Public Parks & Gardens in Manchester
From the time of its City Charter, certain Manchester
politicians began to urge the purchase and provision of suitable
open spaces where it might build parks for the working people. The
main campaigner for parks had been Mark
Philips , MP, (after whom in the Park in Bradford is named).
It took seven years of intense campaigning before Manchester set
up the Committee for Public Walks, Gardens & Playgrounds, and
opened its first three public parks in 1846.
Mark Philips MP; Opening of Alexandra
Park 1870; Band Performance at Heaton Park,Whit Sunday 1914; Heaton
Hall and Park
They were: Queen's Park and Philips Park (in
Manchester), and Peel Park (in Salford). Before this time there
had been no open spaces where working people could relax or walk.
Few houses, except those of the very wealthy, even had back gardens,
and any parks that did exist (including Heaton Park and Wythenshawe
Park) were in private ownership and not accessible to the general
The first public park to be officially opened on the designated
day, was Peel Park in Salford, and was marked by the attendance
of the Mayor and Aldermen. There were formal opening ceremonies
heralded by trumpets and cannon fire.They had been purchased by
private subscriptions by rich and poor alike and were to be the
"clean lungs of the working city of Manchester". Later
that same day, Queens Park was officially opened to slightly less
ceremonial, and finally, Philips Park which was opened by Councillor
These were only the first of many. Many other parks followed, and
other acquisitions were made well into the twentieth century, with
Wythenshawe Park, Heaton
Park and Platt Fields in Rusholme being purchased by the city
in the early 20th century.
In 1856 John Shaw was appointed as first Inspector of Public Parks
for the City of Manchester, having already distinguished himself
with his designs for Stamford park in Altrincham. Heavily industrialised
though Manchester was, it took its civic duties very seriously,
and by the early 20th century it boasted more public parks than
any other English city outside London. What follows is a description
of most of them
The three first parks of 1846 were created
by Joshua Major with a specific aim in mind - to cope with the "...promenading
of large numbers of persons". On holidays these parks were flooded
with many thousands of people, it being a convenient, close and cheap
day out for working families. At other times, park keepers reported
as few as 20 visitors a day, and mostly the unemployed at that. Park
keepers were initially not keen on thousands of visitors tramping over
their lawns, the Head Keeper at Philips describing them as "low
elements", and in 1859 sixty cast iron "Keep off the Grass"
signs were purchased - keepers were issued with caps, badges and whistles,
and enforced the rule strictly. People were regularly arrested and sentenced
to one day in prison for picking flowers or walking on seed beds.
The 31 acres of Philips Park had been purchased from Lady Houghton for
the sum of £6,300 and was/is located to the east of the present
A6010 near Miles Platting. It had winding pathways and extensive water
features, which were periodically prone to flooding. However, there
were other activities apart from walking on offer - the Park offered
a variety of recreation activities and sporting opportunities, including
skittles, quoits, archery, cricket, shuttlecocks (now called badminton),
"giant strides" (a sort of enormous maypole which spun round
quickly and was intended to exhaust children quickly - it was a great
success!) and swings. Children's play areas, called "gymnasia",
were provided, with seesaws swings and skipping areas on offer. The
Park offered several sports pitches and fields, including space for
hockey, football and tennis (introduced in 1868), bowls (introduced
in 1871), and cricket.
The flower beds were probably laid down by Major, and it became famed
locally for "Tulip Sunday", usually the first or second Sunday
in April, when some 50,000 tulips could be seen in bloom. Philips was
one of the first parks in Manchester to get a bowling green (in 1871),
followed by tennis courts, with further improved facilities right up
to the 1900s. In 1920, the ornamental ponds were concreted over and
converted into boating and paddling pools.
There is a second Philips Park, in Whitefield, north of Manchester and
now in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury - previously known as "The
Park", this land was purchased by Robert Philips the son of Nathaniel
Philips (cofounder of J & N Philips & Co.) of Stand Hall. Robert
passed the estate on to his son Robert Needham Philips (who was younger
brother to Mark) who in turn bequeathed it to his youngest daughter,
Anna Maria Philips who occupied "The Park" (120 acres) until
her death in 1946 when it was purchased by the Local Authority.
