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Longford Park in the 1960s and 1970s

longford park rockery 1977

Mr C.E Barnett has kindly provided several excellent pictures of Longford park in its prime. He worked in Longford Park from 1961 as a 15 year old until 1979 , in which time he became Longford Park’s Foreman Gardener. He married and lived at no 1 Longford cottages for a time and now lives in Llysfaen, near Colwyn Bay, North Wales.
Please email info@folp.org.uk if you would like to get in touch with Mr C.E Barnett.

Memories of Longford Park

Do you remember the Queen’s visit to Longford Park? Have you attended pageants, festivals and events in the park? Did you grow up in the area and have a story to tell?

Terry Christian, the well known Manchester music presenter, recalls when he was a kid, kicking a ball around in Longford Park and meeting Sir Matt Busby and Joe Mercer. Enthralled, Terry wanted to get their autographs and the two football legends were still there waiting for him after he had raced home to fetch his autograph book!

A slightly less cheery recollection was provided by Morrissey, the famous Manchester singer. When asked in January 2006 what he most remembered about growing up in Stretford:-
Of Stressford….mostly Longford Park, where I more or less lived every day - every corner a dark memory.”
Source: http://true-to-you.net/morrissey_news_060104_01

The BBC recently published an account by John Parkinson, who grew up in Old Trafford during the second world war:-

Back in Old Trafford life was back to normal for a while and I remember seeing from Longford Park Stretford all the vapour trails in the sky as some of the Battle of Britain spilled over into the North. Barrage balloons were the norm, one being based in Hullard Park nearby.
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/

If you have any interesting stories, pictures, facts or reflections that you would like to share with us then please add your comments below or email us at:- info@folp.org.uk

15 Responses to “Memories of Longford Park”

  1. XRumerTest Says::

    Hello. And Bye.

  2. Susan Lythgoe Says::

    I used to live on Washbrook Drive, Stretford. I attended Stretford Grammar School for Girls from 63-69. I have very fond memories of Stretford and Longford Park. I remember Sunday walks in the park, with my parents, little sister, and baby brother. I remember his big Silver Cross pram with its huge sun canopy, and watching its tasselled fringe bouncing to the rocking of the pram in the sunshine. I also remember the long walk back home, at the end of the stroll in the park… I remember the fair at Longford Park, too, and losing my purse (I’d just got paid, so it was full - lucky finder!) on the Speedway ride… I remember school lunchtimes, walking across Longford Park to the Bowling Alley for lunch, and the quick dash back so we wouldn’t be late for afternoon registration… happy days… I left Stretford in 1971, but hope to never forget those idyllic childhood days…

  3. Debbie Lee nee Aldcroft Says::

    I grew up in Chorlton, just off Longford rd. My memories of the park when I was about 4/5 there was a band stand in the middle if the park and also a lovely hot house for quite egsotic plants. I do remember the fair coming and it was so exiting it stayed a week but it was always noted that it rain and it was all muddy. As the years went on they built the stadium for school athletic s I feel I must visit again haven’t been for years, I live near Chester now.I think I will bring the Grandchildren. Ho and the dog hope he is allowed.

    FOLP Admin: Debbie, Although, things have changed over the years, we’d love to see you, the Grandchildren and the dog visit again
    (Mark)

  4. Vivian Says::

    I was born in a house in Taylor’s Road, late 1940’s. Although I didn’t live there for long it was my grandparents and I visited virtually every school holiday, having moved to Doncaster. My mother attended the Openair School for a time in her early teens. Visiting both sets of grandparents was never complete with out a trip to Longford Park. I have a couple of photos I think were taken in the park.

  5. Yvonne Riley (nee Swallow) Says::

    I grew up in Stretford too. I lived the first 23 years of my life in the 60’s and 70’s almost adjacent to the entrance of Longford Park on Cromwell Road and played daily on the “first field” :)
    I was also a petal thrower in the 60’s and in my teenage years played in Urmston & Davyhulme Silver Band & took part in the pageant. The fair in the evenings was great fun!
    Fun aside, my Mum spent her early and poorly childhood years at the Open Air School in the park as did my older Brother when he contracted Polio in the mid 50’s. Thankfully my Brother survived Polio unscathed. My family has a lot to be thankful for the great care that was given by the Open Air School in Longford Park.
    I now live in Australia (for 33 years) and am thankful for the happy memories of Longford Park. The rose gardens and ice creams from the kiosk on a hot day, yum. :)

  6. Sue Rogers Says::

    I grew up in Stretford, (Longford Avenue then Norwood Rd ) and Longford Park was a huge part of my childhood. I took our dog there most days, was in the pageant (train bearer, petal thrower and garland girl) in the mid 50’s up to the early 60’s. The fair was something we looked forward to all year, and weren’t the motorbike grasstrack races held at the same time? My Dad was the loudspeaker commentator for the races. I have lived in Notts since 1972, but have very fond memories of ‘my’ park.

  7. Sue Rogers Says::

    I grew up in Stretford, (Longford Avenue then Norwood Rd ) and Longford Park was a huge part of my childhood. I took our dog there most days, was in the pageant (train bearer, petal thrower and garland girl) in the mid 50’s up to the early 60’s. The fair was something we looked forward to all year, and weren’t the motorbike grasstrack races held at the same time? My Dad was the loudspeaker commentator for the races. I have lived in Notts since 1972, but have very fond memories of ‘my’ park.

