Castle Vale Park
Castle Vale Park was formed from 1.75 acres of land given to Berwick Corporation by Mr John Cairns of Tweed House in June 1928. The development of the park cost some £1800 and was financed by a grant from the new Government Unemployment Grants Committee and a bequest from one Charles Little.
In 1929, the corporation considered seeking the advice of an official from Scarborough Corporation, “who had wide experience of laying out similar spaces”. It was however, resolved to ask Mr Cairns if his gardener could do the job instead. Much planting and hedging was carried out in the summer of 1931. Work may well have been ongoing and in 1934, railings and a gate at Railway Street entrance were added. It was also noted in the Corporation minutes that Castle Vale had changed its name to Castle Dene, “but cannot find out why or when”.
Above: An early view of Castle Vale House from Tweedmouth showing an undeveloped hillside.
Left: Robert Hepplewhite Robinson, aka “Kelsae Bob”, poses with his trusty lawnmower.
(Photo courtesy Karen Short)
Other additions were made in subsequent years such as a sundial (1938) and in 1944 tenders were sought for the provision of a bird bath at the Lily Ponds. Due to restrictions on buildings materials, no firms were willing to quote!
A letter to the Berwick Journal in 1931 comments:
“Some time has passed since Castle Vale Park was opened to the public and I should have thought that the Corporation would have now decided upon a special opening ceremony. I understood some time ago that there was to be an official ceremony. The park is now one of Berwick’s beauty spots and it has been greatly admired by visitors. I must say that it is particularly well kept and it is a credit to the workmen who have been engaged upon it.”
Above: A view of the Royal Border Bridge showing what is now the viewing area in the bottom left.
Above: A postcard watercolour view of Castle Vale Park.
Left: Casle Vale Park seen from John Cairns’ garden. He used to sit outside on this terrace overlooking the park and would blow a whistle if he saw young boys misbehaving!