It is now known as 'Philips Park', but actually is the second one, and
should not be confused with the former Philips Park. Sadly the house
which once stood there was subsequently demolished, but the stable yard
buildings survive still as a Night Club - some feel it might have been
kinder to demolish the lot.
We are indebted to Mr P Phillips, (no relation)
for providing information and assistance in creating the above entry.
Before the 19th Century, Chorlton
belonged to the Manor of Withington, and, as the suburbs spread in the
18th Century in response to rapid population growth in the area, it
was decided after a great deal of public pressure, to create a public
park on the western side of the district. An area bordering Chorlton
Brook, Nell Lane and Barlow Moor Road was chosen as a suitable site
- it had been farmland previously owned by the Egerton family of Tatton
But, constant prevarication followed and it was not until 1926 that
the site was actually purchased. The park was laid out and opened to
the public on May 5th 1928 and has changed very little since those days.
Bounded by shrubberies and flower borders it became a major local attraction
for working people with bowls, tennis, putting and the childrens
Present day facilities include a Park Office and Visitors Centre, Community
Meeting Rooms, a Bowls Pavilion, an enclosed Bowling Green, various
Children's Playgrounds, a One Basketball Court, a Multisports Area,
Two 5 a-side Football Areas, Four Tennis Courts, Four Junior Pitches,
Children's Nursery, Mobile Security Patrols, a Small Car Park with spaces
for disabled people, Accessible Toilet, Skills Wall and a Rose Garden.
Chorlton Park was Green Flag Award Winner in 2003.
Chorlton Water Park is the only
Local Nature Reserve which covers 16 hectares including woodlands, wildflower
meadows and a lake. Developed from a gravel pit, the site attracts thousands
of visitors each year, catering for activities including angling, ornithology,
sailing and orienteering.
It is an ideal habitat to attract a diverse range of wildlife including
native crayfish, the Siberian pochard, reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Funding from a Wild Space Grant, administered by English Nature, has
been used to improve habitats for amphibians and reptiles, as well as
to increase opportunities for education within the park. The warden
service is continually improving the facilities of the park for the
benefit of both people and wildlife, and ongoing new projects are scheduled
for the following years.
Alexandra Park, opened in 1868
in Whalley Range, a park measuring 60 acres, had been purchased by the
Corporation in 1868 and opened to the public in 1870. It had been designed
with a raised terrace lined with a half mile long avenue of lime trees
and was specifically intended for people to stroll along - this avenue
still survives today. The Park was intended to promote a simple morale
purpose - to keep families together in shared recreation. The reality,
however, was probably more mundane - to dissuade men from spending their
day of rest in alehouses. Despite this model to family unity, boys and
girls were given separate play areas (for decency's sake). The competition
to design the park had been awarded to Alexander Hennel, and was the
first to incorporate ornamental features and sports facilities.
Several more extreme religious groups, notably the so-called Sabbatarians,
tried to have these parks closed on Sundays, but their growing popularity
soon put paid to that idea. While some saw parks as a valuable resource,
others saw them as a threat to tradition Sunday School attendance -
many were closed therefore during hours of Sunday worship.
In 1844 the Borough Police Act, drafted in fear of what so many unregulated
people in once place could do, recommended all parks be built 5 miles
outside the city boundaries to keep "trouble out of town".
There was clearly some worry about the possibility of unauthorised public
meetings. Use of carriages, and later of any motorised vehicles was
prohibited in parks (and still is).
Eventually, live brass band performances became popular entertainments
within the parks.
By the 1890s, Alexandra Park was the showpiece of the City; it was pioneering
in the range of facilities it offered, and was thought to be the best
designed and laid out. Hennell had also designed the Superintendent's
Lodge off Claremont Road, which was demolished in the 1970s. The bowling
greens date back to before the second world war and are still there,
but disused. The 1905 built hothouses near Princess Road were financed
and built specifically to house the botanical collection of Charles
Darrah of Heaton Mersey, which it acquired as a gift in 1904.
This is a park of 27 acres which was
acquired by public gift in 1846. Designed and laid out by Joshua Major
in 1845. The original Hendham Hall, home to the Hoghton family, was
built in 1800, demolished around 1880 and the museum and art gallery
erected on the same site in 1884 was designed by J Allison (now part
of Manchester City Art Galleries).
