Reprinted from Newsletter 118, dated 2006 spring

My father Dr Pinniger (letter to the editor)

Mary Needell

A friend of a friend sent me a copy of the Glastonbury Conservation Society’s newsletter 117 (November-December). I was intrigued by the reference to my father, Dr Tom Pinniger, and by the excavation of the tennis court at The Hollies.

When my father first came to Glastonbury, on his motorbike, in the early 1920s, he lived in a house in the High Street which was demolished to make way for the “new” post office. We moved to The Hollies towards the end of the 1920s. He lived there until his retirement in late 1963, when he moved to Bath.

I love the story [retold by John Brunsdon in Newsletter 117] of the magical “glass eye”, and so would he! In fact he had very poor sight in one eye, which necessitated a very thick lens on that side of the spectacles. I can imagine a child might well think that eye to be glass — full marks for creative imagination!

As for the garden, we had one tennis court (grass), which was there in the 1920s, and it lasted until the Second World War, when my father decided it should be dug up to grow more vegetables. The higher lawn was used for croquet, and in any case it would not have been long enough for a second tennis court without excavation into the walled vegetable garden behind. This upper lawn area was, I think, used by Millfield for parking cars and coaches.

Incidentally, the rockery (at the top of the slope to the right on leaving the house) used to contain some carved stones which my father thought could have come from the Abbey on its dissolution. Some years ago parts of the garden on the Wells Road frontage were lost due to road widening, as was some shrub and tree ground on the Bove Town side.

My husband and I have not been back to Glastonbury for eight years or so, but we are now thinking that another visit would be very interesting.

MARY NEEDELL (née Pinniger)
28 Wood Vale, London, N10 3DP