Kingswinford Alterantive Guide
Kingswinford Ralphs Surf Shack

Kingswinford Park Shelter


About Kingswinford Park

Known officially as King George VI Park, this recreational area was opened in 1952 around lake and stream that flowed from behind St. Mary's Church. Originally featured ornamental gardens and a bandstand by for some reason (foundations visible just under grass in dry summers). Was heavily redeveloped in 1975/6, turning pool into balancing lake to stop Dawley Brookers drowning (see the Quarry). This saw new pathways, pale blue railings, tons of concrete, an island for the ducks and a playpark.

Home, of course, to Ralph the Parky, Ralph's Surf Shack and Ralph's Hut (the concrete affair by the bowling green that contained his mower and porn mags).

The Pool

Once clean enough to swim in, the modern pool slowly deteriorated into a stinking cock-hole in mid-eighties. Frequent oily discharges from the Tunnels, especially the one from Ham Lane, filled lake with diesel, abattoir blood, paint and polystyrene packing bits. Token wooden barrier failed to stem flow of effluent and the swans suffered, even when foam-booms were added.

Flooded frequently (as designed), much to the delight of local kids who'd ride bikes through the shallows by chain link fence and wallL. Briefly stocked with goldfish only to be emptied in hours by local anglers armed with professional gear. Often frozen in winter for after school ice treks. Drained and dredged in 1990 after stench of strange shitty algae became too much in the summer. Complex metal gantry and substantial oil barrier helped stop pollution, along with odd aeration machines marked by plastic tubes protruding, periscope-like, from water's surface.

The Wall

Small red brick retaining wall with short, pointless flight of steps that serves only as makeshift seat overlooking pool.
Supports BMX ramp most summers.

The Tunnels

Two large storm pipes by the Blanford Mere side of the park house the old Dawley Brook and a fishy dribble from somewhere near Ham Lane.

The left hand Ham Lane tunnel leads 40m up to a smaller pipe. The right hand tunnel takes you to an opening on the
Pensnett Trading Estate, via a spur to the Quarry.

A smaller tunnel leads from by the church path to near the bowling green. Prepare to get knees wet negotiating large
step and manhole shaft. Impossible to turn around in.

The Private Pool

Swampy fishing pool truncated from park proper by wooden fence and menacing 'PRIVATE' signs. Ramshackle wooden jetty offered deep-water angling and thicker ice in winter.

The Shelter

Known affectionately as The Nellie House, on account of the fact it smelt like the elephant house at Dudley Zoo. Used exclusively to piss, shag or dump chip papers in. Interior was painted black twice yearly by Ralph to cover up poorly spelt graffiti.

Demolished in the nineties to much dismay.

The 'Little' Woods

Area of coal spoil and hawthorn bushes sandwiched between park and Blanford Mere. Featured BMX track, complete with loops and burm, for many years. Refuge for underage smokers, snoggers and egg-collectors. Enjoyed reasonable notoriety
as 'Bell City' in '88/'89? Hang-out place for large section of Kingswinford's pot-smoking youth. Site of 'The Black Hill',
the steepest and most intimidating of the park's banks to ride your bike down.

The 'Big' Woods

More popular tree-lined area by the bowling green and shelter. Inviting Portland stone steps lead to bugger all. Popular smoking/sniffing/heavy petting area with strange undulating mounds. Once sustained no more than two rope swings. One over the pool at the far northwest corner and another, more hair-raising affair by 'The Red Hill'. Good place to explode aerosol cans.

The Tennis Courts

Underused and under-maintained tarmac square behind the shelter. Popular during the Wimbledon fortnight and that's about it. Half-hearted attempt by Dudley council to police usage with ugly, fat Welsh sports coach in '87 led to nothing. Now derelict in favour of 'Midlands Urban Forest', some weedy saplings and a few bits of bark.

Things you could do down the Park

  • Feed the ducks
  • Have a mini-rocket fight with Wall Heath
  • Try to walk the oily barrier by the pipes for a dare
  • Catch grass snakes
  • Carve your name in the benches
  • Set fire to the bins
  • Climb on the shelter using the diagonally spaced bricks on the far corners
  • Run amok on the bowling green
  • Fish for sticklebacks
  • Get approached by Phil the Fairground
  • Play cricket
  • Set bangers off in the toilets/tunnels/bins/dog shit/bottles/cans/pipes
  • Laugh at the cock bollards by the bowling green
  • Watch the police pull Mad Tony out of the mud on a Friday afternoon in the summer
  • Climb the Elvis tree
  • Ride your BMX along the low concrete wall by the Private Pool
  • Slide in dog shit on Poo Triangle

Not to be confused with: Top Park, Wall Heath; Bottom Park, Wall Heath; Himley Hall; The Common.

Click here for the Park Gallery.

Kingswinford Park, Blanford Mere & Charterfields PhotosKingswinford Park, Blanford Mere & Charterfields Photos Kingswinford Park, Blanford Mere & Charterfields Photos Kingswinford Park, Blanford Mere & Charterfields Photos Kingswinford Park, Blanford Mere & Charterfields Photos
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