When Major laid out plans for the new Queens Park, he incorporated as
much of the original line and timbering of the original Hendham Hall,
largely because of severe financial restrictions on the project, and
made as much as he could of pathways and walkways, as well as developing
an existing water feature with rustic bridge and ponds. Large wide sweeping
pathways (which could carry horse and carriage) circled round extensive
play areas and games pitches. This rather frugal design was much criticised
by contemporary architects, who thought it to geometric. In the 1850s
and 1860s many alterations were made to the original concept. First,
a labyrinth designed by Dwerryhouse, head gardener at Tatton Park was
introduced in 1852 (it closed in 1861).
Next, propagating sheds and greenhouses, designed by John Shaw were
added in 1853 (demolished in 1930). Shaw went on to add more ponds,
streams, as well as a large fountain in 1865. Large flower gardens were
planted, including a rosarium on the north side. In 1909 a bowling green
was added as well as tennis courts.
Errwood Road, Burnage. Tel: 0161 223
8278. Park with adjacent Cringle Fields Beehive Club Day Nursery and
frequent venue for Gaelic Football Games, periodic funfairs and firework
displays. The Fields are an open space which lies on the municipal boundary
between the City of Manchester and the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport.
The field is used for football practice, jogging and by local residents
for walking their dogs. Cringle Fields is also host to the annual Manchester
Irish Festival, a family orientated weekend of Irish music, dance and
fun fair rides in Levenshulme Village has been put on jointly by Manchester
City Council Parks Department. (Levenshulme is believed to be home to
the biggest Irish community outside London).
The Park measures some 90 acres. Fear
of encroaching domestic housing prompted the final purchase of Platt
Fields from Mr Carill Worsley in 1908. He had been a member of the Manchester
Botanical & Horticultural Society. The original Park with its Hall
had been commissioned by John Lees of Platt in 1762 when Timothy Lightoler
had remodelled the house, and a few years later , in 1768, William Emes
(1729-1803) had been employed to design and landscape the surrounding
Later, further developments had been made to the park by William Pontey,
who had laid out several formal lawns and paths as well as specimen
trees and shrubs.
A large boating lake was constructed here in 1908-09 at the initiation
of the Corporation, which was immediately popular, and was still operative
until recent times. Tennis courts and playing fields were also created
in the 20th century, and the park has become a popular venue for shows,
notably the Agricultural and flower shows. See also Platt
Hall Gallery of Costume.
This is Manchester's largest park, measuring
some 650 acres. It was laid out by William Emes (who had also laid out
Platt Fields - above), and John Webb between 1770-73. The Hall had been
designed by James Wyatt around 1772, with later work by Lewis Wyatt
around 1823. It was purchased by the Corporation from Lord Wilton in
1902. One of several local lands belonging to the Egertons, it was situated
about 4 miles north of Manchester on a hill top plateau surrounded by
One of the best known events to be held here were the popular Heaton
Park Races (which transferred to Aintree in around 1827). The general
public had been able to attend the races on payment of a small fee at
the gate. After its purchase, some levelling was carried out and a golf
course constructed in 1908-09. Regular band performances took place
in the park on summer weekends, and they became so popular that fixed
seating proved wholly inadequate and a system of deck chair hire was
introduced at a charge of one penny a day.
After 1909 several bowling greens were created, and a miniature railway,
(later a tramway), was constructed to take visitors up from Middleton
Road to the main house. Roads were widened and a Refreshment Room introduced
in the west wing of the house.
In 1913 the boating lake was constructed and is still operative today.
The original entrance facade from the Old Manchester Town Hall was transported
and re-erected beside the lake. See Main Entry: Heaton
Gifted to the City of Manchester
in 1926 by Lord Ernest Simon
and his wife Lady Shena Simon. This 250 acre parkland was intended for
the recreational use of people living on the newly built Wythenshawe
Housing Estate nearby. The park had been laid out between 1800-1820,
with a conservatory being built by John Shaw in around 1860.
The original Tudor house, Wythenshawe Hall, had been remodelled by Lewis
Wyatt in 1795-1800, and later by Edward Blore around 1840. The present
day formal gardens date from the 1850s, and look much as they might
have done in 1641 when the oldest known estate plans were drawn up.
