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Historic play equipment makes nostalgic return to Leamington park

Anthony Coulls in Victoria Park at the wheel of the road roller he restored with his father Peter.

Anthony Coulls in Victoria Park at the wheel of the road roller he restored with his father Peter.

A trip down memory lane was taken for those who made it to Victoria Park in Leamington on Saturday to see an old piece of historic play equipment returned to its former home.

It may seem bizarre to the children of 2014, but during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, a Second World War military road roller stood in the play area of the park for youngsters to climb and play on.

Among those with fond memories of his five to seven-year-old self clambering on to the road roller - which was owned by Warwick District Council - is Anthony Coulls, who grew up Leamington but has since moved to County Durham.

He said: “Throughout the 1960s and 70s, all sorts of things ended up in playgrounds. There was also a steam railway and railway engine in Victoria Park and another railway engine in Newbold Comyn. Kids liked to pretend to be a train driver.

“Nowadays, children like to play computer games, but at that time, they liked to climb on things.”

Mr Coulls, a curator at the National Railway Museum in York who says he has “always been into old things”, asked the council, when it was decided that the roller would be removed from the park in 1996, if he could acquire it - and the council gave it to him for a nominal fee.

His friend Trevor Daw has spent the past five years restoring it to its original condition - and on Saturday Mr Coulls, a former pupil at Warwick School, travelled down to take it to the school’s 1,100th anniversary festival. So he thought it would be a good opportunity to take it back to Victoria Park for the morning as well.

He said: “It was nice for people who used to play on it or take their children to play on it came to see it there again.”

Mr Coulls now plans to take the road roller up to the Beamish Museum of living history in County Durham.

 

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