square C5, the boating lake

The Model Yacht Pond, 1966



The boating lake used to be the Common's third reservoir (along with one on the site of the paddling pool, and another situated behind the Cowherds Inn) At an original depth of 15 feet, it came to be thought of as a hazard to children and adults alike. In 1919, after 2 deaths by drowning in 3 months, it was filled with rubble and materials from the dismantling of military buildings situated on the Common to a depth of 4 feet. It took at least 3000 tons of 'stuff'. At this time they also removed any fish living in the lake and transferred them to the Ornamental Lake.

Then, in 1955, the lake was drained for repairs. As well as finding rubble and waste, surprised workers also found a live Mills bomb, lying on the bottom.


The Lake is once again safe. At a probable depth of 3-4 feet there are unlikely to be drowning and you can retrieve your model boats much more easily. If there were any.

It seems as though the fashion for model boat sailing has gone and now you're more likely to see radio-controlled craft, and that's pretty rare (I hadn't seen any for years before my 'official' day out at the boating lake). It has been claimed by seagulls, ducks, weed and the occasional dog but it still remains a favourite place to walk around and stare into. The man who feeds birds likes to walk around it a few times on his daily walk.


Historical story from the Southern Daily Echo, Wednesday March 2, 1966
Image from the Southern Daily Echo, Saturday December 31, 1966



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