Only the more recent addition of Oliver Cromwell's statue is new, having
been moved here from outside of Manchester
Cathedral in 1967.
Shaw had planted the park with shrubberies, hollies, azaleas and rhododendrons,
as well as many exotic specimen trees such as turkey oak and Bhutan
pine. In the 1930s, bowling greens, tennis courts and playing fields
had been created in the western parkland, which had hitherto been arable
land. It remains a major leisure facility for the whole of south Manchester.
See also Main Entry: Wythenshawe
Fletcher Moss Gardens were given
to the corporation by Alderman Fletcher Moss in 1914. They cover some
10 acres, and the gift also included the house, (the Old Parsonage),
but the rock garden and the Croft nearby. The gardens are rich in exotic
varieties of tree and shrubs, all of which Fletcher Moss recorded with
dates and measurements. Plants include, fuschias, japonica, polyanthus,
carnations and wallflowers, mostly planted in 1889. There are also many
climbing plants including honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, cotoneaster,
wisteria and passion flower. Trees include the several palms which border
the house. The original garden included lime and and weeping ash which
had been planted in the 1830s. Fletcher Moss favoured so-called 'old
fashioned' cottage garden flowers like marigold, lilies, gold borage
and rue. Two hot houses were erected in the 1940s for the cultivation
of orchids. The Croft was developed and enlarged throughout the 1950s
and 1960s, with poplars removed to create a rock garden. Subsequently,
alpine and wild flower gardens have been created. See also: Fletcher
Moss Art Gallery . >
Acquired as a gift to the city
by Mrs Silkenstadt in 1904. This relatively small garden is of 4¾
acres and was part of the gardens of her home. It was donated in memory
of her daughter Marie Louise who died young and is a simple shape with
crossing pathways, edged with neatly clipped topiary bushes and shaded
by horse chestnuts - a secluded and peaceful place set aside from the
busy world outside. There are many interesting botanical specimens including
a maidenhair tree. The gardens are maintained by the Corporation.
More properly named the 'Manchester
Zoological Gardens, Broughton', this park no longer exists, but is now
a residential housing estate on the borders of Manchester City boundary.
The original park was some 15 acres in size and was designed and laid
out by Richard Forrest around 1837. The Grand Menagerie and other now
extinct buildings were by William Hayley and Thomas Brown.
The Zoological Gardens were very short lived, having opened to the public
in 1838, it closed in 1842. The gardens were designed with high serpentine
shrubs so that the visitor was continually met with new vistas and surprises.
The zoo contained an astonishing array of animals, including aviaries
for eagles and rockeries for armadillos and porcupines. Elsewhere were
polar bear enclosures, buffalo, emu, camels, ostriches and kangaroos.
There was a large lake with islands and rustic bridges.
However, the city clearly could not support 2 large zoos, and when Broughton
Park closed down, many of the animals went to the other (better known)
zoo at Belle Vue - that too, now sadly gone.
Located on Rochdale Road in Blackley,
Boggart Hole Clough was purchased by the City Council in 1890 after
long campaigning and many petitions. The site has an extensive 190 acres
of green land. The Clough had long been recognised as a local beauty
spot, and was eventually purchased to prevent the building of domestic
housing on its lands.
Boggart Hole Clough is an ancient historical site and combines a number
of picturesque cloughs varying from steep ravines to gentle sloping
gullies. The 'Boggart Hole' connection refers to the old belief
that a ghost (or 'boggart' haunted the area.
The park is an attractive haven for relaxation but also boasts a number
of activities, from boating to athletics, and is well worth a visit.
The park stages a number of cross-country events, mountain bike rides,
summer 'fun days' and an annual bonfire and firework display.
The park was recently restored by members of Festival Manchester, including
painting knee rails, litter picking in the dells and around the lake.
Many flowering bulbs have also been planted around the public car park
on Charlestown Road. In 2003, Boggart Hole Clough attained the Green
Flag Award for the third time. It has access for disabled people and
its facilities include a bowling green, tennis courts, basketball courts,
play area, multi-court, fishing, an orienteering course, a boating lake,
a kickabout area and a recently refurbished athletics track.
