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.
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.
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.
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.