Palmers Green Tales and reminiscences of Mike Barnard

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Mike Boardman
Mike lived in and around Palmers Green for over 60 years, and after National Service in the Royal Signals with the Far East Land Forces in Singapore he became a journalist on a number of publications – including more than four years as editor of a newspaper for the metropolitan police.  He now lives in North Norfolk with his wife Lyn.

Broomfield Park was my playground and home -from-home from my earliest memories since I was born in 1935 at 28 Broomfield Lane, opposite the southernmost point of the park, as the youngest-but-one of six siblings.

In those days milk was delivered by horse and cart and the baker came round with a two wheeled covered barrow which he pulled between two shafts.  With few cars, our road was scarcely a hazard and the park was also regarded as safe, so even from an early age my younger brother Tim and I were allowed – and even encouraged – to spend a lot of our leisure time there.

The Running Track by JBB

Shortly after  Broomfield Park was purchased by Southgate Urban Council in 1903 several sports facilities were set up within the park.  There was a tennis court, a swimming lake, soccer pitches and a wonderful running track.  The running track and football pitches were ideally situated on the old gravel pit. In 1854, Mr Philip Powys, the then owner of Broomfield Estate had been granted permission to excavate the gravel and when Southgate Council took over the running of the park they grassed over the gravel pit and developed it as a sports area. In 1922, the Southgate and Frien Barnet Athletics Association, re started an annual sports day in the park and advertised it as being similar to those ” held before 1914″.  The borough also decided to employ men from the unemployment register to build the concrete steps down to the field.