Friday, 17 August 2012

Waller's Wall

This large red brick wall that is situated on the outskirts of town is all that remains of one of the many market 
gardens that were found in and around the district. Once owned by a couple called Waller it was eventually sold off and built 
on by a local housing association. 

Approximate location of Waller's house

As youngsters my friends and I would run wild through the disused gardens and derelict house that stood in the 
middle of the land, in - what seemed at the time - to be a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the imagined 
spectre of  'Waller' the garden‘s owner.

Wall interior.

Wall interior 

Wall exterior facing onto the Council Estate

It wasn’t until recently when I decided to explore the area surrounding the wall that I found out about it's secret history. Talking to a local resident of forty years I was told that a couple called Waller (I always thought the name had been a our own childhood design - ‘lets play in Waller’s wall’ was our call to arms), had run the market garden for the large, private estate in the vicinity called Lady Harrowings, (as a point of interest  it appears that there never was a Lady Harrowing and the name was just a product  of the local population’s caustic sense of humour). The couple had lived in the house within the garden walls evidently without gas, electric or running water and I was told that the old lady would have to leave the seclusion of the garden to visit a friend in a near by council house to bathe.

In the above picture you can see what was the entrance to the garden as used by the couple,
blocked up for over twenty years the footpath amazingly is still evident - in fact it had just been
re-seeded that very morning, as it had on a number of occasions with no apparent effect.

View from the council estate looking into Dundas Gardens

After the estate was eventually sold the garden became ever more neglected by the elderly couple and following
the death of his wife the husband (who lived into his nineties) was forced to leave the house and garden through an
extortionate rent increase by the local council.

Having freed up the land the council went on to sell it for a considerable profit to a housing association, who then
built a small housing estate Dundas Gardens on it in the early 1990’s.

Google map image of existing wall and housing estate