Pastimes in the Park

The 1930s

Bowling took place on the twin bowling greens in the Park until the 21st century. The Harris Museum holds a number of framed photographs of bowling teams at the Park, and in some cases apparently representing the Park at 'away' matches. Some of the pictures are on flickr. The bowling pavilions can still be seen.

An open-air swimming pool was built with money donated by Councillor John J. Ward, and opened in 1932. It was closed in 1987, Someone who used the baths recalls that the male and female changing rooms met in the middle, where they were divided by a wall through which illicit spy holes were made. There are some photos of the baths on flickr.

On 24th March 1934 an aviary, presented by Councillor John J. Ward, was officially opened. It was closed in the 1970s or 80s. A photo from the opening is available on flickr.

An area of land in the Park was set aside for allotments in 1931.

The Second World War and after

During the Second World War, in response to the 'Dig for Victory' campaign, much of the grass was dug up to allow fruit and vegetables to be grown. Additional permanent allotments were provided west of Savick Brook (where the waste water tank is now), this became known as the 'new site', and the original allotments (which were extended to and across the brook) were referred to as the 'old site'. There was much friendly rivalry between allotment holders on the two sites. Some of the allotments suffered from flooding when winter rains caused the brook to burst its bank. Now the original 'old site' is once again the only group of allotments in the Park. Like all of Preston Council's allotment sites, these allotments are currently fully utilised and there is a waiting list for prospective tenants.

Ariel photography taken by the Luftwaffe appear to show, in addition to the allotments, that the large area of mown grass was used as a hay meadow during the War.

During the 1950s, 60s and early 70s the Savick and Sharoe Brooks were badly polluted, and rats and horse leeches flourished. Nowadays the water is of much better quality and the brooks, as well as the lake and the canal contain many types of fish which in turn attract a variety of wildlife as well as fishermen. Water levels in the brooks rise swiftly when heavy rain falls over the hills. The original bridge over the Savick Brook near the site of Bostocks Farm was at some stage demolished and replaced by the present bridge which presents less of an obstacle to the stream when it is in flood. Trace of the original bridge can still be seen when the water is low.

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