Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

Drayton Manor

The Drayton Manor estate was enclosed with boundary walls. Along the Sutton Road from the Beacon House ( now fashioned in the Spanish style ) to the 'cut' there were blackberry bushes and thick scrub to enclose the pheasants. This form of boundary also existed from Bullocks End, Drayton Bassett to the village.

The estate had three main entrances, all gated with lodges. These were 'Drayton Road Lodge', the present entrance to the theme park, the 'Swiss Lodge', now demolished, opposite Bonehill Mill and 'Lichfield Road Lodge', opposite Plantation Lane, near the Robert Peel Hospital.

Access to the Manor could also be gained by the White House in Drayton village, by the drive along the Sutton Road at Mile Oak which leads to Burleigh Lodge and also by a bridge over the 'cut' in the middle of Mile Oak housing estate. This entrance was fenced off to prevent access to the theme park without paying for admission. A lot of people used it at one time !

Burleigh Lodge was the retirement home for the head gamekeeper, so it was here that my great grandfather spent his later days.

The active head gamekeeper when I was a child was Mr Pat Davidson. His round started at Broomfield House, a private club quite near the old A5 and continued over the ornamental wooden bridge where the 'Mill Race and Cut' form the Mill Lane Pool, then over the flood gates and waterfall, named on the deeds as' the cascade'.

My earliest recollections of the Manor were on the few occasions when the gates were thrown open on special days and my mother, aunt and cousins and I would walk through the woods into the grounds and gardens. The bands played and the summers always seemed to be good. Then came that fateful day in the summer of 1925, when the grounds would be open to the public for the last time before the mansion was demolished.

Once again I was taken there and 'Bandsman' Bobby Peel appeared with his wife, Beatrice Lilley and his favourite Alsatian dog to pose for a professional photograph on the steps leading down to the garden.