  8. Irene Rawlinson Says::

    I use to take part in the Pageants and went to the fair afterwards. The Open Air School use to be in the park as I remember. My best memoires are of the dances on Boxing Day in Longford Hall - used to love them Have not lived in Stretford for a very long time now, went to live in York and now live in Burgundy.

  9. Roger Russell Says::

    I lived in Welney Rd(off Seymour Grove) as a boy from 1956 til 1964, Longford Park was a significant part of life then. My twin brother and I would play 2 man cricket test matches..I was usually Jim Laker (remember Old Trafford 1956). School cross country was in the park but I don’t recall the swings. Spent hours in the library.Usually went to the fair but without much money.Nothing magical ,just a kid’s life never quite forgotten. .

  10. Larry Wilson Says::

    Great to see Chris Barnett’s photo’s. He will remember me by my first name John. I left St Mary’s Secondary Modern in 1977 and started as an apprentice in the nursery in Longford park. These were happy days indeed. Chris always helped me in my apprenticeship and I went on to work in Longford, Victoria and Hullard Park until I went into teaching.
    Some of my memories that show just how much has changed were Christmas’s. With 8 working in the greenhouses, 12 in the park gardens, 4 mechanics, 2 playground mechanics, a tree gang and landscape team based in the park –we would all meet in the pavilion on the stadium where Chris had a spell of being the grounds man and have our Christmas do. Can you imagine over 30 people working in one park! It was full of pride and enjoyment. Names already mentioned do stand out- Geoff Whitehead was the gardener who looked after the bowling green, the golf course and the beds just around the bowling green area- he was a legend and the quality of his work was something to witness.
    Working in the greenhouses- Brian, Chris, Doug, Cath myself are names that stand out from my apprenticeship. Tony Dey started later and is still working for Trafford. I am sure he can add lots to the story of the past.
    It all went into free fall in the 80s- Privatisation and a set of values that told us all that people in public service like this were no longer of value saw an end to a golden era of people who went to work loving every minute and without necessarily saying it had masses of civic pride. I could go on about the floral decorations we did, the shows we put on but I wont.

  11. dave cowans Says::

    I had the pleasure of working at Longford Park in the early seventies with Chris Barnet and I lived in 2 Sunnyside cottages, colleagues I recall were Brian and Neil, two brothers, Ed Snelson, Peter Tunnah and the boss Bill Cannon who was a good friend of my father, Tom. Both he and his wife Lena were members of the Bowls Club, which as I recall was looked after by Geoff Whitehead. the park at that time demonstrated the highest level of maintenance and the rock garden and flower beds were features of the renowned for their quality. It was during my time there that the all weather track was installed, the first ij the north of England.
    I shall be attending the anniversary celebrations, if anyone form that period would like to meet, please e- mail

  12. Jason Jawando Says::

    I grew up in Partington, but went to Stetford Grammar School. The boys’ school was in Greatstone Road at the time. We used to have a monthly ‘cross-country’ run in Longford Park, as well as holding the annual sports day in the athletics stadium - a venue that proved to be slightly less impressive than it sounded when we saw it.

    I live in the Midlands now, but have been back in Manchester a couple of times recently. I didn’t get chance to go into the park, but did walk past the entrance at the Quadrant and also caught a glimpse of it on Edge Lane. I don’t really remember enough to know if it’s changed much, but it seems smaller than I remember.

  13. Ian Johnson Says::

    I was born in Stretford, but now live in Rhyl, North Wales. But I am still proud to call myself a Stretfordian. I lived on Cromwell Road, alongside Longford Park for 21 years. I spent many a happy time in the Park. That is the one thing we miss in Rhyl, a big park to visit. I used to use the golf course in the Park at least twice a week, weather permitting of course. And me and my friends were forever playing football there.

    I moved to Rhyl in 1980, and sadly have not been back to Stretford since 1985, due to health problems that prevent me from travelling. If there is anyone in Stretford who would like an email pal in Rhyl, please write to me. My email address is ianisarhylfan86.gmail.com

    Thank you

  14. Barbara Frost Says::

    Longford Park is part of my history, as a child I enjoyed the swings, then a little later was part of the Pageant a, event I looked forward to each year - followed by the Fair which I save my pocket money for. I remember the brass band concerts and my first ‘grownup’ dance was in the hall and somewhere I have photograph of me in a long dress

    I was a member of Firswood LIbrary so was often in the area. When I was a teenager it was popular to meet for a kiss and cuddle in sitting arrea near to the cafe, but I had a problem as my Grandfather was park keeper!

    Now I am a Tourist Guide and as part of general tour of Trafford, finish in the Park and tell people how Sir Matt Busby used to give his post match pep talk to players in the cafe — players arrived on bikes!!

    Barbara Frost

  15. Marion Farr nee Slack Says::

    I was brought up in Chorlton, and most days during the school summer holidays, a friend and myself would go to Longford Park at about 8am to have the swings and roundabouts to ourselves for a time. We took sandwiches and a bottle of pop and spent most of the day in the park, looking at Pet’s corner and the fish in the brook. When the fair came, it was a magical time, especially when accompanied by my mother on the Saturday night, as she had her purse with her!! I now live in Cambridgeshire and unlikely to see Longford Park again as I’m housebound.

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