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A Shout From The Attic: The Park Ranger

Ronnie Bray recalls the man who ruled the park near to his boyhood home.

To read more of Ronnie's engaging life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

Tucked inside the main gates of Greenhead Park opposite the top of Fitzwilliam Street was a lodge in which Captain Irons, Huddersfield’s Superintendent of Parks lived, unseen but feared. Fear of him among us children grew from his name and the mystique we wove from it. His was one house that I passed on tiptoe.

Another house to tiptoe past was one on the part of Portland Street that ran from Fitzwilliam Street to New North road. This was an old dark house with dusty windows and tattered curtains, and a garden that never saw a spade. The unseen occupant who we understood to be a crusty old man whose adjectival cognomen was ‘suspicious.’ He was a suspicious man and that sounded terrifying enough to frighten us so we tiptoed past his house lest he, on hearing us, woke from his giant’s sleep and rushed out and ate us.

Upholding the dignity of Captain Irons and Greenhead Park was a ramrod of a man. He looked like a Regimental Sergeant Major from the Brigade of Guards, and perhaps he was. He was the nameless Park Ranger who would have grabbed the horns off a bull if one had dared look at him. He was taciturn, as straight lipped as he was straight backed. We had a preternatural respect for this uniformed guardian of all things in and to do with Greenhead Park.

Past the sweep of the park boundary the skirted Trinity Street for a hundred yards or so before veering into Park Drive, was the corner house of some notable photographer who had a large lean-to conservatory with exotic plants in profusion. Then, a pedestrian set of terraced houses ran the street out to the Junction, broken only by well-to-do Vernon Avenue.

Once past the Junction pub, Westbourne Road – there could be a clue in that name, but I had no difficulty missing it – swept up from where Trinity Street left off and, after turning mysteriously into New Hey Road, and goodness only knows what happened to Old Hey Road, it ran straight up through Marsh, Lindley, Salendine Nook, Mount, Outlane, Scammonden, and the moors. Some called it the Rochdale Road after that.

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