Bushy Park Visit 2014
updated on Thursday, December 11, 2014 04:36 PM
Courtesy of Anita (Hardy) Johnson 1960
Bushy Park Then and Now:
In September, I finally went back to Bushy Park. I love to travel and have been to Europe and all over the US many times, but for some reason, I had never made it back to Bushy Park since I graduated there in 1960. Now, it was time.
My husband, Phil, and I were in London for a couple of days before going on a two week visit to the rest of England and Scotland. We were staying only a block from Victoria Station in London, so we got train tickets to Teddington. After arriving at the Teddington station, it’s only about a 3 block walk to the main gate and into the park. This is the entrance most of us were familiar with. At the other end of the park is Hampton Court Palace. As most of you know by now, our dear old Bushy Park High School only existed from around 1952 to 1962.
During WWII, it was Eisenhower’s planning areas for SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force). As such, quite a few buildings were quickly put up for WWII. After the war, most of the buildings came down and the ones left were used as administrative buildings and our school along with the dorms. After 1962, all of the buildings and roads were demolished. Grass and trees were planted and the land has now reverted back to its original use – Palace grounds and park.
In the early 1500’s, Bushy Park was owned by Cardinal Wolsey. He enlarged the existing manor house into Hampton Court Palace. Henry VIII enjoyed visiting and hunting deer in the park area behind the palace. Wolsey was also Henry’s Lord Chancellor and had a great deal of power. In 1528, Cardinal Wolsey and the King had a series of rather unpleasant discussions about the King’s first marriage vs. the Catholic Church, after which, the Cardinal wisely gave his palace and land to Henry VIII as a gift -– to perhaps soothe the King’s temper and remain in favor. It didn’t work out too well for Wolsey, but the Palace and Bushy Park has remained with the monarchy ever since.
Except for a café and parking area, the grounds are now much as they were in those times. It is open to the public year round and has many well used walking paths.
I arrived at Bushy Park High School in 1958 as a junior. It was the 21st school I had attended. (My dad moved around a lot in the Air Force.) My recollections are as most. It was a fun time. We had an unusual school and many, including myself, lived in a dorm. Not only did we attend classes together, but we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner with each other. We studied hard (those darn good teachers were so demanding!), but we all came away as friends for life.
Here’s some photos of the school grounds--- then and now.
Bushy Park of Yesteryear
Bushy Park circa 1952 to 1962
(Our thanks to J. Mercer, class of ’66, for the old photos and sketch above.)
More info at www.bushypark.org, www.Londoncentral.org , www.royalparks.org.uk
Bushy Park High School and Dorm areas today.
The area is now enjoyed by the Red deer.
This is the plaque memorial.
In the open area behind me is where the school was located.
Here’s the text colorized on the plaque that remains in the area of the school.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and hope others will visit too – even if it’s only by using Google Earth via the internet.
It’s a bit sad that the school is gone now, but our great memories will last a long time.
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