Development of a 20th Century Park

We have acquired a number of pictures of the Park as it developed over the years.

This is the earliest picture we have of the Park taken around 1926 just before F & A Parkinson merged with Crompton & Co to form Crompton Parkinson’s. The Park is still grazing fields, some belonged to Kelcliffe Farm, and some to Dibb’s a local grocer. You can see the field walls and a small pump house near where the top copse is now – the ground there still gets very wet. The area with the trees was called Clapper Brow with a link to an historic rabbit warren. The large field had been called Potterton Brow after a 16th/17th century tenant.

This is probably the late 1930s (we think 1938) just as the Parkinsons had managed to purchase all the fields to make the Park. You can see the line of oaks on the right that now go up through the woodland area. Also the path that has been laid, perhaps from the old stone from the walls. The famous Lamp Works has now been built.

This is possibly the late 1940s. You can see the tennis courts have just been made. Frank Parkinson died suddenly in 1946 and left a legacy to look after staff and build up facilities for them to use. This was carried out by Albert Parkinson. In the top left, the Kelcliffe Estate is building up, many of the people worked at the factory – including Norman Winfield who is now remembered in one of the benches, given by his daughter Barbara.

This may be the early 1960s. You can see the bottom copse on the right that looks like an outline of Guiseley, and a tiny bit of the top copse, outline like Yeadon – both done early 1950s; possibly for the Festival of Britain. You can also see the cricket field on what is now the Redrow Estate.

This is the 1980s; a car park has been extended from the tennis courts and a slice taken out of the hillside (Clapper Brow) which has taken some of the oak tree line. The woodland was planted at this time to help stabilise the steep bank and make a nicer area.

Here is the famous Lamp Works being knocked down in 2006. Picture taken from the Park.

Demolition of Crompton Parkinsons – 2006

Here is the state the Park had got into by 2011 when FOPP was formed to try and get something done about it.

The Park in 2017 is owned by Bellway Homes, and managed for basic maintenance by Meadfleet  – the funding for this comes from the annual management charge levied on the Bellway estate residents.  The Park has a regular mowing regime and management plan run by Meadfleet, whilst FOPP raise funds and add features to the Park with the permission of the owners .  Many local residents help with tidy-up work, the mending of walls, the eradication of anti-social behaviour, planting and upkeep, and community events. Research on the Park’s history has been helped by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the work of FOPP members.

Parks are an important feature of communities and a Government Report has recently found

 “The UK’s parks and public green spaces are extremely popular and essential facilities for local neighbourhoods providing a wide range of unique benefits for all sections of our communities. Despite this they are facing an underfunding crisis and an uncertain future. The good management of these spaces should be a statutory duty, and they should be properly funded and protected.” 

In addition, an appeal has gone out to Friends from the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces

Your local parks/green spaces have their own specific issues and needs which ought to be heard and addressed.  With over 6,000 local Friends Groups around the UK and millions of park lovers, this is a growing and powerful force and we encourage you to publicly raise the profile of your local parks and the benefits that they afford your local communities.  Your group can influence future MPs and political parties who will make funding and other decisions that will impact your local parks. Please consider writing to your local newspapers too, joining radio phone-ins, and spreading ideas on social media.”

FOPP as a Community Interest Company will continue to promote the Park and work to make improvements and conserve its heritage.  If you would like to join us email   There are also local Friends’ Groups for Nunroyd Park, Engine Fields and High Royds Chapel.

Frank Parkinson, Albert and Michael Parkinson


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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