Stanley Park, Blackpool


Stanley Park, Blackpool

Stanley Park is a municipal park in the town of Blackpool on the Fylde coast in the county of Lancashire, England. It is the largest park in the town, bounded by a roughly circular perimeter of 2.2 miles (3.54km) and covering an area of 256 acres (104 hectares). It is located near the geographical centre of the town to the south of the district of Layton.

History

As early as 1920, former Blackpool Mayor and Member of Parliament (MP) Sir Albert Lindsay Parkinson acquired a large area of land, intending to develop it into a park with the help of the town council. The council subsequently took over the land and the project, further extending the area by purchasing and demolishing some of the surrounding buildings. The task of designing the park was given to the distinguished landscape architects TH Mawson and Sons. And much of the work was handled by the founder's son Edward Mawson as his father's health began to falter. The park's golf course was designed by the famous partnership of Harry Shapland Holt and Dr Alastair Mackenzie, who also created the nearby Blackpool North Shore and Royal Lytham and St. Annes courses. The park was finally declared open on 2nd October 1926 by the 17th Earl of Derby, Sir George Edward Villiers Stanley. It is named in honour of his father, the former Governor General of Canada, Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC who, from 1885 to 1886, had been the first MP for the newly created Blackpool Parliamentary Constituency having been, for 20 years before that, one of the MPs for the larger constituency of which Blackpool had then been part.

Since 1995, Stanley Park has had Grade II status (as an historically important garden) on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and is currently undergoing extensive restoration with the help of National Lottery funding. Despite its age, the park was still the most recent park development in Blackpool until 2006 when George Bancroft Park was opened.

Facilities

The park is designed with all main paths leading out radially from the circular Italian garden at the centre. At the very centre is a fountain surrounded by a number of flowerbeds and small statues. The steps leading down to this garden from the north are flanked by two ornamental lions believed to have belonged initially to Pope Leo X and, therefore, were created around the year 1500.

In the park's eastern quadrant is a large lake which is home to many water birds and is used for boating and fishing. The lake contains islands reserved exclusively for wildlife. Around the lake are situated a "trim trail" (open-air exercise facility), a bandstand with a large amphitheatre, a small crazy golf course and one of the park's two elaborate rose gardens.

The northern quadrant of the park is dominated by the 18-hole golf course which is home to an established golf club, although non-members are also permitted to play. This area also contains the larger of the two rose gardens, six bowling greens and the park's central cafe. The cafe, "Lidstones", is housed in an art deco building which has recently been reactivated after years of disuse by the family who originally operated it from the 1920s. The cafe is close to a car park at the end of a road, "Mawson Drive", leading from the main gate. Adjoining the car park is the visitors' centre, opened on 24th August 2005 by the 19th Earl of Derby.

The western quadrant is the site of a 5000-seater cricket ground, home to Blackpool Cricket Club. Stanley Park Sports Arena (which hosts a number of athletics competitions) and the Blackpool sports centre, containing three halls, gym and climbing wall, are located to the south of the cricket ground and this area also contains a putting green, table tennis tables and a conservatory.

Staying on a sporting theme, Blackpool F.C., the town's professional football club, called Stanley Park's athletic grounds its home between 1897 and 1899, prior to moving to its current Bloomfield Road address. Calley, Roy (1992). "Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887-1992"]

The southern quadrant is dominated by playing fields but is also the location of a children's play area and the Blackpool Model Village. The Model Village is an open air ornamental village in miniature and, while not directly accessible from within the park, is enclosed inside its perimeter to the southeast. A clock tower, a memorial to Blackpool's first Mayor, Dr William Cocker, is to the south of the central fountain. Tennis courts, Astro-Turf pitches and a skateboard park are also to be found in the southern part of the park.

Location

Stanley Park is surrounded on all sides by roads named "North Park Drive", "South Park Drive", "East Park Drive" and "West Park Drive". The residential area immediately surrounding the park is one of the more affluent parts of Blackpool and most of the houses are relatively large. Although the park is normally considered to be bounded by the "Park Drives", the golf course actually continues on the far side of "East Park Drive" and the Salisbury Woodland Gardens whose stream feeds the park's lake is also in this location. Blackpool Zoo and Blackpool Victoria hospital are to the east of the park; the zoo in particular is easily accessible from the park's main paths.

Events

Blackpool Council and the Friends of Stanley Park organise a large programme of historical and nature walks and talks as well as sporting activities, musical events and children's entertainment. An events brochure can be picked up from the Stanley Park Visitor Center, libraries and Tourist Information Centers.

While the lake is not suitable for sports, most of Stanley Park's other sporting facilities are more than adequate for a variety of local sporting events. The cricket ground hosts intra-county games and some first class matches and is also used for a well-attended annual Fireworks display. Local theatre groups use the park's pleasant scenery for outdoor performances. The playing fields are floodlit by night and are used by many local clubs and schools and for local tournaments. The bandstand hosts a number of public performances, mainly by local bands, during the summer months. The athletics track and field is regularly used by local senior schools for yearly school games.

ee also

*Stanley Park, Liverpool, UK
*Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada

Other Blackpool Natural Spaces

*Bispham Rock Gardens
*George Bancroft Park, Blackpool
*Kincraig Lake Ecological Reserve
*Kingscote Park, Blackpool
*Moor Park, Blackpool
*Salisbury Woodland Gardens, Blackpool

References

External links

* [http://www.blackpool.gov.uk/ Blackpool Council] - Information and brochure request
* [http://www.friendsofstanleypark.org.uk/ Friends of Stanley Park] - Information and fundraising activities
* [http://www.3piers.com/stanleypark.html Blackpool's Stanley Park] - Stanley Park page at 3piers.com
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/lancashire/360/stanley_park.shtml 360 degree views - Stanley Park] - Panoramic view of the lake/bandstand area at bbc.co.uk
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/lancashire/content/image_galleries/stanley_park_blackpool_frank_gallery.shtml Lancashire in Pictures - Stanley Park] - Photos of Stanley Park on a winter's day at bbc.co.uk
* [http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Grounds/11/326.html Cricket Archive - Stanley Park] - Stanley Park cricket ground at cricketarchive.com
* [http://www.blackpoolmodelvillage.com/ Blackpool Model Village]


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