Were the copses planted for the Festival of Britain?

Poster for the Festival of Britain

It has been suggested that the two copses in the Park were planted for the Festival of Britain, and that is why they are somwhat triangular in shape.   We would love to find out from photographs or memories if this could possibly be the case.

The Festival of Britain was in 1951; its aim was to raise the nation’s spirits after the second world war by celebrating British culture and ingenuity.  At it’s heart was a large exhibition showcasing British  achievements in art, design science and industry.  The chosen site of the exhibition was the bomb damaged South Bank in London, near Waterloo Station; now the site of the Royal Festival Hall.

We know the copses were probably planted between 1950 and 1953,  and that Crompton Parkinson, being a leading British company, was deeply involved in the Festival Exhibition.  We also know that the first Crompton Parkinson Horticultual Show was held in 1951; and that nationally there was a lot of concern at the time about the loss of trees and hedges to ‘modern agriculture’; to such an extent that it was debated in Parliament.  Many areas of the country planted festival avenues, gardens and copses.  The interesting point about the location of the lower copse, is that it is directly in the line of site of the main entrance to the factory,  see the arial photograph from the early 1950’s.

An alternative celebration around that time would be the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  It would be lovely for the history of the Park if we could tie the copse planting down to one of these events – so please let us know if you have any further ideas or evidence.

About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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