Tuesday, 26 April 2016

FOUNTAIN FIELDS SIGNS 1974 and 2011



by Dave Roberts

This was the sign which greeted visitors to the Fountain Fields recreation ground during the last days of the Middlewich UDC's existence in 1974. The recreation ground - or 'The Park' as most people call it* - had been serving the people of the town for twenty-two years at this point. I can't recall what the rest of the sign said, but it was one of those stern 'By Order Of The Council' announcements warning people against trying to enjoy themselves too much.
Notice the deadly spikes on the fence and gate. There was much dismay when, at the dawn of the Elf and Safe Tea era, these spikes were sawn off.
The general consensus of opinion was that anyone stupid enough to try to climb over such an obviously dangerous fence really had it coming.

In 1974 there was a little more to Fountain Fields than there is in the present day. At the top end, where the access road for Tesco's supermarket now runs, there was a putting green where in around 1966 I beat all comers in a St Michael's Players sports evening (I also thrashed them all at bowls, too)

*or even, time having moved on, 'Tesco Park'.



In 2011 the main entrance into Fountain Fields was graced by this sign erected by the Congleton Borough Council which, unusually, decided to give due credit to its predecessor for creating this valuable amenity.

As can be seen, it tells all and sundry that Councillor F Buckley opened Fountain Fields in July 1952, though why they didn't have the common courtesy to wait another couple of months until after I'd been born is beyond me. 
The Town Council has some photos of the opening celebrations, and I hope to be able to bring them to the Middlewich Diary soon.

It would be quite fitting if  Cheshire East  erected another sign acknowledging that it was the CBC who erected the sign acknowledging the MUDC...

There is a possibility that Fountain Fields will, before too long, be back in local hands. It's one of the responsibilities  which could be handed back to the Town Council under new legislation.

Then it would be time for another new sign. I suggest one giving thanks to the CBC and Cheshire East for looking after the place for us, followed by 'We're Back Now.'

I've got many happy memories of Fountain Fields. I played tennis there with my brothers as a child and when I got my first job with the UDC in 1969 one of my duties was to toddle along there periodically with old Bertie Maddock and collect all the pennies people had paid to use the toilets and the putting green.

Fountain Fields is, and always has been, very popular and I'm very proud to say that a few years ago I was instrumental in helping foil a dastardly plot to close it and sell the land off for housing.

Consultations took place in late 2015/early 2016 on the way that Fountain Fields should be developed; money became available for a revamp of the area and people living nearby were asked what they would like to see happen.

By far the most popular suggestion was that we should return to the days when Fountain Fields was locked at night, in order to deter 'anti-social behaviour'.

Surely not too much to ask?

If they can put a man on the moon....


Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that  the original MUDC sign says FOUNTAIN FIELD rather than FOUNTAIN FIELDS. 

I've never noticed that before. Nor have I ever heard anyone use the singular form of the name. Has anyone else?

And if you're wondering where Fountain Fields gets its name from, it seems that  in the 19th Century the area was a source of water for the town. There were three wells, feeding into two storage tanks, one of which was called 'The Fountain'. These tanks, in turn, fed water into the 'Town Spout'. We're grateful to the Middlewich Heritage Society for this information. 

Facebook Feedback (2016):

Geraldine Williams In my day a great gathering place for the town's Yoof. I still have nightmares about one piece of equipment called The American, a huge suspended see-saw, where the poor kids in the middle were at the mercy of the lads hanging off the end, which made it go as high as possible. Elf 'n' Safety?!!

Sylvia Burrows I hope they do spend money on it. I enjoyed taking my children there, and playing bowls on the green. There was also a small paddling pool at the back but, sadly, houses were built on it. Happy memories!

Maggie Garner I remember that sign!



First published 30th November 2011
Updated and re-published 26th April 2016

1 comment:

  1. Nope, you're right... definitely Fountain Field in the singular! I wonder when it suddenly became plural fields...

    ReplyDelete

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