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FLEET POND LOCAL NATURE RESERVE. The early days of Fleet Pond. Part 2 Post World War II . A further selection of old photographs. These include mid-20 th Century ones, prior to the formation of Fleet Pond Society in 1976.

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fleet pond local nature reserve

FLEET POND LOCAL NATURE RESERVE

The early days of Fleet Pond. Part 2 Post World War II.

A further selection of old photographs. These include mid-20th Century ones, prior to the formation of Fleet Pond Society in 1976.

Many of the photographs in Part 2 are from the large collection of slides and prints kindly donated by Kay Woodward.

Fleet Pond Society is grateful to Kay for permission to use these fascinating records of post-war changes.

Added for your further amusement and enlightenment may be a cartoon or two.

just how big is fleet pond and has it shrunk over the years
Just how big is Fleet Pond and has it shrunk over the years?
  • You will recall from Part 1 of the history project that maps of 1909 indicated the area of open water was as much as 224.3 acres. As the nature reserve as a whole is just 141 acres, this appeared to be a bit excessive for the 1900s. It may well have been the size at the turn of the 19th century.
  • In the file of old documents there is a report dated 2nd. February 1976 from Ordnance Survey, which gives a table of the area in acres of Fleet Pond, The Flash (now filled in and site of the Waterfront Business Park) and the “North Pond” (what local people call the small or club pond).
  • The table gives figures which show that the 224.3 acres is indeed an large over-assessment.
  • The reduction in 1969 was due to the lowering of the outflow weir by 13 inches / 33 cms. Work which was designed to permit the infilling of The Flash and the construction of the industrial park by Fleet station, although the reason given at the time was “reduction of flood risk”.
  • 70.52 acres is 28.54 hectares. By the time that Fleet Pond was renotified as a SSSI in 1984, the area had reduced further to 52 acres / 21 hectares; the area of open water we have today.
slide4

In 1953 a local resident built a makeshift jetty from scaffolding poles and railway sleepers at Chestnut Grove. This was still the Chestnut Grove jetty in the 1976 as the following pictures show.

slide9

Skating and ice hockey was not reserved for the Victorian era. This picture and the following few are from Kay Woodward’s slide collection. The colour has deteriorated over the years since 1962 when these were taken.

slide10

1962.A homemade sailboat on the frozen Pond. The makeshift scaffold pole and railway sleeper jetty at Chestnut Grove can be seen on the left.

slide11

1962This view from Chestnut Grove shows one of the floating reed islands which now forms the second of the two alder islands off Chestnut grove jetty.

1962 the ice has thawed but the reeds and trees are not yet green late winter from chestnut grove
1962The ice has thawed but the reeds and trees are not yet green. Late winter from Chestnut Grove.
slide13

Kay also specialised in quality black & white print photography and had a studio in Branksomewood Road. An early 1960s photo of swans at Chestnut Grove.

slide14

The reeds were planted in Fleet Pond by the army when the pond was refilled after the war. By the 1960s, when this postcard was printed, reeds had colonised much of the water edge and had formed floating islands.

slide15
A 1960s view of Fir Tree Island, possibly taken from a boat as the angle is not quite right for a Sandy Bay view.
slide16

The vigorous nature of reedbed growth from the 1960s to 1970s had led to some demands for control. The 1980s, however, saw dramatic changes and reedbeds died off and retreated over much of the Pond. Today we are obliged to defend the reedbeds from grazing by Canada Geese.

slide20

Anglers residing in the Pondtail area of Fleet tended to prefer to launch boats from a gap in the trees just north of Kenilworth Road access point. This view dated 1968, taken by David Goddard, looks out to Brookly Reedbed form this launch point.

slide21
Another view by David Goddard from the Kenilworth Road launch point dated January 1969 shows one of the floating reedbeds.
slide23
David also took this photograph of Sandy Bay of the Gelvert Stream feeding into a frozen pond. February 1970.
slide24

And so we come to the 1970s and the end of the early days pictures. In January 1973 Fleet Urban District Council bought Fleet Pond from the MoD for ₤10,000.