Hampson Park History

The park was named in honour of Stevenage resident Thomas Hampson. Hampson wonTom-Hampson-Olympian Gold in the 800 meters, setting a new world record; he also won a Silver medal in the men’s 4 x 400 meter relay at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 1932. In 1954 he moved to Stevenage and worked for the development corporation.

The land that is now Hampson Park was once part of the estate of Highfield House, a substantial Georgian house situated in what was then open country. At the turn of the twentieth centaury Highfield was the home of The  Poston family would regularly entertain notable writers and intellectuals of the time such as George Bernard Shaw. They were also friends with Mrs Lily Forster and her son the future novelist Edward Morgan.

Elizabeth would become an accomplished composer, pianist and writer, composing scores for radio and television. Collaborating with writers such as C.S. Lewis and Dylan Thomas. She wrote the score for the television production of close friend E. M. Forster’s Howards End whilst living in Forster’s childhood home Rooks Nest – the setting for the novel.

The house was demolished in the early years of the new town. Some of the original garden trees and shrubs still remain and a short but interesting walk in the park.

Hampson Park Tree Trail was established in 2007 and is a short walk taking in trees of interest within the landscape of the park. The trees are numbered to enable identification of species to be made with reference to the interpretation board located near the car park. A number of these trees, notably the two redwoods were once part of the estate of Highfield House.

Hampson-Tree-Trail

 

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