Radipole park and gardens is probably one of the ‘newer’ recreational areas in Weymouth.
It was constructed between the two World Wars, at a time when when the country was suffering from economic depression and the accompanying high unemployment.
The government of the day had set out loans to those councils that wanted to avail themselves of them to complete public works at very favourable rates.
Weymouth grasped this opportunity with both hands and set to expanding it’s land.
A problem that had thwarted the town for centuries, because Weymouth, or Melcombe Regis of old, was basically built out on a sand spit.
Surrounded by the sea on one side…and the Backwater (or Backsea as it was known) on the other.
In the 1920’s a grand scheme got under way…a large tract of land was reclaimed from what was once Radipole Lake.
It starting with the building of the new Westham Bridge and its enclosing sluice gates acting as a dam.
Basically turning the once tidal backwater into a fresh water lake.
Then came the new Melcombe Regis Gardens along with their bowling green and tennis courts.
The last area to be created was Radipole Park and Gardens.
Even nowadays, sometimes after a period of heavy rain the playing fields don’t look too dissimilar to this photo taken in the 1930’s showing it under construction!
Fingers and toes firmly crossed, if we come through stage II of the Heritage Lottery Bid the flooded ground will be a thing of the past and a new wildlife-friendly bog garden making the most of the area.