The following notes are from Mr EL "Jim" Davis's unpublished notes on the Common Port Down:
For very many years the Port Down has been the venue of sporting events. We know that a great bare knuckle fight took place on the Common in 1821 and that the Royal and Ancient Order of Foresters held their annual spurts there for many years. There is no doubt that the Common was generally regarded as the natural spot in Hungerford for all sports whether organised or not. We have mention of the Football Club, the Golf Club and a Quoits Club in the Trustee Minutes and in 1924 we learn that the Trustees approved the opening of the fence around the Recreation Ground in order to lay out a circular course for the Forester's Sports, so that presumably a portion of the Common, acquired by exchange, had been enclosed as the allotted place for sport prior to that date, but it was not until November 1936 that the Trustees formally met members of the Cricket and Football Clubs to discuss the possibility of setting aside part of the Common to be used solely as a Recreation Ground. It was suggested that an area of six acres would be ample and also that an area should be reserved exclusively for children.
The Clerk explained the procedure which would enable the Trustees to use Common Land for recreation and the two clubs were asked to submit detailed proposals.
The matter seemed to be dormant until March 1938 when the Constable told the Trustees that the Cricket Club had again applied to enclose the ground. They asked that they be allowed to enclose the whole pitch during the summer months and only the wicket in the winter. Consent was given subject to the consent of the Hocktide jury.
The matter did not get any further during the war period, but before the war ended tentative plans had been made for a War Memorial and a Committee had been set up. In June 1945 the Trustees met a representative of the Committee and heard that it was proposed that the area used as a Recreation Ground should be leased to the War Memorial Committee, who would proceed to build a hall for the holding of dances, a library and, if funds permitted, a cottage for the caretaker of the project. The Trustees decided to consult with the Charity Commissioner and the Hocktide Jury.
In 1947 the Trustees were informed by the War Memorial Committee that they had abandoned a plan to build homes for the old people as a War Memorial and wished to proceed with the plan previously outlines, that is, the permanent enclosure of the Old Recreation area of the Common. The Trustees indicated that this was still on and gave £50 to the War Memorial Fund.
In January 1948 a meeting of the Commoners and the Hocktide Jury was called to discuss the proposal to close part of the Common and also the extinguishment of Common Rights. The Football Club became worried about this time as to their position with the new War Memorial Committee and the Trustees instructed the Clerk to write to the Club assuring that their interest would be safeguarded.
In October 1948 the Trustees wrote to the War Memorial Committee; asking for the names of those who were to be the Trustees of the War Memorial Committee. A reply came asking that the Town and Manor should supply a draft lease, but the difficulty existed that the final management of the ground had not been settled. However the Clerk was prepared to set forth the main terms on which such a lease would be granted.
On September 19th 1951 the Trustees granted a lease of the War Memorial Recreation Ground to the Hungerford Parish Council for ninety-nine years at an annual rental of 10s.
On May 1962 the Carnival Committee indicated that they wished to build a Swimming Pool on the War Memorial Recreation Ground and this was finally completed and handed over to the Hungerford Parish Council in ..?..
In September 1964 the Berkshire Playing Fields Association applied to the Trustees for a donation to their Funds. The Trustees replied that in their opinion the granting of a lease of the War Memorial Ground at a nominal rental constituted a substantial contribution, but in any case they had no power to use their Funds outside Hungerford.
In 1962 a narrow border was added to the Recreation Ground by land given by the R.D.C. in exchange for land taken for the enlargement and improvement of the Sewerage Works.
June 1968 the Parish Council granted, with the consent of the Trustees, a lease of the Cricket Field to the Cricket Club at a rental of 10s a year.