Park Origins 1908-10

In 1908 Miss Mary Haslam presented the town of Preston with an estate comprising 46 acres farmland, to be laid out as a 'public park, with the condition that a large part should always be reserved for quiet recreation apart from games'.

Miss Haslam's gift was made in memory of her father, John Haslam, a mill-owner who in his lifetime acquired a reputation as 'the champion of everyone in distress'. The gift of the land was reported in the Preston Guardian, 21st November 1908.

Preston Corporation obtained borrowing powers for £6,000 'for the levelling of the land, the main drainage, the construction of main avenue entrances, lodge, and provision for fencing and shrubberies'.

In March 1910 'during the progress of these works', Miss Hallam presented an additional 33 acres on the north side of Savick Brook, which she had intended to give the town in her will. This was reported in the Preston Guardian 26th March 1910.

According to words cut into the right hand stone pillar of the main entrance gate, the Park was opened to the public in 1910- while work continued. It seems that there was no official ceremony to mark the opening - perhaps because work was unfinished, perhaps because Miss Hallam didn't want such a ceremony (in which she would surely have been expected to play a prominent part) to take place.

Draft bye-laws and regulations governing the use of the park by the public, dated 1910, exist: [Draft] Bye-Laws and Regulations for the Government of Haslam Park. [1910). Harris Library Local Collection Q41 PrRE]

A drinking fountain presented Councillor W.G. Makinson in January 1911 can still be seen beside the avenue lime trees.

Originally published by FoHP with PCC Parks Section. Researched and written by Philip Pacey. With thanks to Preston Museum & Art Gallery and Lancashire Records Office.