As with any community, local services play an important role in the day to day life of local residents and Saffron Lane is no different. One place that hasn’t changed much since it was built in 1939 is Southfields Library, also known as the Pork Pie Library because of its unusual round shape.
The library has always been very popular with children on the estate with a third of all the books taken out being ‘Juvenile Literature’ in the years after it opened. It is still a vibrant and popular place today with after-school clubs and activities happening weekly.
Providing open spaces and facilities to the people of The Park Estate was very important when it came to the design of the roadways and layout of the houses. This is reflected in the central open space that Tick-Tock Park creates in the estate.
Elston Fields is known locally as Tick-Tock Park; this is because originally there was a pavilion in the centre which had a tall clock tower, hence the ‘Tick-Tock’ name. The pavilion housed the groundskeepers office as well as changing rooms for the organised weekly Football and rugby matches. These matches often drew crowds of between 300 and 400 in the late 1920’s.
Nowadays the centre of the park is taken up by a large children’s playground with the rest of the park still a dedicated open space. It is still a vital resource for the residents who use it regularly for dog walking, sports and other activities.
Saffron Lane Sports Centre
The Saffron Lane Sports Centre was opened on 6th May 1967 and was the first track of its type built in England. This refers to the synthetic running surface which was still new technology back then. In its heyday the venue hosted British and World track cycling and Road Racing championships which took place in August 1970.
The Stadium was almost demolished in 2001 after many years of decay, fortunately this was delayed and in 2006 the City Council invested £1.4 million to give it a much needed facelift. The City schools hold annual athletic championships there every year when the cheering of the crowd can be heard all the way over from Welford Road!