Filling the in the Pits and building the Wates Estate – by PP

I can’t think of anything else except the way the building went on over the Wates Estate.  They had great plastic bubble tents and they built underneath so they could carry on building through the winter. I reckon that’s why some of them are beginning to disintegrate underneath because you can’t mix concrete properly in frosty weather even if you have got a bubble. It started way over there, opposite […]

Park Keeper on Ham Common – by CL

I’ve just remembered a friend, we all had bits of old bikes we used to build up from war damaged bits down in the gravel pits, there was all bits of stuff about and you all made up bikes without brakes you know you put your foot on the front tyre to stop it.  But my mate and he normally had my brother on the handle bars one sitting on […]

Ham Lands, plant life and threats to its existance – by GH

Well, it was a builder’s rubbish dump in those days and the local population used to refer to it as the Wastelands.  It was a thoroughly unpleasant, untidy heap of old plaster, bricks, baths and general debris and only slowly did it start to get cleared. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the then newly appointed Liberal council, for the European Year of the Environment, cleared it completely and skimmed […]

Filling in Ham Lands – by MW

You used to get the Ham River Grit Company, they must have been filling it up then.  They used to come past 24 hours a day down our road and I can also remember my sister and I, when the lakes were there, we used to go tadpoling over there.   Well, I suppose, when you’re small, it seems much bigger, doesn’t it?  It covered a good area, like it still […]

Fighting to save Ham Lands – by David Williams

The biggest campaign that I was fighting in the 1970s was stopping building on Ham Lands. What had happened with Ham Lands is they were former gravel pits, disregarded and looked upon as ‘the wasteland’, one of the names for it used on the Wates Estate in the 1960s.  But the planning history of it was that Wates got permission to build on the 70 acres which is the Wates […]

Ham Lands, dangerous playground – by GH

One incident was a lady approached me after the talk and said her father had received the Royal Humane Society’s Gold Medal for rescuing a drowning child from the Ham Pits. The pits were extremely deep with vertical sides, so if you were to fall into them, getting out would be extremely difficult and for this reason, mothers would insist that their children did not go to play at the […]

Ham River Grit, Ham Lands – by HS

This area where we’re talking now was very much out of bounds because it was all gravel pits – a company called Ham River Grit Company operated here and their lorries were always going up and down the road spilling water and gravel, a daily sight but we weren’t allowed to come over here because the gravel pits were very deep.

Drowning on Ham Lands – by PP

You only had to walk past these four houses next door and there was an enormous gravel pit, which was quite a dangerous lake. It was very deep and there had been a local boy drowned in it – I am not quite sure which year – sort of 1950 something. And one was always nervous about children going down there.