The Band Stand

Having completed negotiations to obtain the land a start was made and after an enormous effort by voluntary labour, working up to their necks in clay to seal the bottom of the hole it was considered ready for water. Obviously many snags cropped up as the work proceeded, one was how to fill the area and keep the water at a sufficiently high level. Large pipes were laid to some low lying fields east of the railway line where surface water could be drained into and channelled into the vast hole. This was not a success and then a locally made "Mill Pump" was tried, but again without success. A steam pump was next installed to pump water from a spring situated at the north end. This was reasonably successful, but the cost of working it was very high and it was therefore abandoned.

Mr. Short then went to look at a pump exhibited at the Royal Show at Cambridge and he was most impressed with it. Being wind operated the cost was negligible, so he purchased it and it gave many years satisfactory service.

The whole area became known as "Loch Neaton" and was run by a committee of townsmen. In March 1906 they received a most generous offer from Messrs Durrant and Short that in consideration of £ 200 being paid, the Loch would be conveyed to trustees on behalf of the town for all time, as a recreation ground. The offer was to close on Monday, 26th March 1906.

Opening of the Band Stand, presented by Miss Elsie Buscall to Loch Neaton 5.7.1906

As secretary of the Loch committee, Mr. Thomas Adcock started to raise the money on Friday 23rd and by Saturday evening had collected over £ 250 in donations from most of the leading townsmen. Later that year Miss Buscall gave a most attractive Band Stand which was erected at the north-west corner of the Bowling Green and from then on Band Concerts provided a popular form of entertainment at this delightful setting for many years.

In the early days of its creation a strip of land beyond the band stand was set aside for playing quoits and some years later an additional piece of the adjoining farmland was acquired and four grass tennis courts were laid out and a rustic pavilion erected in one corner for the use of the players. A large pavilion was also erected in front of the bowling green and three changing apartments were constructed for swimmers. The one at the far end of the water was for men, a double one in the cen­ tre for ladies and girls and the one nearest the entrance for the use of boys. The depth of water was about two feet at the shallow end and rising to about eight feet at the deep end, where both high and long diving boards were installed.

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