Belle Vue has always been a commercial
enterprise. Built in 1836, this 36 acre park was expanded to 80 acres
during its heyday in 1904. Belle Vue House had been built in 1828 and
gardens created in 1833. These in turn were extended and enlarged from
1836 onwards. Its animals were finally sold off in the 1970s, and Belle
Vue ceased as a zoo, continuing, as it has with its more profitable
speedway, leisure complex and exhibition hall facilities.
By the end of the 19th century, Belle Vue was a major attraction. The
original house and land had been owned by John Jennison, who seems to
have made a fortune running local tea houses. He constantly extended
the facilities, adding in successive years, an Italian Garden, lakes,
refreshment houses, mazes and hot houses, and finally the zoological
In 1847 he had built a racecourse, followed by elephant houses, lions
and monkey houses and a polar bear pit. The design of buildings was
dominated by Thomas Danson, whose architecture was 'exotic' to say the
least, having an Asiatic Kiosk, an Indian Mosque, and rustic grottoes.
The Danson family continued to create annual architectural 'panoramas'
until 1939, which included fireworks displays, and subjects for set
pieces including the Siege of Khartoum, the Relief of Ladysmith and
a Venice Carnival. These were immense crowd pullers, and Belle Vue at
its height became a favourite and popular day out for Manchester families.
From the 1920s a speedway track was constructed by Danson, as well as
a cricket and archery ground. In 19030 a circus was introduced. By the
1930s brass band competitions were held there. By the mid-1960s its
fortunes had begun to decline and in 1964 the boating lake was drained
and just a small residual decorative pool was left.
With an area of 29 acres located on
Mauldeth Road, Ladybarn Park is one of Manchester's more modern parks,
noted for its excellent flat green playing fields. Well laid out lawns
and shrubberies occupy one side of the park while the other has bowling
greens and play facilities. There is also a garden with well-maintained
lawns and flower beds. One of the park's most distinctive features is
its tall row of Lombardi Poplars which are something of a local landmark
Park facilities include a childrens play area for juniors and
under-fives, a multi-sports court, a tennis court, two bowling greens
with veterans pavilion, and a youth centre.
Adjacent to the University of Salford
and located on The Crescent, Peel Park, opened on the 22nd August 1846,
is possibly the world's first Public Park. Of the early parks in Manchester,
only Peel Park was built on a virgin site, and had avoided residential
development on account of the periodic flooding of the adjacent River
Irwell. Designers were chosen by open competition, and Peel was laid
out by Joshua Major, a Leeds man who also won the competition to design
Philips and Queens Parks. Adjacent to the once notorious slums of the
Victorian era the park has evolved and now caters for both local visitors
and students studying at the University of Salford. Its contemporary
facilities include football pitches, changing rooms, flower beds, a
well-equipped play area for 4-14 year olds, the Marie Curie Field of
Hope, part of the Irwell Valley sculpture trail, the flood obelisk,
as well as nearby Salford Museum & Art Gallery.
Birchfields Park was purchased by the
Corporation in 1887, acquired for use as a public park for the sum of
£9,930 from Sir William Anson, a local landowner, whose name is
commemorated in the nearby Anson Housing Estate and the arterial Anson
Road that runs through the district. Recreational facilities were then
in great demand, and the park was designed with numerous tennis courts
and football pitches. The park's purchase was conditional upon Rusholme
being incorporated into the City of Manchester in 1885.
Located with its main entrance on the corner of Birchfield Road and
Dickenson Road, Birchfields Park has been recently transformed with
an investment of £160,000 to create a new children's play area,
new sports area, a skateboarding facility, new bins and benches as well
as shrub clearance and tidying up the entrances and parkway.
On the one side of the park are playing fields, play facilities and
nature trail, on the other side there is the stone garden and a natural
habitat, which was originally one of Manchester's first circular bowling
greens. The rose garden is being redeveloped by the Birchfields Green
Action group into a forest garden.
An important feature of the park is the lime tree avenue by the side
of Gore Brook, which makes a delightful walk when in flower, distinguished
by the heady scent of the green-yellow lime tree blossom. A prominent
fixture in the park, and somewhat of a local mystery, is the huge boulder
(weighing in at 13 tons), which was uncovered during excavations by
a building contractor on the local estate and was presented to the park
as an object of curiosity.
