Building trainees at Bromley-by-Bow give Bob’s Park a makeover

Trainees ready to give Bob's Park a makeover

Trainees ready to give Bob's Park a makeover - Credit: Old Ford HA

Construction trainees are rolling up their sleeves to help spruce up a park once tended by ‘Bob the community builder.’

They are putting their backs into a month-long project to revamp Bromley Recreation Ground in London’s East End.

But ask for directions to the park and few people will knew where you mean.

Most folk in the district call it Bob’s Park—after the man who lovingly tended the green next to Bromley-by-Bow community centre for years until he died.

Bob Grenfell was a Poplar borough council park keeper back in the 1950s who kept things spick and span.

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But the grounds in St Leonard’s Street fell into neglect when he died in the Sixties and became overgrown and turned to virtual wasteland.

Now six unemployed young people who have recently completed a City & Guilds course in Old Ford Housing Association’s construction training programme are being given paid work experience for a month to bring the park back to life.

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“Robert Grenfell was an old fashioned park keeper who had a small hut,” explained the community centre’s fundraiser Jasmine Morris.

“He used to sit and make a cup of tea and took a lot of care over the park.

“Bob was considered the heart of the community he built up. There was a funeral procession and people lined the streets when he died, including pupils from Old Palace primary school nearby.

“People started calling it Bob’s Park after that, instead of Bromley Recreation Ground—and the name has stuck.”

The construction trainees are putting in raised flowerbeds, installing outdoor tables and seats, erecting a platform stage and renovating rotting park benches that had seen better days.

The £32,000 project is being paid for by both the housing association which runs the nearby St Steven’s Estate and the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund to bring Bob’s Park back to its former glory. Bob would be proud.

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