Author Topic: balsall heath adventure playground  (Read 11019 times)

thegypsypoet

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balsall heath adventure playground
« on: May 14, 2010, 07:26:30 PM »
Hi,im new here,i lived in Balsall heath in late sixties early seventies.Managed adventure playground hertford rd.Lived in clifton road near the pub.Anyone remember me
.I have a website http://www.thegypsypoet.co.uk

Phil

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 07:54:01 PM »
Hi Gypsypoet
 
Welcome to the forum, although I passed by the adventure playground many times I'm afraid at that time I had no children and I was a little old myself for such things so you will understand that it held little interest for myself.
 
You say you lived near the Crown, but the thing is did you use it? If you used the smoke room then there is the possibility that I knew you. As I used it myself occasionally.
 
Phil
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thegypsypoet

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 08:41:29 AM »
Thanks Phil,no i never used the pub myself.Though i knew most who frequented it as i used to scrounge pop n crisps from the landlord  for our playground events.Alan warren used it a lot as did lots of other  kids parents Henrys etc.The group UB40 had their roots there too.If you got time you could read my account of the peoples etc who i knew well when i managed the playground n ran lots of clubs in the schools,church halls etc.Its on my website at http://www.thegypsypoet.co.uk under the section What an extraordinary adventure earlier chapter on Balsall heath.I had long hair those days compared to the kids who were mainly skinheads lol.The people there were so friendly.I live in bournemouth now.Take care,Ray

roy one

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 09:53:13 AM »
hi gypsy
             welcome to the forum
 
 
in my day round about the late 40s 50s we had all the playgrounds in the world to play in and on a bomb out house could be any thing your mind could think of then we had the parks around the heath  gas lamps to make a swings our gang about 20 of us come rain or shine we was out and about we did not need to have things done for us we did things for our selves a park swing was a swing but a bit of rope on a lamppost could be any thing you liked
 
 so i think that kids today do not know how to play unless its on a computer
 
we had a bat made out of a bit of wood and a ball and we made our own game up sort of cricket we evern let the the girls play when we went in to a bomb out house to play or it was to wet out side we would lite a fire and just sit round bake a few spuds if we had any
 
we used our minds
 
 
 
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes

thegypsypoet

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 12:03:43 PM »
Hi Roy,
yeh your right,i totally agree,thats what attracted me to the idea of adventure playgrounds in the first place.
As youl see from my chapter on my own Childhood days in the section of my website. http://www.thegypsypoet.co.uk
Kids were losing these natural play places to car parking and developments.Hence the growth of playgrounds as a childs right.The balsall heath playground was on a wasteland bombed site where the kids built their own play structures runways and dens,all ages of kids joined in from 2 to 20 yrs.I was there to encourage their natural play inventiveness,a lot of my work was of a detatched nature with street kids throughout Balsall heath at the time.I got to know hundreds of kids,too.I still have contact with the Donnellys.
Take care,
Ray
 

lolly

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 12:52:44 PM »
hi not sure its the same playground, but for some reason they thought we were under privileged kids in the mid 60s so they set up a big playground for us in the summer months on balsall heath rd opposite wenman st . it was fantastic i remember its only a vague memory but it was brilliant.
just to say we were anything but under privileged what brilliant times we had as kids i lived in wenman st from 1954 to 1970 and every day was an adventure with all the bomb buildings etc and the freedom just to go out and come home when you liked we were not poor and we didn't live in a slum our house was a 2 bedroom house with a massive attic . did anyone else live in wenman st at these time . i remember the kellys sparrows ganleys roulstons and the crawfords i lived opposite the gas board
happy days

thegypsypoet

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 07:42:26 AM »
Hi,dont know any of these roads or places that you mention well,this was in old balsall heath,where rats aet babies n there were prostitutes in edward road,I worked there with Margaret Selby from the church council,we ran a free school there in 1970.The seeneys lived there n were broken up by social services when their mum died,caused quite a storm at the time and a little girl was taken to london by the daily express n was on national campaign.I visited with Shelter leader n they did a national campaign with photos books etc on the conditions which had obviously deteriorated a great deal. There were a lot of student bodies working there in the sixties UN IVS BIRMINGHAN UNI etc,They had some short lived improptu adventure schemes there in the 60s.Many kids from there crossed moseley rd to use our  the malvern rd adventure playground.Do remember the kellys though.

Phil

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 10:05:12 AM »
Hi Gypsypoet
 
A lot of rubbish was written about Balsall Heath, those of us who born there and grew up there knew a different Balsall Heath.
 
I knew some of the Seeneys personally (itself nothing to brag about), and a lot of romanticised rubbish was written about them. Those of them who knew them knew a different story.
 
Its the same all over, charity and social workers know very little of the truth of the places they work. They see a few cases of deprivation and hardship and think it is universal. Yes there were cases of poverty in Balsall Heath but these were more social cases than financial cases of poverty.
 
As "lolly" says there was nothing wrong with Balsall Heath in the 60's that wasn't a problem elsewhere at the time. But Manzoni and his crew used the the words "prostitution" and "drugs" to let him get away with acts of wanton vandalism and tear the heart out of Balsall Heath.
 
Some marvellous houses were lost along with the back to backs (not that there were that many back to backs). All they did was to move the problem elsewhere.
 
Whenever I read about Balsall Heath now I read nothing of it's good times and proud history only about the bad times. You only hear of the so called wonders that have been achieved since all the social workers got involved and very little of what it was like and its good points before that.
 
Phil
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roy one

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 03:25:21 PM »
phil its true
                    a lot has been said about the heath and a lot that said it did not live there w  e had hard times but at the time we did not know any better so it was ok for us kids we made our own fun but what folk do not say is that us kids had freedom we could build dens make things and play games the heath had heart you was part of you belonged  would i Chang my childhood never it gave me the life skill's needed to to make a life for my kids and to give them better  we did not need playgrounds we had all b/heath to play in
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes

tramp

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 05:52:47 PM »
Hi Gypsypoet,

First, Welcome to BF.  As many have said, much inaccurate grab age was written about BH where I come from.

Roy's last post encapsulates the essence - it wasn't hell, but it was a hell of a good place to be a child - most that have posted so far didn't have it easy, but as Roy intimated - it gave us some bloody backbone - more than you get from an XBox or 1,000 pocket money a year.

tramp

lolly

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Re: balsall heath adventure playground
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 05:55:25 PM »
Well i lived in balsall heath from birth to 17, i went to tindal st school , Miss Bunston was head mistress, we walked to school on our own and came home on our own, you couldnt let a 6 year old do that now.
i can only say it was a wonderful place to grow up,the birmingham mail came and did a feature on us as they started pulling down Pearson St, i  still have the pictures now
it did  start to deteriorate as i started to get older they moved poorer familys into the big houses, but a brilliant childhood.
my friend lived in a back to back in vincent st i think?
unfortunately our house was sold compulsory purchase i think thats the term to make way for new properties mom got 600 pounds!!!!!!!
she then made a huge mistake and had a council property in Varden croft of all places (the old varna rd} now that was full of prostitutes


lolly