Facilities include Gore Brook, the Stone Garden Sculpture, a nature
trail, a play areas for Junior and under-fives, Multisports court, skateboard
area, basketball posts, a teen shelter and a community events site.
The park is secured by regular mobile security patrols.
Located on Grecian Street in the
M7 district of Salford, this is a small park with the following facilities:
a bowling green with veterans' pavilion, a football pitch, an artificial
sports pitch (managed by Education and Leisure), car parking, and a
well-equipped play area for 4-14 year olds.
This park was purchased in 1912 and
was designed with several tennis courts and football pitches. Debdale
Park is located on Hyde Road in Gorton, about three miles from Manchester
city centre and offers a haven in a busy urban area. The Park is set
in 130 acres and offers extensive sport and leisure activities.
Th e park also hosts an annual Bonfire and Fireworks Display, a family
carol service, family Easter egg hunt and a Halloween Fun Event, as
well as regular 3.5km fun runs and sports competitions. It also stages
'Off The Street Soccer' sessions during the summer season. The dedicated
Wardens Service offers a wide range of educational and environmental
activities for children.
Park facilities include tennis courts, bowling greens , basketball court,
football pitches and 5-a-side grass pitch, a skateboarding ramp, a 9
hole pitch and putt golf area, and a childrens play area. An orienteering
course is available and there is a conservation pond area.
Debdale Park was a Green Flag Award winner in 2003.
There is adequate access for disabled people and car parking available
on site. Debdale Park is easily accessible by bus from Manchester City
Located on Mount Street, Salford M3,
this is one of Salfords smaller parks containing a playing field
and several rose and shrub beds. It is reasonably well equipped with
seating areas, and is popular with local residents.
Situated on New Hall Road, Salford M7,
Clowes Park is a small but very attractive public park, dominated by
a central lake with a circular footpath, viewing points and an attractive
boat house. It is located in a fairly affluent area of the city, surrounded
by residential housing, which also forms the park boundary. To the north
of the lake is a large play area, a small area of woodland and a walled
garden. Areas of seasonal bedding displays, rose beds, shrubs, herbaceous
borders and rare trees are of particular interest.
Park activities available include walking, sitting, fishing, football
and childrens play. Its facilities also include toilets, flower
beds, a lake, fishing and a well-equipped play area for 4-14 year olds.
The park is closed at night.
Located on Leicester Road, Salford M7,
Mandley Park is one of Salfords smaller parks. However, it does
boast extensive wide-open grassy areas for informal recreation, popular
by local people for informal games of football and walking the dog.
There is also a rugby pitch and an equipped play area for 4-14 year
olds. This park is also closed at night.
Purchased by the Corporation in 1868.
Located in Ardwick Green South on Hyde Road, a small 4 acre site with
a playground and gardens, with access for disabled people.
Ardwick Green was the first public open space in Manchester and houses
the First World War Memorial commemorating those who died at Gallipoli.
Easily accessible by bus from the city centre. For more information,
telephone: 0161-224 2902 or Fax: 0161-224 2861.
Located on St Marys Road in New
Moston, Broadhurst Park is a 57 acre site which offers a range of leisure
activities for all age groups. The park stages summer funfairs, an annual
bonfire & firework display and summer sports activities for children.
Broadhurst Park is part of the Irk Valley.
Recent investment has led to roller shutters being installed on the
doors and windows of the Veterans Pavilion and the footpath surrounding
the greens being newly tarmacked. The park is accessible by bus from
Manchester city centre.
Its facilities include a football pitch, bowling green with bowls pavilion,
tennis courts, basketball courts, a Multisports court, a kickabout area
and the Beehive Club. The park is accessible for disabled people.
Located at Haworth Road and Knutsford
Road in Gorton M18 7EN, Sunnybrow Park celebrated it's centenary in
April 2005 and local residents, volunteers, park wardens and environmental
services all turned out to clean up the park and surrounding area before
the celebrations. Sunnybrow Community Garden, once an underused piece
of open space located behind a residential area in Gorton, had become
overgrown and vandalised. After a series of planning days and public
consultations, local residents decided to turn this area into a community
garden, which would provide a safe and attractive area for all members
of the local community. A major part of the scheme was to close off
rear alleyways by the erection of gates to alleviate the problem of
burglaries and vandalism. Other physical improvements included a safe
garden area, a pergola for shade, a ball wall and a play area for local
children. The community are now involved in training sessions for running
committees, fund-raising and maintenance issues and the creation of
a resident's association.
