Parkinson’s Park sits on the hillside behind the old Crompton Parkinson site on Netherfield Road: access is via entrances on Kelcliffe Lane, Greenshaw Terrace, Parkinson Way, Nethercliffe Crescent and Hillside Avenue. This historic area was given to the people of Guiseley to use as a park by Frank & Albert Parkinson in the 1930’s: it has been used for walks, play, and events ever since . Now owned by Bellway Homes, basic maintenance is done by Meadfleet The Friends of Parkinson’s Park CIC (FOPP) was set up to once again make the Park an attractive green space for community use and events, whilst helping to manage its varied natural habitats. On these pages you can read the history, examine the ecology and sign up to follow and comment on progress – as well as tell us your own stories of the park.
After the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 the job started in earnest to ‘win the peace’; key to this was the battle for public health and better living conditions. The country had been shocked at the physical health of the population as men were increasingly called up and then conscripted to the Forces. Poor living conditions, disease and malnourished had taken their toll, and men had to be built up to fighting fitness during their initial training – some never made it passed this stage and have their own commemorations on war memorials.
On 16th December 1918, less than a month after the Armistice, the country held a General Election. This was the first election that many of the fighting men over 21 could actually vote in, as well as the first for women at all. The victory went to a coalition of Lloyd George’s Liberals and the Conservative & Unionist Party. One of their very key messages was to make Britain a Home for Heroes – literally. As quoted in an editorial from the Birmingham Post 9 December 1918.
“These men have saved the Empire, and it is but just that they should inherit it. We at home have to see that it is worthy for them to come back to. In this women have a direct interest. They have kept the home firest burning for their loved ones to return to – often by sacrifices and hardships almost as great as the men have endured away. Many of those homes were not fit for habitation for such men; they must be replaced by worthy ones.”
At the top of the new Government’s list for NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION PRIORITIES was
- “TO SWEEP AWAY THE SLUMS – THEY MUST BE COMPULSORILY DESTROYED AND NEW DWELLINGS ERRECTED”
- SUPPORT FOR THE REVIVAL OF FARMING – JOBS, FOOD, LAND REFORM
So what did Guiseley do? The organizing of the response by public and private sector fell to Guiseley Urban District Council in conjunction with West Riding Council Council. GUDC was served by prominent local figures on various committees including philanthropist Jonathan Peate. There was a case made in the early 1920’s for Leeds and Bradford to both expand and take over the area in order to provide better public services. This would have split Guiseley down the railway line. But, Guiseley, Yeadon, Rawdon and Horsforth fought this hard, and maintained independence until 1974. (The move to an Aireborough Council in 1937 was to strengthen the common resistance to being subsumed, and maintain independence to better serve the unique requirements of this semi-urban area.)
During our research on Parkinson’s Park we uncovered a lot of the perhaps forgotten story of how and why Guiseley developed as a Home for Heroes between 1919 and 1929 in leaving us with the legacy we have today. Parkinson’s Park itself was part of that legacy. In our exhibition we tell some of that story; we will be supported by a display from Guiseley Art Club.
Aireborough Commemorative Garden Nunroyd – Andrew Lawson
There are some wonderful displays of poppies and art work all over the local area that have been planned and executed by countless people over a number of months – from the trail of flowers at Rawdon, to the stunning wall at Otley. In between we have the display in Nunroyd Park at the Aireborough Commemorative Garden, and the art installation of flowers at St Oswalds. Continue reading
As part of the Guiseley Remembers programme of events, Friends of Parkinson’s Park will have a Home for Heroes Exhibition and Coffee Morning on 17th November, 10am – 12 noon, at Whittaker Firth’s Offices, Springfield Court, Guiseley (behind St Gemma’s shop).
If you can donate a tombola or raffle prize to our fund-raising efforts at the coffee morning, please contact Christine Parapia on 07503 180315. Continue reading
This year marks the 100th anniversary since the end of World War I – along with many other places across the country – Guiseley has a programme of events to commemorate the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918, when Germany surrendered unconditionally. The events are a chance to reflect, to fulfil the military covenant, and to quietly say thank you to the First WW generation.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Continue reading
Lots of art in the Park at the moment; done by the public, as well as nature.
- Painted stones to find – picture Becky James
- Woodland leaf patterns
- Inspirational photography – Liakat Parapia– Hawthorn Leaf (Aireborough Camera Club welcomes new members) and Darren Sanderson– Old Chestnut Tree (runs photography walks).
On 1st December we also have the Advent Tree dressing which this year is run by the Little Friends of Parkinson’s Park. Continue reading
Such a shame to see the damage done by the wind on 13th October to one of the old oaks that defines Clapper Brow. The tree is over 100 years old. Meadfleet have been alerted, and a tree surgeon will arrive to work on it soon.
Comment left on Facebook from David Lawson
“It was nice to meet you today at the apple even, no doubt one of your ‘core’ activities. I loved the piece of cake and then enjoyed the walk back over Yeadon Banks to work off the calories. I hope the event was a success for you.”