]

They classed them as 'statics' and 'mobiles' and the whole park keeping force there was about 74 people. Er, they used to have the park keepers on the little tiny parks, I mean, um, as I say, Belgrave Gardens, Spinney Hill Park, um, all the smaller parks always had a park keeper, and Fosse Park did.

Q: I remember on Humberstone Park... 

That's right, well, um, Humberstone Park there was a park keeper up 'til 5 years ago there...

Q: Yes.

Er,  because it was a larger park, but, um, over the years they, er, they cut down the staff and er up 'til 5 years ago they had a, er, they had 26 statics and mobiles.

Q: Yes.

Well, as I say, we were like the security on the park. We used to go round make sure that there was no kids cycling, er, it was an offence to cycle on the park, er, there was keep off the grass signs in the flower gardens, anybody walking on the grass we used to tell them to get off - er, it was just general patrolling and, um, letting people know you were about, and people felt secure in those days.

Q: Yes, yes, did you have regulars, you know, did you get to know people?

Oh yes, in fact, even nowadays I've still got, the old regulars, er, come down and see me. In fact, I know a lot of the kids that I nicked, um, they come down and bring their families on now. It's nice, and they don't hold no grudge because they realised at the time, er, that I was only doing my job. 

Q: Did you, I mean, did you have any real trouble with them - if you told them to get off the grass they, they did, or...?

Oh yeah, sometimes, sometimes. I did get, I did get a lot of hassle, um, er, I did get the nickname of, um, the little Hitler, the little Hitler of Abbey Park.

Q: I see! (laughs)

And er, because in those days, um, I, I used to look officious - I had a, I had a moustache, and er the uniform I had, er, it did look ominous, you know, it er... it was good really because without a uniform, er, I don't think the kids would have took any notice of you.

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