Search for the Old Roads of
Historian Fred Hughes writes....
It’s difficult to tell from a distance of 82 years in this palely-lit room currently occupied by members of Northwood Park Senior Citizens’ Club. But I’m sure the man seated at the centre of a 1926 photograph of the bowling club is the famous potter’s union leader and Hanley Member of Parliament Sam Clowes.
“You may be right,” says John, “It certainly looks like him.”
Sam Clowes is a face from the past – legendary in his time but forgotten by time’s passage.
“We have quite a gallery of old photographs on the wall,” says John who
has lived in Northwood for 70 years. “It’s part of the park’s heritage.”
He points to a picture of Stanley Matthews bowling with a late club member
Frank Manley. “Some time ago we had a break-in and they were stolen. But a
public appeal resulted in them being returned and dumped on the veranda.”
The centenary of the original opening was celebrated last year. Club member Brenda Bowden recalls it.
“It was a fantastic day,” she says. “The park was done up really well and you can see the results with the playground and the mural and of course the return of the statue.”
The sculpture of the Roman goddess Temperantia stood for many years in the centre of Hanley alongside a drinking fountain donated by pottery manufacturer William Brownfield when he was mayor in 1859. Northwood resident and former local councillor Paul Breeze campaigned for it to be re-sited in Northwood Park.
“It was housed here in the late 1920’s when it was taken from Hanley during road improvements,” says Paul. “Then in 1974 it went back to Hanley. More recently it was put into storage until we campaigned for it to have a permanent place in the park. And here she stands in all her glory looking over the park’s lush greenery across to the Trent Valley.”
There’s something for all ages in Northwood Park. A kick-about area for budding footballers; a well-equipped infant’s play area and pleasant woodland nature walks. It also has one of the best, though smallest, bowling greens in the district.
“Our teams have really done well this season,” says John who also chairman of the bowls club. “We had two circular greens, one that stood on the old pond, which has now become a picnic area. And we have the round one that most visitors find tricky to play. We have three teams in leagues in which we came 4th and 2nd placed. The only problem these days is getting young people involved. The older ones can’t last forever.”
The clubhouse though sparsely furnished, is an ideal meeting place for indoor games.
“There’s a first-rate group of local people that come every day,” says spritely 80 year-old Eric MacKenzie. “We play cards but mainly we like a game of dominoes.”
Gradually the room fills up. Retired parks supervisor Mick Leonard takes his jacket off to claim his place alongside pensioner Ken Blood and Brenda; others begin to arrive as the morning warms to noon.
“Do you know,” says John looking again at the gallery of pictures. “I think you’re right. That is Sam Clowes in the middle there.”
click the "contents" button to get back to the main index
next: The Potteries Loop Line
previous: Fenton Park