I came to work in Bracknell in 1974 as a Housing Assistant for the Bracknell Development Corporation. My first management 'patch' covered the "A's", "H's", "U's" and Ringwood in Great Hollands and my duties included a fortnightly rent collection service to OAP tenants. The rent man was the only human contact with the Corporation and I was often asked to help out with such things as changing light bulbs, posting letters, etc.
During the last snowfall, I was standing outside the Post Office and thought back to 1948, trudging through the snow that was falling on the park. In the RAF, I was home on leave for Christmas, having caught the train from Waterloo to Bracknell - the train fare in those days was six shillings return or 30p in today's money!! I was coming to visit my girl friend who then lived in the Army Nissen huts in The Avenue, near South Lodge. At this time there were a klot of these huts being used for temporary accommodation by Easthampstead Rural Council.
When Clark and Eaton decided to locate in Bracknell thirty-five years ago we decided to come with them. We were not in need of a house, but my husband suffered from claustrophobia on trains after being caught up in the chaos of the Lewisham train crash. Bracknell seemed the ideal situation as he was only happy travelling by bus. He was also a second generation employee at Clark and Eaton and fifty was the wrong age to start again.
It's hard to believe in January 2003, that back in 1953 the Nissen huts near South Lodge were still being used for accommodation and the housing complex that is Great Hollands did not exist. From the footbridge over the dual carriageway, which marks the line of the old road from Easthampstead Church to East Lodge, the bulk of Great Hollands lies within the boundaries of Easthampstead Park. What is now home to thousands of people was, barely fifty years ago, rolling parkland.