Greenhead Park Head Gardener’s Diary (1925 to 1929)

The following diary is reproduced with the kind permission of the Estate of Charles Edward Turner.

The diary can also be downloaded as a PDF file (63MB).

Charles Edward Turner – Greenhead Park’s Head Gardener

Charles Edward Turner was born on 10th March 1875 in Huddersfield to Charles William Turner and Annie Elizabeth Turner, nee Wilkinson. He was one of 6 children.

On 20th April 1897, Charles Edward, then living in Birkby, Huddersfield married Minnie Mabbott in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire. He was 22 years old and employed as a gardener at Greenhead Park, having started working there at the age of 13 not very long after the park opened in 1884.

Charles and Minnie had 2 children, Harry and Doris. Harry married Dorothy Brook in Huddersfield and they had one son, Ronald, born in 1927. Doris remained a spinster all her life.

Ronald sadly lost his mother at a very early age and so spent much of his childhood being cared for by his paternal grandparents Charles Edward and Minnie at their home at 146 Eldon Road, Marsh.

Linda Helliwell, Ronald’s daughter, who has kindly permitted the Friends of Greenhead Park to reproduce her great grandfather’s chronicle of his work at Greenhead Park from 1925 to 1929, writes:

My father’s memories of his Grandad were that he was a very impressive looking person whose boots were always polished – by Grandma! – and wore white, winged starch collars and tie. He was a punctual person and the neighbours could set their watches by him going to work and returning home. At this time he was already Head Gardener at Greenhead Park.

My father remembers that Grandad ran a strict household and after evening meals everyone had to be quiet while he sat in his chair, read his paper and had forty winks. He would then light his pipe and go into the garden where he grew show Chrysanthemums and tomatoes in his greenhouse. He did have a Chrysanthemum named after him but unfortunately my father cannot remember when this was or the exact name.

Charles retired from his post as Head Gardener of Greenhead Park on 31st March 1940 at the age of 65 having spent all his working life at Greenhead Park looking after the grounds and his favourite flowers, the Chrysanthemums. His surviving diary, covering the period from August 1925 to May 1929, provides a detailed record of the weather conditions and the tasks undertaken by the gardeners in the park and surrounding area during those years.

Minnie died in June 1944 in Huddersfield at the age of 70 after 47 years of marriage. Charles lived on at 146 Eldon Road until his death on 1st November 1957 at 82 years of age.

From the Archives

FLORAL DESIGN IN CELEBRATION OF GREENHEAD PARK JUBILEE YEAR

Visitors to Greenhead Park should not fail to pause awhile near the circular fountain in the Italian Gardens and admire a beautiful herbaceous design of the Huddersfield Corporation Coat of Arms, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the park. The park was opened on September 27, 1884.

The design has been executed with dwarf carpet bedding plants, the principal colours of which are bronze and green. The bed lies on a sloping grass bank, and can be seen as soon as one enters the park by the Trinity Street gates.

Surrounding the Coat of Arms is a broad border of medium green camomile, which has also been used in the centre of the design. The general ground-work is of bronze oxalis, sprinkled with tiny yellow flowers. A plant which grows in the form of a small green rosette has been used to outline the design.

The lettering is in pyrethrum. At the top are the words: “Park Jubilee”; on either side of the Coat of Arms are the dates, 1884 and 1934; and below is the Corporation motto, “Juvat Impigros Deus.”

The work has been done by Mr. C. Turner, the head gardener, who has had charge of the different designs in this bed for the past ten years. On the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of the Borough, Mr. Turner executed a similar design.

Huddersfield Daily Examiner (15 August 1934)