This week, Fiction Ed Shirley’s inspired by a popular park. Will it work as a story starter for you?
This is Dundee’s Magdalen Green, a popular park and just one of many beautiful open spaces in the city.
There’s also Magdalen Yard Road. Although I grew up within a stone’s throw of here — this was my childhood playground — it only occurred to me recently to wonder why Magdalen Green and Yard. Magdalen speaks of a chapel . . .
After a quick online search, I learned that the name is probably derived from a chapel dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. The ground was secularised during the Reformation, alongside other ecclesiastical property. Probably the original name was “Magdalen Gair”, meaning the “garth” or garden-ground of the chapel.
So, inspiration for a period story right there, perhaps?
Each year there’s a music festival here, organised by the Friends of Magdalen Green. There’s a very fine Victorian bandstand for summer concerts. Apparently there was once a railway station here, but that closed in 1956. I bet it’s the building that I’d assumed was a signal box.
Just up the road from it are the University of Dundee and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, which means this is a very popular area for students come summer. Plenty of sunbathing, barbecues, frisbeeing, football . . . and even tightrope walking on a cable tied between two of the trees.
It’s central and essential to the community.
There are benches at regular intervals around its edges, and you’ll jostle for space with lunching workers on sunny days. Those on the north edge have a lovely view over the river. Most of the benches have dedication plaques on them.
At the far end, there’s a stunning avenue of flowering cherry trees. And beyond that the allotments.
Has any of that inspired a story for you yet?
If not, then why not take a look for another story starter here.