Pine Walk, or 'When Katie met Arthur'
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
One of my favourite spots in Shaftesbury is Pine Walk. I never tire of it. From the first flushes of bright green in the spring to the reddening shades throughout autumn, there's always a slightly different view every day.
Pine Walk, 1907
We often talk about the lack of actual pines on Pine Walk - it wasn't always the case. When the walk was created in the Victorian era, there were many of the striking Scots pines, but sadly just a handful remain today towards the St John's Hill end. Instead, we see other trees like beech, ash and sycamore - all lovely in their own right, just, well, not pines.
Browsing eBay I came across this wonderful postcard from 1907, sharing how Pine Walk looked back in the day. What's striking is the view between the trees, something we've lost over the intervening decades. You can still clearly see some of the same trees today - just a bit taller and broader.
I was also tickled by the message on the back, from Arthur to Katie. It reads:
Are you coming to the dance tonight? If so, be on the Park at 8.30 - I will meet you there,
Bear in mind this was sent on the day of the dance, and presumably arrived in time, I like to see it as the Victorian equivalent of (almost) instant messaging!
I was curious to know more about Katie, and asked a friend and historian, who told me that he believes the recipient is a Miss Kate Foot, who would have been 24 at the time. She appears in the census of 1911, single, working as a housemaid, and living with her parents on Tanyard Lane. Perhaps Arthur's moves weren't quite her style! Never mind ... I love that there's a little bit of social and local history that has returned home to Shaftesbury.
Pine Walk, 2020