Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

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Sports and Recreation


Historically recreation was not something that figured in the daily lives of the majority of the population. Life was an unremitting round of work and striving to bring up a family or cling to existence. It was not until well into the 20th century that leisure time was available and affordable.

The traditional country pastimes like rabbitting had been practised by all, whether legally or illegally and many still continue to this day.

The Provision of Sports Facilities

Rural Communities suffer to a considerable degree from lack of recreational ameneties. In the Boroughs and Urban Districts the Council had a clear responsibility to provide parks and recreation grounds and there were usually plenty of benefactors to donate land for such purposes.

However where a Rural District Council operated there was no such remit. Responsibility was ill-defined as between District and Parish Councils and because of the size of area covered, a facility provided by the District in one parish was unlikely to be of benefit to residents of another. Thus the Rural District Councils rarely bothered with such matters.

Parish Councils on the other hand had very little money at their disposal and were rarely able to do more than provide or acquire a plot of land for a village hall, or if they were fortunate, administer a village green. What happened in many cases was that a local landowner would make a field available from time to time but they were always careful to retain ownership and control.

It was not until the 1974 Local Government Act and the resultant re-organisation of local councils that responsibility was more clearly defined. Both Districts and Parishes were given the neccessary powers but by then the price of land had soared astronomically and it was quite beyond the resources of either Council to acquire large amounts of land.

Purley's Sports Facilities

Purley's ancient village green which was located roughly where Thames Reach and Chiltern View now are; had disappeared when the Storers emparked all their land to the east of Mapledurham Drive around 1800.

The field where now the River Estate is located was used as a recreation area for many years. There was considerable ill-feeling generated when this land was sold for camping plots and villagers were denied access.

The field at the rear of Hedgerows on Long Lane Lane had also been used regularly since that time, the first recorded use being for the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1935. But now it has been built on.

Purley's first major recreational area was at Goosecroft The Parish Council later acquired the site of the bowling green and a second recreation ground at Bucknell's Meadow - see below and click on the links

Another area of land which became available was the site of the Memorial Hall. This was originally part of John Purvey and Sons' contractors yard and was acquired by the Trust in 1948. This has been used occasionally for recreation, especially by the children of the Play Group, but the Hall Committee has been averse to the playing of ball games.

Smaller parcels of land have ben set aside for recreation but not for organised sports. Several estates have had areas set aside as amenity areas (eg Farm Close and Goodliffe Gardens) but with the three Council developments at Bourne Road, Lister Close and Thames Reach small recreation areas were provided.

There have been several private recreational areas. Purley Park Trust had a field which they used for many years. It had been reserved as a school site but this now forms Duncan Gardens. They used other parts of the extensive grounds of the Trust but now this is all part of the grounds of Purley Magna.

Fetes and Sports Days had been held at Purley Hall from time to time and at the turn of the century they had a field used by the Purley Tennis Club.

The Aldins used to allow people from Purley to use their tennis court and other facilities at Belleisle in the 1920s and early 1930s when Cecil was MFH of the South Berks Hunt.

Trenthams had a recreation ground in their site, adjacent to Long Lane School. There was a football pitch and it was used for various other recreational purposes. However Planning Permission for redevelopment wasn granted on appeal and this is now Sherwwod Rise and Sherwood Place.

Long Lane School has a nice recreation ground of around four acres which is well used and Denefield School on the border of Purley has about thirty acres. They too have suffered many of the problems experienced at the Beech Road Recreation Ground, especially the prevalence of flints.

Purley Parish Council Provision

The Parish Council own three sports facilities including the Bowling Green.

Trenthams Bowling Club

Bucknells Meadow Recreation Ground

Goosecroft Recreation Ground

Sports Clubs

Many different sports have flourished in Purley. Most have been organised around a club but over the years many of the clubs have either moved away or merged.




Football (Purley FC)

Football (Purley Jubilee FC)

Football (Juniors)

Tennis (main article)

A decade of tennis Article by John Dutton on the first ten years of Purley Tennis club

Other Sports

The South Berks Hunt

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