In July, it was #LoveParks week, an initiative by Keep Britain Tidy intended to show 'how much our country loves parks'. As you may or may not know, I'm on the committee of Friends of Crumpsall Park, and I took the lead this year on our #LoveParks activity.
Crumpsall Park is a small urban park in North Manchester, officially opened in 1899. Crumpsall isn't the richest area in the city (though it's not the poorest), and it doesn't always get the best press. In fact, it doesn't always get any press at all, as our local paper is notorious for its lack of reporting on the north side of the city. The best we can usually expect is coverage of crime, complaints about the hospital, and the occasional story about someone being fined for fly-tipping.
Things were very different at the end of the nineteenth century. Crumpsall had only just been incorporated into the City of Manchester, and it was still (in places) quite rural. Having escaped the worst excesses of the Industrial Revolution, Crumpsall was slowly being developed into a city suburb, as new houses were built to accommodate Manchester's workforce - leading to the construction of new schools, shops and parks for the benefit of residents.
At the official opening ceremony of Crumpsall Park in 1899, the Lord Mayor addressed the crowd, acknowledging that, given that Crumpsall was 'more or less in the country', the construction of a new park might seem unnecessary. He added: 'some of [you] might think it was not wanted to-day, but a time would come when [your] successors would say that the Corporation had done well in securing it.'
Crumpsall can no longer (by any stretch of the imagination) be described as 'more or less in the country', and I thought it would be nice to see what the people of today's Crumpsall think of our little park.
So I asked, and this is what they said...