Landscape

Do you know the story behind areas or locations named Betts? If so, please let us know here.

Betts Park, Penge, London

by Matt Betts

Some of my recent ancestors (my great x 2 grandfather and his children) all lived in Croydon and Penge (both now in London, but in the 19th/early 20th Century Surrey/Kent!). A park in the area is called Betts Park, and was  donated by my great (x2) uncle: Frederick Betts.

Frederick was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character. He was a great property owner at the time, and had built a number of properties throughout Croydon and the area.

I discovered that Frederick had a colourful past when the local historian sent me Frederick’s Obituary printed in the Beckenham & Penge Advertiser. Sadly the Obituary only gives a fleeting mention of his Jekyll side’s donation of the park, and instead concentrates on his darker Hyde side, undoubtedly because it made better copy. As a property owner throughout Croydon and Penge he emerges as the sort of landlord we would all worry about!

This was his dark side, somewhat ameliorated by his generous side, shown by his donation of Betts Park amongst other things to Croydon and Penge councils at the time; and through his business, where he was responsible for a number of streets, roads, and properties throughout the area that are still in use today. For myself, I choose to remember him for those things he provided to the local community which have far outlived him, rather than ponder on his darker side.

Betts Park in Penge has its main entrance at Anerley Road. It also has other entrances at Seymour Villas, Croydon Road and Betts Way. The original donation also included Penge Library, but this has now moved elsewhere when the old library was beyond repair. It was opened on December 1928, though Frederick missed it because of a family bereavement (my great grandfather). Betts Park was named in memory of Frederick’s mother: Sarah Betts.

Although this information was lost in the mists of time, I am now proud to include it on this website – so we never forget again.

Photos are © Joanne Cooper. All rights reserved. Please click on each one for a larger size.

Thanks to Bromley Archives and to local historian Chris Doran for all their help in my discovery of Frederick’s donation. Thanks also to Joanne Cooper who took these marvellous photos! Jo is a professional photographer and would be happy to hear from people who need photos (contact us for more details!).

PS, as an aside, I’ve also discovered my great great aunt died in one of the bombings in Croydon during World War II. She is commemorated with the so many others who died during the Croydon bombings on the memorial here.

Text (c) Matt Betts

Clifford R. Betts Memorial Park, Warren, Pennsylvania

More commonly known as Betts Park, this property certainly lives up to its designation as an active park. It is the home of the Warren Area High School Tennis Team, several adult softball leagues, and the site of Warren County Youth Football League practices.

The park is located just off of Route 6 on Ludlow Street and is the site of several annual and biennial events.

For those wishing to enjoy the park at a more leisurely pace, a walking trail follows the park perimeter and offers tranquil views of the Allegheny  River. The eastern portion of the trail passes the Penn State Master Gardeners’ Trial Garden where several species of flowering plants developed by the Penn State University Horticultural Department are grown and evaluated.

At fifty acres, Betts Park is the largest of the city of Warren, Pennsylvania.

The park is supported by the Betts Foundation.

Are you related to Clifford R Betts? Please do contact us if you are, we would love to include more information on this page.

 

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