Emma: Did you ever play on Parker’s Piece?
Robin: Oh Parker’s Piece! Oh you had to be very careful going on Parker’s Piece because groundsman was Arthur Morgan and he ruled Parker’s Piece with a rod of iron. You couldn’t cycle across Parker’s Piece because you’d have Arthur Morgan come and tell you off. ‘Get off that bike. You’re not supposed to be riding a bike across there.’ Look at it today, there’ so many bikes.
Emma: He patrolled all of Parker’s Piece? That was his…
Robin: Yeah, he was a groundsman but but woe betide if you played on his cricket wicket. On one of them. It’s strange now when you look at it, and it’s absolutely covered with bikes and foreign students in the summer – language students – in the summer. Yeah, people use it for picnics, they have The Big Day Out which is cancelled this year I believe, but they have pop concerts, free free pop concerts, but God knows what old Arthur’d say!
Pippa: When was that then? Was that in the 19… When was Arthur patrolling Parker’s Piece?
Robin: Oh the late 50s, right up until the late 60s I guess he was there. I think he got CBE or something for his work.
Emma: He was a force to be reckoned with then?
Robin: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Emma: Known by a lot of people, by the sounds of things?
Robin: Oh yeah, yeah. I met his daughter a while ago, unfortunately, at a funeral and we spoke about it and she said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’d be out – the family would be out in the car and we’d go by Parker’s Piece and anything untoward was going on Dad – her dad – would get out the car and chase the people! It’s strange isn’t it thinking how we are today, you know, easy going, well mostly easy going.
Pippa: Well he was proud of it. He must have had great pride in his bit of land and making sure people were behaving themselves.
Robin: Yeah, now they have big wheels on their and ice skating rinks.
Emma: What do you think he’d make of it?
Robin: Oh, he’d be disgusted wouldn’t he? Yeah.
Interviewed by Pippa Hale and Emma Bearman, May 2023
You can read more about Arthur Morgan: https://www.pitchcare.com/news-media/tributes-to-the-man-who-nurtured-parkers-piece-for-40-years.html