Queen's Wood Remembered

In 1982, Lisa Chivers, who had been born in 1908, wrote a delightful account of her childhood as the daughter of John Sparrow, 1869-1947, the Keeper of Queen's Wood. It paints a picture of a wood far more heavily used than today, with people living more closely within their own neighbourhoods, shopping and walking locally, instead of driving past.

The Lodge, combining the Keeper's house and a tea room with its open verandah, had cost £1,223 to build and the tea room was then a busy place. In daytime the wood was full of people, while at nightfall, with the wood fenced off all round, the sub-keepers dispersed, locking the different gates behind them as they went home. Then the Keepers' seven children had the wood to themselves for another night.

The Keeper and his family lived in the Lodge and the tea rooms were let out to contract. A picture shows her father armed with a rook rifle standing beside three assistant keepers, for there were four men on duty in the woods in those days. Mature, responsible men, the assistants in waistcoats with watch chains across their chests while the Keeper is in his official uniform of a stiff peaked cap and a raincoat. Another photograph shows the Keeper holding a dead rabbit and pointing upwards with a stick, while his assistant shoots at a squirrel. Grey squirrels had so increased that they were a nuisance, damaging the trees and taking bird's eggs. The Keeper's children lived in a splendid wood, their lives poor but idyllic.


The Keeper's Lodge and Tea Room in Queen's Wood

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Memories of a Keeper's Lodge, by Lisa Chivers, 1982,pub.Hornsey Historical Society

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