Celebrating our Local Parks

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Sit on a bench in one of our local parks for just half an hour and you’ll see a cross section of our community pass by – joggers, dog walkers, friends meeting for a natter, families, walkers, footballers, bowlers, cyclists, lovers.

But our three main public parks – Kings Heath, Highbury and Moseley – all began life as exclusive preserves of the wealthy.

The formal beds of Kings Heath Park date from 1832 and were once the strolling grounds of MP William Congreve Russell, whose grand house now hosts the Victo-rian Tea Rooms. It remained in private ownership until 1908, when a financial cri-sis prompted its sale to the local council. It’s been a centre for horticultural train-ing since 1953.

Similarly, Highbury Park was originally part of the Chamberlain family’s Highbury Estate and was landscaped to look like a natural wilderness. The Chamberlain family believed that food should be as fresh as possible and managed a farm on the estate – a tradition continued to this day by the Birmingham and District Bee-keepers Association and Highbury Orchard Community. The land was gifted to the city of Birmingham from 1916 onwards for ‘the benefit of the people of Birming-ham’.

Moseley Park originally formed part of the grounds of Moseley Hall, but was sepa-rated from the rest of the estate when Salisbury Road was built in 1896. The land was bought by a group of businessmen on condition that it would remain an un-spoilt park. To this day it is managed by local people and is free for anyone to visit for the day. It also contains the estate’s 200 year old ice house, one of the best preserved ice houses in the Midlands, which is regularly open to the public.

They may have been created as playgrounds for the privileged few, but the lawns and lakes, borders and bowling greens of our wonderful local parks are now open for the whole community to enjoy.

by Alexandra Taylor

Highbury Park Friends:
highburyparkfriends.org.uk

Moseley Park & Pool:
moseleypark.co.uk

Kings Heath Park:
birmingham.gov.uk/kingsheathpark

2016-12-02T10:54:58+00:00