I confess today’s post is a bit shameful for me. Back in February we were discussing the Langton Way plaque and Richard asked me about a second, older memorial in the same lane. “It’s on wall where they’re currently building two new buildings, just opposite Angerstein Lane. It’s a sad tribute to a young girl called Francis Banks, with a Ben Johnson quotation – however I’ve not been able to find out the story behind the plaque,” he said.
‘Ah, yes, I’ll see what I can find out,’ I said, then promptly forgot all about it. I don’t have any real excuses – work – stuff, yada, yada.
Richard, clearly bored with waiting for me, then went off and found out for himself, but instead of having the hump with me, he’s shared the information, which I pass on to you today.
Frances was a 13 year old girl who was knocked down and killed by a car after getting off a bus in the 1980s. Richard thinks the accident happened by the cross roads at the top of the park by the Gibb Memorial on the heath just past the Dips but he’s not 100% sure. There’s also a white flowering cherry tree planted in her memory next to the plaque.
The developer of the two new buildings knocked down the wall Frances’s plaque was originally placed on, but at least moved the plaque. He also agreed not to cut down the cherry tree as he’d planned – makes sense to me – who wants to move into a new place knowing that a mature garden’s been completely displaced for it. A cherry tree’s roots won’t be any problem for foundations.
So young Frances’s plaque remains. Visit it some time, and if you do, make sure you walk along Angerstein Lane and see the Phantom’s Favourite Front Garden
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