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.
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.
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.
1995 – A COMMUNITY RISING TO A CHALLENGE
A group of local residents, disillusioned by the minimal maintenance of the park and the anti-social behaviour it was attracting, formed The Heaton Moor Park Action Group (HMPAG), with the aim of restoring the park to its former glory.
MARCH 1996 – BRINGING BACK THE SPARKLE
The HMPAG held their first “workday”, pruning and clearing overgrown shrubs, planting bulbs and greenery.
APRIL 1996 – HMPAG HOST FIRST EASTER EGG HUNT
This would be the first of many events held by the group at the park, including an annual Carols in the Park event and summer fair.
1997 – THE FRIENDS OF HEATON MOOR PARK FORMED
Heaton Moor Park Action Group became The Friends of Heaton Moor Park.
In July of this year, The Friends held a centenary celebration in the park to mark the 100 years that the park had been enjoyed by local residents.
1998 – FIRST FRIENDS' COMMUNITY SURVEYS
Surveys showed people’s aspirations for the existing tennis and bowls provision to be supplemented by children’s play areas, new park railings, seats, flowers and a management presence.
1999 – DETERIORATION DESPITE EFFORTS BY FRIENDS
Despite the efforts of The Friends, the park’s tennis courts fell into disuse due to a lack of nets; and benches, walls and other fittings in the park fell into decline and disrepair through vandalism and wear.
2000 - STOCKPORT METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL MILLENNIUM GRANT WON
The Grant was awarded to clear the derelict base of the old greenhouse. Three more years of fundraising ensued to raise money to build the Toddler Play Area in this quadrant of the park.
2002 – LOTTERY NATIONAL HERITAGE GRANT APPLICATION
Friends of Heaton Moor Park applied for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant which would allow for total renovation of park facilities and landscaping. Unfortunately the application was not put forward by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
2003 – Clover Leaf Green becomes open use area
Due to a lack of funding, a decision was made to cease the high level of maintenance required to keep the Clover Leaf Green as a usable bowling green.
2004 – Toddler Play Area opens
The group was successful in gaining grants from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Living Spaces, Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund, as well as matched funding from SMBC. This enabled the group to build a toddler play area on the site of the old greenhouse. The play area officially opened 5 September 2004.
2005- Railings Resurrected
After further fund raising, railings and gates to be installed around two quadrants of the park. Some paths were also restored.
2007- Community Parks Officer
As a result of campaigning and representation from the Friends, Tom Kay was appointed as Community Parks Officer at Heaton Moor Park. This was the first time the park had dedicated local authority presence since the cuts of the 1980s.
2007 – Heritage Lottery Funding – A Second Shot
An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was resubmitted, aiming for full restoration of Heaton Moor Park.
2008 – Plans for Tennis Court rejuvenation go forward
Despite securing £40,000 to support the planning necessary to make a bid for £1.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the group found out in September 2008 that they had not been successful in their second attempt. However, efforts immediately turned to fundraising and putting together plans and applications for work on the tennis court quadrant.
2008 – 2009 – Woodland Walk
Friends of Heaton Moor Park obtained funding from BBC Breathing Places for the development of a Woodland Walk in the wooded area of the Clover Leaf Quadrant. In August 2008, landscape architects Randall Thorp began work on one of their company Team Days. After a series of intense workdays, the Woodland Walk was completed in 2009. It incorporates a bulb area, bird nesting boxes and specially carved wooden sculptures.
2010 – Cause for Celebration - many improvements finalised
Work began in January 2010 on a new tennis court, a picnic area and ball play facility. The replacement of railings (taken down during WWII) was finally completed, with funds secured by Friends of Heaton Moor Park. This had taken 18 months and much hard work fundraising led by Pauline Randall, with support from SMBC.
Funds were received from the following sources:
- Groundwork Community Spaces (Big Lottery)
- Foundation for Sport and the Arts
- Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund
- SITA Trust
- Grassroots Fund
- Rotary Club of Stockport Lamplighter
- SMBC Reddish and 4 Heatons Flexibility Fund
- SMBC developers commuted sums
Local hero and NBA basketball player John Amaechi officially opened these facilities on 1st May 2010.
March 2011 – Rockery completed
The rockery at the Elms Road gate was completed over several work days.
March 2011- Friends Gate gates locking plan
SK Solutions stopped providing gate locking services. In response, the Friends organised the locking and unlocking of the 4 gates on a rota system, with the help of local residents. This continued until 2016.
April 2011 - Friends Web site developed
Friends of Heaton Moor Park opened a website to offer information about the park and the future of this much loved green space. www.heatonmoorpark.co.uk
August 2011 - Knitting Friends Group formed
The knitting group started life in August 2011 and continues to meet weekly in the pavilion throughout the year, on Fridays between 10:00 and 12:00.
Refreshments are provided for a small donation to support of the Friends of Heaton Moor Park.
September 2011 - Green Flag Award
The Green Flag Award Scheme was launched in 1996 and provides a benchmark for the best green spaces in the country. Any spaces that are open to the public and free to enter are eligible to apply.SMBC made an appliction for this award to the Park with support from the Friends of Heaton Moor Park. Heaton Moor Park was awarded the Green Flag in September 2011.
November 2011 - Noticeboard installed
The funding for this addition to the park came from the Friends and from the Heatons and Reddish Area Committee and is a welcome addition to the park used specifically for Friends’ news and information.
Year of 2012 - Benches, trees and chains
This year saw the Friends provide the funds for the addition of 7 new benches, 3 birch trees, summer and winter bedding and spring bulbs around the park, along with shrubs and plants for the circular bed.
Posts and chains were added to access paths to the bowling green.
January 2013 - Knitting Friends donate a bench to the park
Fundraising through ‘elevenes’ cake sales at the regular Friday Knitting Friends gathering enabled the group to donate a bench to the park, which is located outside the bowling pavilion.
January 2013 - Moor Running Friends started
Free running fitness sessions for all ages and abilities started in Heaton Moor Park on 19th January 2013, taking place every Saturday at 11am for one hour. The sessions are delivered by Chris Hodkinson who is a qualified Run England / UK Athletics’ Run Group Leader.
February 2013 - Addition of yew hedge
A yew hedge was planted in the flower bed along the path leading from Peel Moat Road.
March 2013 - Friends join Facebook and Twitter
The Friends get social with a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
May 2013 - t.stop starts
The weekly t.stop cafe started to serve a wonderful range of cakes and drinks at the pavilion and this continued into 2015.
November 2013 - Decorative obelisks add to park ambience
The Knitting Friends donated two obelisks to the park.
January 2014 - Friends bid farewell to a driving force for Heaton Moor Park
John and Carol Yeomans, who had been started the original Park Action Group and contributed massively to the success of the Friends of Heaton Moor park, decided to take their retirement years elsewhere and left the Heaton Moor area. They were passionate about the park and supported with unstinting energy and generosity the efforts of the Friends to secure the future and beauty of this very special park.
July 2014 - Professional gardening services commissioned
Due to budget cuts, the council severely cut back horticultural services to the park. To help close this gap, the Friends commissioned work by a professional gardener twice a month. This uses around £2,000 of our Funds each year.