Located on Oxford Road, next to the Whitworth
Art Gallery and opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital, this
is a relatively small park of some 18 acres. It was presented to the
City Council by the Whitworth Trustees in 1905. This is the closest
of the larger parks to the City Centre. A popular park, particularly
at lunchtimes, when local workers from the hospital and nearby Rusholme
seek the solace of a green field in the middle of an otherwise bustling
metropolis. It has facilities for five-a-side floodlit football and
has a children's playground. There is access for disabled people and
it is well served by regular buses down Oxford Road from the city centre.
Located on Ashton New Road, Clayton
Park is one of the city's smallest parks, and is managed by officers
from Debdale Park. On the site of Clayton Hall, which dates back to
the 12th century, the present park is situated on what remains of the
vast estate of the De Clayton family. It is reputed that during the
Civil Wars the Royalist army was stationed at Clayton Hall before its
attack on Manchester, and Oliver Cromwell himself is said to have stayed
there. The Hall is said to be haunted by three ghosts.
The Park offers extensive leisure facilities, and has a thriving and
popular bowling green with a Veteran's Pavilion. It also has a children's
play area and good access for disabled people.
Located on Droylsden Road, Newton Heath
and managed from the Boggart Hole Clough parks team. This 44 acre site
has facilities which include bowls, a veterans' pavilion, play area,
several football pitches, a Beehive Club and a woodland area. There
is access for disabled people.
Brookdale park was bought by Manchester City Council in 1904 for use
as a public park. The park is well known locally for variety of its
bird population, and several less common species are to be found there.
The original Victorian bandstand still exists today, though sadly, bands
are few and far between.
In 2003, new investment saw the demolition of the old changing rooms
and new planted garden beds where they once stood. The local community
are currently bidding for a new Multisports area for teenagers.
Opened in 1900, Crowcroft Park was one
of the early Victorian parks of Manchester with well laid out flower
beds, a bandstand, floral borders and several cricket and football pitches.
It is located on the main A6 Stockport Road in the Longsight/Levenshulme
area, about three miles south of Manchester city centre. The Park was
originally built for the recreation of young people, and as a reaction
against the encroaching spread of residential housing as the city grew
in size.. More recently with the addition of new facilities the Park
offers something for all the family. The Park has a strong and active
Friends of Crowcroft Park Group who support community events and actively
campaign for improvements in the Park. Park facilities include two Multisports
areas (one floodlit), a basketball training court, roller skating and
skateboard ramps, a children's play area, crown green bowling, veteran's
pavilion with community meeting room, two 'teen shelters', public toilets
with disabled access, a visitors centre and a mobile cricket pitch (bookable
In 2000, young people from the neighbourhood who helped raise money
for the games area in Crowcroft Park were awarded the Philip Lawrence
Prize for outstanding achievement by young people.
Located on Hyde Road in Gorton, this
park along with nearby Debdale Park, serves a large proportion of East
Manchester residents. Gorton Park Community Play Centre is a major Day
Nursery in the district. A Friends of Gorton Park Group exists, but
little is known by this author.
We would like to obtain more information
about this park - if you have any, please email
Not so much a park nowadays - more a
play area. Located in Whalley Range adjacent to Park Drive, this small
grassed play area, with a simple football pitch, and referred to locally
as "The Rec", is an important play area for local children.
Flanked by an avenue of tall trees, bordered by a row of small shops.
In October 1882 Manchester Golf Club's eight founder members played
their first round of golf over a small nine-hole course of some 1856
yards at Manley Park. A sum of £25,000 has recently been acquired
through the work of the Friends of Manley Park for its refurbishment,
and the creation of new kickabout area for children.
Manley Park was built as a magnificent estate in the 1860s for Samuel
Mendel, one of Manchester's foremost cotton traders. Originally, when
its superb park and pleasure gardens were open to the public they consisted
of over 80 acres with ornamental lakes and reputedly the country's finest
After Samuel Mendel lost his fortune, the park was sold off piecemeal
for development and his fine house was abandoned and eventually demolished.
