March is generally the windiest month of the year but whatever the weather is doing, I hope you’ll still be “blown away” by the legacy Colonel North has left us!
Avery Hill Park is blessed with provision for many sports; our shortest lived being American Football which graced Greys (the Rugby) field at the end of the “naughties”.
Financed by Boris’ “Help a London Park” funding, the Boules pitch next to the children’s play area, now seems to be redundant but the MUGA gets its fair share of patronage. The Olympic Legacy gave Avery Hill and many other parks in Greenwich, outdoor fitness equipment. Have you spotted anyone using this free opportunity to keep fit?
In the 1890’s Colonel North realised the full potential for sport at Avery Hill. A good sprinter in his youth, North regularly challenged the Tower Hamlets Volunteers; on their annual camp at Avery Hill, to a 60 yard dash. He gave everyone a 5 yard start but would always win! (John Bennion Booth -1957) Booth also quotes that North was a keen football player; I’m not sure which team he supported but Colonel North, ever generous, sent a bank-note to a West Bromwich Albion player injured in the cup final played against Crystal Palace in 1896.
W.G. Grace benefited from North’s interest in Cricket. Having received a generous contribution to his testimonial; Grace dedicated his book “The History of a Hundred Centuries” 1895 “To Colonel John Thomas North, a thorough all-round sportsman, and the first subscriber to my national testimonial fund, I dedicate this book”. Quote from William Edmundson, “The Nitrate King”.
Colonel North also played golf, and together with his son Harry joined the Eltham Club, now known as the Royal Blackheath Golf Club, in 1892. He presented the club with The North Scratch Medal and a prize of £10. The original scratch medal was replaced with a gold Jubilee Medal of Queen Victoria, by North’s son. Go see it in the golf club museum!
Whatever the weather throws at us this month; find time to go and enjoy our park and perhaps stop for a welcome “cuppa” in the café.