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Culture: William Clarke Park (the Patch)

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park history

Nobby Clarke

The William Clarke Park is one of the city's newest parks. The site of the park - long and narrow, as it is - was formerly a railway cutting of the long-defunct Kemp Town Railway, which branched off the Lewes line and terminated in Kemp Town at what is now the Freshfield Industrial Estate.

The line ran on a viaduct over the Lewes Road, curved round across Melbourne Street, across Hartington Road (where St. Martins School is today) and into the cutting before entering the 964-yard Kemp Town Tunnel at Elm Grove School. The viaduct was demolished in stages in the 1970s and early 80s. Landfill was used to fill in the cutting and to create the park.

The park was named after one of the local councillors for the Nobby Clarkearea, William Clarke. Nobby - as he was known to all - was a stalwart of the local Labour Party. He was a former railway worker and activist in the NUR, the National Union of Railwaymen. He was for many years the local party's full-time election agent, and was always to be found in the party's offices in 179 Lewes Road, struggling to hold the party together as ideological factions threatened to pull it apart. He was a local councillor for many years and also served as mayor of Brighton in 1975.

Local Schools

As well as having a playground for young children, the Patch is an important facility for the three local primary schools Elm Grove, Fairlight and St Martins

Below are some more photos of the event.

click on the thumbnails for larger versions
at the information stall egg rolling challenge a good crowd guess how many sweets in the jar

 


Wildlife: Garden Birds


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