The Creation of Alexandra Park, Hoole, 1900-1913
In July 1900 Hoole Urban District Council decided to consult its ratepayers in order to create a Public Park and Recreation Ground.
As a result, under the terms of the 1875 Public Health Act, Hoole Urban District Council purchased a plot of land from Thomas Bater and William Williams ‘containing 6 acres, and 37 perches’ to form Hoole Public Park, which was opened by Mr. Robert Yerburgh, local Member of Parliament on 7th May 1904.
Robert Yerburgh, it was reported in the Chester Courant, opened the gate to Hoole Park with a silver key which had been presented to him.
The township of Hoole was developing rapidly: by 1899 three hundred houses a year were being built and the population was increasing. Because a park and recreation ground for the benefit and recreation of the residents and children was seen as an important improvement, after 1904 there were plans to extend the very popular park, at the public expense, almost immediately.
In 1910, the Council purchased a further three acres of land between the established Public Park and Hoole Road. Before 1908, Canadian Avenue was not a through road; it was laid from Hoole Lane to the corner of the Public Park. There was a suggestion that the through road could be named ‘Park Road’, because it would run along the frontage of the land which the Council eventually purchased to extend the park in 1910.
Hoole Urban District Council drew up a set of covenants with landowner Cecil Plumbe Smith. The agreement described what the park would contain, including its set of buildings, upon completion. These covenants remain in force today and bind the land to being used as the park in perpetuity.
Ambitious plans for the park and recreation ground extension, which included a bowling green, formally laid out beds and buildings (the park keeper’s lodge, pavilion, and conveniences) and railings were drawn up.
By 1911, the bowling green, paths and beds were laid out. On 9th January the first park keeper, Mr. Arthur Ellis from Westminster Road, was appointed. He became responsible for opening and closing and maintaining the park, and for enforcing the Council’s by-laws. However, the Park Keeper’s Lodge, bowls pavilion and conveniences remained to be completed.
The Urban District Council had always intended to ask permission of Her Majesty Queen Alexandra to name Hoole Public Park ‘The Alexandra Park’ so on 27th May 1911 the Council wrote to Her Majesty expressing “our deep loyalty and devotion” and asking her “gracious permission” to do so.
On 1st June Sir Arthur Davidson replied on Alexandra’s behalf: “Her Majesty has the greatest pleasure in giving permission for the Public Park in Hoole to be named after her, as it is always a pleasure to her to think that her name is associated with anything that adds to the benefit or welfare of the people. Her Majesty trusts that the new public park will prove a source of health and happiness to all the residents and children, for whose benefit and recreation it is intended”.
On Friday 23rd June 1911, Mrs. Williams, wife of Hoole Urban District Councillor William Williams, officially opened the renamed ‘Alexandra Park’.
This took place during the Hoole Coronation festivities which commenced on Thursday 22nd June to mark the Coronation of Alexandra’s son, King George V and his wife Queen Mary.
Alexandra was styled "Her Majesty Queen Alexandra" following the death of her husband King Edward VII in 1910: in 1911 she remained highly popular with the British people, as she continued the public side of her life, which had started when she became Princess of Wales. She had opened bazaars, attended concerts, and visited hospitals, often on behalf of her mother-in-law, Queen Victoria. She devoted much time to her many charitable causes.
The Lodge, bowls pavilion and conveniences (one ‘Ladies’, one 'Gentlemen’s,' both free) were completed in 1913.
Then Hoole (Alexandra Park) Bowling Club came into being.
Alexandra Park, formed by Hoole Urban District Council for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and the children of Hoole, is, arguably the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the District Council’s legacy to the residents of Hoole today.
- Article by Linda Webb, some parts of which were initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in January 2016 - http://www.hooleroundabout.com
- The photograph is one of a set given to Hoole History and Heritage Society by Mr Martin Williams, whose full name is Mr Martin Prescott Williams. He is the grandson of William Williams and Louise (nee Prescott) Williams