Philips Park, Clayton
|Location||Clayton, Manchester, England|
|Area||31 acres (13 ha)|
|Operated by||Manchester City Council|
Philips Park was opened in 1846, making it one of the world's first municipal parks. The establishment of the park was largely due to the efforts of Mark Philips, a local MP committed to creating parks for the use of the working people of the city. Thanks in large part to Philips' campaigning, in 1844 the Committee for Public Walks, Gardens and Playgrounds was set up, and £6,200 of the money they raised by public subscription was used to purchase land from Lady Hoghton on the site of Bradford Hall in the Clayton township. Philips Park, named in honour of Mark Philips, was one of two public parks in Manchester and one in Salford established by public subscription and opened on the same day in 1846. The others were Queens Park and Peel Park, Salford. The three parks were designed by Joshua Major (1786-1866) who won the commission in a competition.
The park is nearly 2 miles east of Manchester city centre and covers almost 31 acres, bounded to the north by the River Medlock which flows westwards in an open terracotta brick culvert with level banks and central channel within stone walls which retain embankments rising almost 8 feet on both sides. To the west is Alan Turing Way (formerly Mill Street) which has a high stone boundary wall topped with 20th century railings between stone piers. The southern boundary has a high 19th century brick wall with housing to the west end and a bus depot to the east end. To the south-east the boundary is an early-20th century brick-arched mineral railway. The park is adjacent to the City of Manchester Stadium, the Manchester Velodrome and Philips Park Cemetery. The area was once heavily industrialised and the site of Bradford Colliery and much of the area has been cleared and landscaped as a country park.
Two archaeological finds have been made in the park: a Roman coin minted in the reign of Emperor Gallienus and a halberd (type of spear) dating back to the 16th century. The park's visitor centre is housed in a lodge commissioned in 1868 from the architect Alfred Darbyshire, who also designed Manchester's Palace Theatre.
In 2001, Philips Park was awarded Grade II listed status on the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.