Memories of Reffley
In the previous pages, the focus has been more on the encroachment of modern life onto the formerly isolated "resort of pleasure" Reffley Spring, leading to its eventual destruction. In this page, the focus is from the opposite viewpoint, to include Reffley residents memories of the transformation of the original Reffley farmland into the collection of Estates that we see today, and their experiences and old photographs of the site. ADC. e paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's ea
Image supplied by Michael Jordan- In 1966 the gap between this entrance was supposed to be the new Reffley Estate (Fenland Road)
Spencer Parsons: We moved at the end of 1970 but most of our street wasn’t even finished and the road was still sandy. That pic above that house on the left is on wootton Road and is still there with the outside wall with what looks like another house had been joined on. The one on the right was still there but looks like it has been rebuilt now.
Karrie Oxborough: The building at the back (centre behind sign) is just inside Fenland Road near where Lilacwood is now.
Early postcard image of the Reffley Spring site supplied by Amber Bruce-hoar
Astride the sphinxes in the 1930’s? Images supplied by Peter Sandy Sanders/Jane Wayman
It's easy.Front of the Temple when it was surrounded by well kept lawns. Image supplied by Bill Jolley
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Watercolour painting by David Cloudesley 1977.
David Cloudesley, when confirming that he was happy for his painting (above) to be reproduced, added:
As you can see, I painted the picture in 1977 after a few sketches and a photograph. I lived in Gresham Close at that time, so it was a short stroll across the field to the Temple. My children were quite young then and we often visited there for a picnic. The temple was intact then but sadly as the estate grew it was vandalised and destroyed.
I can remember when I was a child, my brother and I used to go there (to the Temple) with our parents, as we lived in Marsh Lane, where I was born. We used to drink the ice cold water running from the bottom of the obelisk.
We also used to visit my great aunt who was in service at a large house on the Grimston Road called Woodlands, this must have been about 1952. My brother and I would go to the back of the house through the walled garden and into the wood (Spring Wood) directly behind. In the centre of the wood was the remains of a cottage (which was possibly referred to locally in its time as the” Hansel and Gretel House”) which I understood was at one time used by the gamekeeper. This magnificent house (Woodlands) was demolished and the Woodlands Care Home was built on the site. The house was owned by the Davison family, and Edward Davison, my great aunt always referred to him as the master, was apparently one of the Reffley Bretheren. Adapted from David Cloudesley’s emails Dec 2014.
Gary Haigh Smith also visited Reffley, as a youngster, around this time:
My father’s uncle was a member of the Reffley Bretheren, possibly in the 1920’s but I know little more than that. As a kid, and before most of the (Reffley) estate was built, we sometimes walked from my home in Newlyn (Queensway area of Kings Lynn) to Reffley – it was a fair trail over to the Temple, so it was perhaps once or twice a year we would visit. I remember the Temple, at first being in good condition but later being boarded up against vandals. It was overgrown and a great secret place for kids to find. The two sphinx were still there and the inscribed obelisk over the spring which was bubbling still. The water always appeared rusty orange in the spring-having a high iron content, I guess. We would drink from it and I was fascinated by the place, being as I was, a studious kid! and interested in ancient Egypt. One of the last times we visited, (we moved house) the large punch bowl (two, fortunately have survived) lay broken in pieces outside (the Temple) and slates were starting to loosen and fall from the roof. We never found it open but obviously someone had broken in on that occasion. This would have been 1971-73……It’s a great shame it fell into this sad state, I do remember feeling a sense of sadness seeing it fall into disrepair and vandalised. Adapted from Gary Haigh Smith’s emails 26th & 28th October 2014.
Closeup of the sphinxes with the Obelisk to the rear. The site by this time is now overgrown. Image supplied by Neil Pols
Through the gate into the Spring enclosure, showing seating and temple to rear. Image supplied by Neil Pols