Bomb craters and gravel dips in Ham Common – by JP

Charles I gave the villagers of Ham when he enclosed the Park, he gave the villagers of Ham right of turn-out so they could put their horses and their cows on the Common, also they could take rabbits and things like that it was still their land to use, the villagers of Ham.  But of course it still belonged to the Earl of Dysart and people took a lot of gravel, I mean you can still see the holes in the second part of the Common, you can still see some holes, it’s not all bomb craters, there’s only two bomb craters.

When I was a little girl the cows walked down New Road, Mr Butler’s cows used the Common and Mr ? oh the other dairyman, he had his old white horse on the Common and we had the most wonderful bonfire on the Common and the cricket pitch and everything and people would go out and shoot rabbits and things like that.

It wasn’t until Richmond took over and they spoiled all our fun, when they filled in the dip.  We had a gravel dip you see, it was great for the kids because in the winter, it was really quite dangerous to go on the frozen pond, I did many times but it was really….., when I thought back at it.  But you would get a pool in the bottom of the big dip and you could use that, it was safe, you could sledge down the slopes of the thing.  And they came along in 1951 and filled it in, they must have been barmy! because it was a natural playground and there was another great big heap of sand that we all played on and we said it’s were the hawks/horse?? is buried there, well it’s just a big heap of sand that somebody had got rid of and the canon had gone during the war to be melted down, but it was a natural playground and Richmond cleaned it up.  You don’t see many kids playing up there now.