In its heyday it was regarded as one of the most magnificent in the
north of England.
We are indebted to Neil Roland for supplying much of the information
about Manley Park.
Cheetham Park lies within the Cheetham
Hill district of Manchester M8, bordering on the A6010 Elizabeth Steet.
Once a fashionable and affluent Victorian suburb, the area is now surrounded
on three sides by local industry. Despite its somewhat rundown condition,
the result of long neglect, there have been substantial efforts to refurbish
and resurrect it in recent times. At its north end is a playground and
basketball courts. There are two bandstands which once held sway to
regular and popular Sunday afternoon concerts.
Following consultation with the local community, new multi-sport ends
have been installed in the park. Further consultation will take place
with the local community before any future developments are undertaken.
Manchester Leisure want to set up a Friends of Cheetham Park Group.
Recently, the Salvation Army set up the Cheetham Hill Project, and Task
Force volunteers cleaned up the park, weeding (even pulling up small
trees that were not supposed to be there!), repainting the bandstands,
goalposts and railings and litter-picking.
Crumpsall Park is located on Ash Tree
Road in Crumpsall in a densely populated area and is a focal point for
the community on land that was once earmarked as a cemetery, before
the idea was abandoned in favour of parkland. Originally part of the
area known as the Forest of Blackley, which encompassed the River Irk
in the days of pre-industrial Manchester, it is managed by staff from
Boggart Hole Clough (see above). This is one of Manchesters older
parks, opened in the1890s and was one of the first to provide open space
for leisure and sport. It has childrens' play roundabouts, and a basketball
court where the children can play football. The Park hosts two distinctive
landmarks - the famous Obelisk Monument, which was originally situated
in Market Street in Manchester City Centre, and an impressive Park Keepers
Lodge, which was built with the Park in 1890. The Lodge now houses a
toddlers child care facility.
The site measures around 4.45 hectare (11 acres) and is a multi-leisure
activity site. It holds regular community summertime Fundays, cycle
races and sport activities for children. As an example, during Easter
2005, organised activities included circus skills, mask-making, donkey
rides, bird-box making, Easter egg hunting and other outdoor activities.
The Friends of Crumpsall Park, based in the Park Building, help in the
organisation of events. Recent investment has resulted in a newly planted
wildflower area, and in conjunction with the Friends, Manchester City
Council have made significant efforts to return the Park to its former
Victorian glory - this year it achieved a Green Flag Award.
This 48 Acre Park (19.43 Hectares) located
on Fog Lane in Didsbury, Manchester 20, was purchased by the town planning
committee in 1926, one of the first public parks in Manchester. The
Park reputedly got its name from a species of grass, commonly known
as Yorkshire Fog, which still grows throughout the park. The original
design for the park planned for 14 football pitches, hockey pitches,
24 tennis courts, and two bowling greens. It also once included a sunken
bandstand which was replaced by the Rose Garden. Its numerous flower
beds and borders include 36 different varieties of Rhododendrons around
the rose garden perimeter.
About one-third of an acre of the park is reserved for the growth of
wild flowers, which attract innumerable insect species which include
butterflies and dragonflies. Their presence almost certainly accounts
for the wide variety of birds which nest in the park (these include
mallards, moorhens, Canada geese, kestrels, wood pigeons, coots and
an occasional heron).
The park has an extnsive range of trees and shrubs, including Dawn Redwood,
Silver Birch, Laburnums and Flowing Crabs as well as many old mature
trees like Hornbeam, Alder, Poplar, Norway Maple and Indian Bean. Currently,
Park f acilities include a park office and visitors centre, a pond area,
six full size football pitches and one junior pitch, two bowling greens
with a veteran's pavilion, seven tennis courts, one basketball court,
as 'kickabout' area, changing rooms with showers and toilet facilities,
children's playground for junior and under-fives and an on-site car
park. There is a regular mobile security patrol in operation.
The Friends of Fog Lane Park, a voluntary group of civic spirited local
citizens, formed to restore the park to its full former glory and secure
its future as an attractive and social community facility by the creation
of a high quality, flexible, secure and attractive venue for a wide
range of events. These could include exhibitions, meetings, workshops,
parties, talks, entertainments, concerts etc, with low running costs,
so that the park could become self-financing and sustainable.
... End of Topic].