War Memorial Park, Coventry

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War Memorial Park
Monument in War Memorial Park in Coventry 14g06.jpg
The war memorial monument (built 1927)
Type Public park
Location Coventry, England.
OS grid SP324770
Coordinates 52°23′24″N 1°31′23″W / 52.390132°N 1.523113°W / 52.390132; -1.523113
Area 48.5 hectares
Created July 1921
Operated by Coventry City Council
Status Open all year

The War Memorial Park is a large park of about 48.5 hectares situated in southern Coventry.[1] The park was opened in July 1921 as a tribute to the 2,587 Coventrians who died between 1914 and 1918 fighting in the First World War.[2] Coventry Council bought the land from the Lords of Styvechale Manor, the Gregory-Hood family, when it was little more than a large grassed area that once formed Styvechale common.[3]

The landscaped gardens and sports areas were originally created in the late-1920s and 1930s,[3] and the most prominent construction in the park is the Coventry war memorial monument, built in 1927.[2][4]

The park's features include football pitches, bowling greens, a small golf course, tennis courts, a splash and play area, an aviary for small birds, and a skate board area, but it mainly comprises large open green areas with many trees and shrubberies. A perimeter path lies just inside the park's boundaries, and now encircles the entire park following completion of groundwork on the south-western segment in the summer of 2006. Visitors may park their cars in the park's main car park, which is also used by visitors to Coventry city centre who use the park and ride scheme.

The park is the venue for a number of annual events including the Godiva Festival, Donkey Derby, Caribbean Festival and the Vaisakhi Mela. The park also holds weekly parkruns - free, timed 5km (3.1mi) runs - that attract over 300 people to the park every Saturday.

In July 2013 the park gained green flag status.[5]

On 16 July 2014 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visited the park to formally launch the Centenary Fields programme of the Fields in Trust by granting the first designation under the scheme to the park.[6][7]

History[edit]

Land[edit]

The park was opened in July 1921 as a tribute to the 2,587 Coventrians who died between 1914 and 1918 fighting in the First World War.[2] Coventry Council used money donated by the public to purchase the land from the Lords of Styvechale Manor, the Gregory-Hood family, when it was little more than a large grassed area that once formed Styvechale common.[3] In the north of the park, the landscaped gardens and sports areas were originally created in the late-1920s and 1930s,[3]

During the Second World War, barrage balloons and anti-aircraft guns were sited in the park, and the large concrete blocks where they were positioned still exist at the Coat of Arms bridge area of the park.[3]

Monument[edit]

At around 90 feet (27 m) high,[3] the war memorial monument is the most prominent construction in the park. It was designed by local architect T. F. Tickner and £5,000 was raised from a public appeal that commenced in 1924 to fund the building work.[8] It was built in 1927 and dedicated by Field Marshal Douglas Haig on 8 October 1927.[2][4] It is made of Portland stone, and was built by John Gray who also built the Courtaulds works at Foleshill and a number of housing estates. Inside the Memorial is a room called the Chamber of Silence which contains the "Roll of the Fallen", a list of all Coventry men killed in the two World Wars and the Gulf War, and is open to the public every year on Remembrance Sunday.[3]

Refurbishment[edit]

Work started on 16 August 2010 on a multi-million pound refurbishment project for the park, involving about 30 different projects taking place around the park over a ten-month period.[9] The work is being funded by a £2.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund together with money from Coventry City Council.[10] Additionally a grant of £50,000 was awarded in February 2011 to create a new under-8s play area in the park.[11]

Car parks[edit]

The main car park is a large tarmaced area with access from Kenilworth Road. Travel de Courcey (in conjunction with Coventry City Council and Centro PTE) operates a Park and ride scheme between this car park and Coventry city centre. There is also a much smaller car park on Coat of Arms Bridge Road on the southern side of the park and another small car park near the northern end of Leamington Road.

References[edit]

  1. ^ AA Street by Street. Coventry Rugby (2nd edition (May 2003) ed.). AA Publishing. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-7495-3973-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d Douglas, Alton (February 1991). Coventry: A Century of News. Coventry Evening Telegraph. p. 33. ISBN 0-902464-36-1. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Coventry City Council: History of the War Memorial Park Retrieved 4 October 2008
  4. ^ a b "Remembering those who perished". icCoventry.co.uk. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  5. ^ "Green Flag Award Winners 2013 / 14". Department for Communities and Local government. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Prince William to visit Coventry's War Memorial Park next week". Coventry Telegraph. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Okeeffe, Sean (3 July 2014). "Prince William to attend engagements for centenary of WW1". Royal Central. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  8. ^ McGrory, David (2003). The illustrated history of Coventry's suburbs. Breedon Books. p. 114. ISBN 1-85983-343-8. 
  9. ^ "Work to improve Coventry War Memorial Park begins". BBC News Online (BBC). 16 August 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Park's £4m revamp plans revealed". BBC News Online (BBC). 18 September 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "Coventry War Memorial Park wins £50,000 grant for new play area". Coventry Telegraph. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 

External links[edit]