How a chance comment during a park walk led to a fascinating journey…
Eileen, an 89 year old woman from a Stroud care home, recently joined one of our Gentle Park Walks in Stratford Park. As she was walking she mentioned she had often been here ‘to see the lawnmower’. We realised that Eileen was referring to the museum in the park which has a model of the first ever lawnmower, invented in Stroud by Edwin Budding in 1830. Eileen went on to tell us that her dad was also a relative of Edwin and had worked at a local factory, Waller’s Engineering, which had previously been the Phoenix Ironworks, where the Budding Lawnmower had been produced.
This chance comment has led to a whirlwind journey of activity for Eileen. The museum became very interested in the historical significance of Eileen’s family connections, sending their Education Officer to visit Eileen to find out more details and to see if they could plan a celebration event for the Budding Mower that could include Eileen and her family as special guests. Staff at Eileen’s care home were also interested in highlighting her place in local and national history. They contacted her niece to find out more information about Eileen’s family and this special connection to the community’s historical achievement.
At Fair Shares, we then contacted the founder of the Budding Museum of Gardening and the Budding Foundation in Sussex - set up to support young people promoting horticulture and conservation. The founder has a particular interest in Edwin Budding and said he was looking forward to meeting both Eileen and her niece.
Eileen is delighted by the excitement her chance comment has caused and is pleased to continue contributing to the communities knowledge and understanding of Stroud’s heritage.
Picture: Eileen in front of the Budding Lawnmower at Stroud Museum in the Park.
Time to Connect is a project made possible thanks to over £700k from the Big Lottery Fund. The partnership project brings together the experience of NDTi and Timebanking UK to create a unique model for community inclusion within the care sector. Read more