Queen’s Park is a small Victorian urban park of approximately four hectares. Its ornamental layout includes walks, flowerbeds and shrubberies. It is also well-wooded.
- Brief History
Plans for a municipal park were discussed in 1894. Queen's Park was opened in 1899, and named in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Further additions of structures and land were made throughout the early-20th century. The council implemented a programme of events between 2006 and July 2008 in a bid to achieve a Green Flag Award, which was won in 2008.
- Visitor Facilities
The park is open daily until one hour after dusk.
- Detailed Description
Postcards from our Postcard Library:
Queen's Park is laid out ornamentally. Its features include walks, flowerbeds, shrubberies and woodland. There is a 'figure-of-eight' walk that passes alongside a watercourse, which is spanned by a stone bridge. There is also another, smaller lake. The dominant feature of the park is the Carillon Tower, which is a war memorial. There is a bandstand in the centre of the park, and the park is home to the Charnwood Museum.
Description: The Memorial Baths were first opened as public baths on 10 August 1898. The building is constructed of local red brick with slate roofs. Ruabon terracotta tiles were used to embellish the building. The building has an ecclesiastical form. The main building is flanked by lean-to aisles and capped by a narrow clerestory that lets light into the bathing hall. In 1998 work started to convert the building into a museum. The Charnwood Museum in the Queen's Hall was opened on 2 April 1999.
Description: The Carillon Tower is a war memorial dedicated to the Loughborough men who were killed during the First World War. The foundation stone was laid on 22 January 1922 and the building was unveiled on 22 July 1923. The building is in a classical style. It is of red brick on a Portland stone base of about 8.5 metres square. It is surmounted by a copper bell storey carrying an octagonal parapet and lantern. The tower has a full height of 46 metres. The belfry contains 47 bells which were cast at Taylor's Bell Foundry in Loughborough. Public subscriptions raised #7,000 for the cost of the bells. The original music for the Carillon was called 'Memorial Chimes' and was composed by Sir Edward Elgar.
Description: The bandstand was presented to the Corporation by Councillor W. H. Wootton. It was opened by the High Sheriff of Leicestershire on 6 September 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
Description: A 14.63-metre-long aviary was opened in 1955. It was divided into three sections to house different varieties of budgerigars and foreign birds. It was originally located by the lake but was moved to its present position, next to the museum in the 1980s.
Description: The Swan maze was created in 1992. The route of the maze is formed by beige-coloured pavers set in red gravel. In the centre is the figure of a swan in an ornamental wrought-iron gazebo. David Tarver carved the swan from stone.
Description: A stone bridge spanning one of the watercourses.
Description: A narrow linear lake was created on the site of an earlier lake.
- Access & Directions
The park is open daily until one hour after dusk.
Queen's Park is in the middle of Loughborough, between Granby Street and Browns Lane. From the M1, junction 23, take the A512 towards Loughborough. At roundabout with Epinal Way take third exit, signed Leicester. At the next roundabout, take first exit, Forest Road. The park is on the left-hand side with parking close by. There are buses to the town centre from Loughborough railway station.
- Detailed History
In 1894 the Borough of Loughborough Jubilee Committee discussed plans to acquire part of the Island House Estate to create a municipal park. Mr F. R. Griggs sold four acres (1.6 hectares) of the estate at a cost of £1,500. The park was called Queen's Park in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
Further donations were made by citizens of Loughborough in 1897. Plans were also made to build municipal baths within the park. The baths were opened in 1898 along with the Volunteer Drill Hall.
Queen's Park was officially opened on 7 June 1899, two years after the Diamond Jubilee. An Ordnance Survey map dating from 1901 shows that one acre (0.4 hectares) of the park was taken up by the Memorial Baths and Volunteer Drill Hall. This left three acres (1.2 hectares) of park with an ornamental pool.
In 1902 a bandstand was presented to the borough to commemorate the Coronation of Edward VII. It was erected on a site opposite the baths, but moved in 1908 to its present location towards the centre of the park.
By 1904 the park had two entrances from Granby Street. A 'figure-of-eight' walk was laid out in the Picturesque style. The ornamental pool remained and was crossed by a rustic bridge.
The park corporation acquired an additional six acres (2.4 hectares) in 1908. New paths were made and trees planted. Between 1908 and 1918 a second lake and stream were created. The soil from this excavation was used to create a raised table for a bowling green.
In 1916 a final area of land was purchased by the borough thus creating the park that can be seen today (2008). The land was acquired from the site of the old Bleach Yard from the adjoining Dye Works.
Early in 1918 the Mayor of Loughborough decided to erect a war memorial for those who had fought and died during the First World War. It was proposed that it should take the form of a carillon tower because of Loughborough's worldwide reputation for bell-making. The foundation stone was laid in 1922 and the memorial was unveiled in 1923. It was also at this time that formal paths were laid out around the memorial. These contrasted with the earlier, Picturesque-style park. In 1928 the ornamental bridges were also changed to stone to match in with the Carillon Tower.
In 1955 an aviary was opened and stocked by the Loughborough Budgerigar and Foreign Bird Society. This was later moved to its present location by the Memorial Baths during the 1980s. Also during the 1980s a lake with an island was removed and replaced with the present (2008) much narrower linear watercourse. The island had provided refuge for waterfowl, which largely disappeared from the park with the change. The lake was also fully fenced, but this was also removed.
From 2006 to 2007 Charnwood Borough Council began a series of developments in a bid to achieve a Green Flag Award. These plans are due to be completed in 2008.
- Associated People
G. H. Barrowcliffe