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Get your skates on


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Many years ago when the local lakes froze to about five inches thick everybody got onto the ice, at that time Dulwich Park Lake used to have 12 Rowing boats that could take two in them one rowing and the other in the rear seat, then as the winter became too cold for the boats to be hired by the hour, they were taken out of the water and taken to store at the Keepers and Groundsmen's area near the Art Gallery Gate. There was no wooden walkway over the lake at that time so the whole lake was available.

The Keepers had no say in the mater of keeping anybody off the ice, as they were outnumbered by hundreds of people skating with ice skates, kids sliding and Toboggans being pulled along on the ice, the island could be explored, not very large but a secure place for the ducks when nobody could get to it.

The Peckham Rye Open Air Swimming Pool that was a the Kings Arms crossroads, this has long since been demolished and grassed over, behind that in line with Whorlton Road was a large Oval Stone Pond that was used a lot by those who had built model sailing ships or steam tugs, dads would start the model from one side and the child would go to the other side to turn it back, on a windy day many of the sailing boats tipped over and would not turn upright due to the weight of the wet sails, so dad would have to take off his shoes and socks and go out and bring it back, dogs used to use the pond and would go in and drag out a sailing boat much to the anger of the owner.

When this Pond froze over it was so crowded that nobody could skate.

There was another pond on the Rye that was near the three way junction of Strakers Road, not so popular as the trees overhung it and it had many leaves in it, if that froze we did not like to venture on that one but a lot of people did, I think that we decided not to go on it as if we did fall through we would be about a mile from home and would get very cold walking home. That pond has now been filled in and grassed over and is a flower bed, but you can still see the Oval outline.

None of these Lake or Ponds were more than eighteen inches deep.

What a shame that it is no longer possible to use these, think of all those children who will never experience that.

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