Introduction to Upton Park & its history

The residents of Upton Park enjoy a community spirit rarely found in modern suburbia. As a private estate the need to raise funds to manage the road and its common areas does have a galvanising effect on this community spirit and leads to a sense of common ownership of the whole Park. With this and the various annual social events there is a strong feeling of belonging and of knowing ones neighbours. There is a good mix of ages and a young family new to the Park is likely to have immediate neighbours still enjoying a happy life in the Park after many decades.

How has the Park brought this about ?

While most expansion of housing during the 1850's was still ribbon development panning out along the roads leaving the town, this proposed development of 30 properties in a rural setting on the outskirts of the city was ahead of its time. Planned during a 'boom' period but then with slow initial growth in the ensuing slump; the first properties were more modest than the original plan and are believed to have been built very much as one off developments. Gradually the Upton area grew and the appeal of Upton Park caught on so that by the end of Victoria's reign - some 50 years later - most plots were developed and those still not taken for property development had become extended gardens and paddocks for residents. All this resulted in a good mix of properties and yet retaining the tranquil setting. A feature of the grand initial plan did survive - the tree lined avenue Park entrance.

Today Upton Park has swelled to some 65 households and is surrounded by suburbia of predominantly post - WW2 vintage. However on entering Upton Park via the Avenue one gets a sense of leaving suburbia, passing down a country lane and then alighting on a tranquil enclave of housing nestled behind characteristic holly hedges and established trees. Add to this the interesting architecture of many of its houses and it is not surprising that it has been declared a conservation area.

A leather-bound minute book started in 1899 records the meetings of the Upton Park Proprietors Association (UPPA). While today's affairs are recorded with word processing, the minute book, which was used until the mid-1970's; is still in the archives and has provided much information for this history. Similarly the Account ledger started in 1921 records house and proprietor names with their assigned rates.

Finally, the introduction must mention the Covenant. Jealously guarded and often conveniently misquoted; the covenant is incorporated into the deeds of the original Upton Park area. The intention of the covenant was to retain a level of well being and ensure 'in perpetuity' that residents had respect for their neighbour's environment. The covenant has served the Park well.

In compiling this history from the abundant source of information - that in the public domain; that belonging to the Association and finally that belonging to individual proprietors - the greatest pleasure has come from talking to past residents; many now in their late years while others who spent their childhood here are now in middle age. These past residents - and the network grows weekly - have all enthused about their time in the Park and their joy in helping with the history.

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