The Park: 1894-1995

  • Posted on: 10 August 2014
  • By: Maria Novelly

Beginnings

In 1894, Lord Egerton of Tatton donated approximately 4 acres of land to Heaton Norris District Council. The land was placed into a charitable trust for the free use and enjoyment of the public for play, pleasure and recreation. This became Heaton Moor Park and the official opening took place on 17 July 1897 to coincide with Queen Victoria’s diamon d jubilee celebrations.

Over the next few years, the park developed into an attractive open space for local residents providing for their enjoyment: two bowling greens, three tennis courts, a croquet lawn, formal flower beds, a bandstand, a greenhouse and a pavilion.

The park land itself

Little is known about the area of land where Heaton Moor Park now stands. An OS map detailing the proposed site of the park shows an area of open land, thought to be part of a large moor or heath. Heaton Moor at this time was surrounded by open fields and farmland – a far cry from the the built up suburb we know today.

1894 – A Gift of Land

The local Recreation Grounds Committee met to view the piece of land that would become Heaton Moor Park. The land was a gift from local landowner and philanthropist Lord Egerton.

1894 – Work Begins

Plans were produced and a successful application was made to the local government for funding to build the park. The local authority began work on the park.

1897 – A Grand Opening

The park was officially opened as part of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee celebrations. The opening ceremony included the opening of the park gates with a golden key by Mr. Thomas Shann, chairman of the Recreation Grounds committee.

1903 – Bowling Green

Following several requests for bowling facilities, a bowling green was opened in 1903.

1907 – Tennis and Croquet

Also popular sports of the time, tennis courts and a croquet lawn were built.

1910- A Unique Addition

Bowling continued to be a popular sport and another green was built.

1914-1918 – WWI Training Ground

The park’s playground was used by the Heaton Moor Home Defence Corps for drilling.

1922 – A Well Established Park

An OS map published showed the park as well established, with bowling greens, tennis courts, a green house, fish pond and even a drinking fountain.

1923 – Park’s Guardian Dies

Sir Thomas Thornhill Shann died. He played a key role in the development and upkeep of the flourishing park.

1939-1945 – Park Supports WWII Efforts

The park’s playing field was dug up and used for growing vegetables. The iron railings which marked the park’s perimeter were taken down to support the wartime drive for scrap metal.

1947 – The Wellington Veterans

The Wellington Veterans bowling club was founded, followed by a ladies bowling club 8 years later.

1981 – Britain in Bloom

Stockport Council won Britain in Bloom for Heaton Moor Park. At this time the park shared the services of 4 permanent gardeners with local schools.

1986 – Government Cuts

Local Government reorganisation increased the administrative area and duties of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, and shortly afterwards ‘Compulsory Competitive Tendering’ was introduced. This had a major effect on the way the park was maintained.

1989 – Park’s Greenhouse Demolished

Following a lack of maintenance, and eventually vandalism and disrepair, the park’s greenhouse – an emblem of the horticultural oasis the park had once been –  was demolished.

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