Memories of Bedfords Park

I can remember when  my Dad, John Morgan worked at Bedford’s Park in the 1960s.  We had come over from Cork City, Ireland, as there was little work there for him as a butcher, which was his trade.   He worked at Bedford’s for over twenty years as a gardener and deer keeper.  In the early days we lived in Romford and at the weekends I remember him having to get up in the early hours to go and feed the deers.  This would be in all weathers.   Sometimes he would walk from Romford to Bedford’s Park and home again when money was short.   In 1968 we moved to Collier Row which made it a lot easier for him.

You will see from the picture my Dad (on the right) with a friend just after feeding the deers.  Dad would tell us about the deers getting out and they would have to round them up, sometimes in the dark woods.  He used to tell us that you should never go into the deer pen with the stags when they were in heat, as they were very dangerous.  However there were the odd occasion when he had to go in quickly to retrieve something and on more than one occasion he had to make a dash for the fence and climb over it as the stag got sight of him.   He narrowly missed having the antlers up his backside by dropping the metal bucket on them.   Lucky he was a fit man.  

Like many people in the 1960s my Mum would wait for my Dad to come home on a Friday night so that she could go and get some shopping. I can remember seeing the brown wage packet with a clear window in it and coins and notes being taken out of it and divided up for the week.

Generally Friday night was eggs night, as they were cheap. To this day my sister detests eggs which I think stems from our Friday night egg night.  Me I love eggs, but that goes for nearly every food.  Must take after Dad!!!   These were hard days but with lots of love within the family.

Ellen Owen (nee Morgan)

Harold Wood

April 2012