Bridgford Park is 100 years old today!Last updated: 23/6/2023
Rushcliffe Borough Council, local groups and people are today celebrating 100 years of Bridgford Park in West Bridgford!
The Friends of Bridgford Park, park sponsors Hollies Day Nursery and council representatives have met to commemorate the landmark event and honour its centenary having brought joy to so many over the decades since June 23, 1923.
The Park was officially opened by West Bridgford Urban District Council who purchased it from Albert Heymann, a wealthy local philanthropist who served as the authority’s first ever Chairman.
Previously for over 200 years the park grounds were part of the Bridgford Hall estate, owned initially by the Musters family and latterly by the Heymann family.
The hall became the administrative base of the council and the surrounding land was opened up for the enjoyment of residents boasting lawned tennis courts, football pitches, a bowling green and an aviary.
Now the park is home to West Bridgford Registration Office, an Apart hotel with seven apartments, junior and teen play areas, tennis courts, a fitness trail, tree trail and storytelling area and in 2022 a COVID-19 memorial garden and sculpture was unveiled.
Tomorrow (June 24) Proms in the Park takes place from 12.30pm to 9pm, headlined by Mania The ABBA tribute and where a dedicated marquee on the history of the park will be featuring.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transformation, Leisure and Wellbeing Cllr Jonathan Wheeler said: “Bridgford Park is a wonderful area with something to do for everyone and provides a lovely green space in the middle of West Bridgford.
“It has been used by residents for over 100 years with wonderful memories for thousands of our residents. We are proud to continue to invest in the park and look forward to the next 100 years of this amazing park, and the wonderful free events it will hold, including tomorrow’s spectacular annual Proms in the Park.”
In honour of the landmark, members of the Friends of Bridgford Park dressed in 1920s attire and had a celebratory game of croquet on the park’s neighbouring croquet lawn near Central Avenue in the town.
Group volunteer Linda Phillips added: “We were delighted to be invited to join in the celebration of the centenary of the purchase of Bridgford Hall and surrounding Park in 1923 by the West Bridgford Urban District Council, now Rushcliffe Borough Council.
“The Friends dressed in 1920's attire, and we enjoyed playing croquet on the Lawn, recreating a photo in the Council's archive.
“Our group formed in 2006 with the help of West Bridgford Local Area Forum and has worked tirelessly along with the Council to enhance the Park, Bridgford Hall and Bridgfield, and to ensure no further parkland is under tarmac.
“West Bridgford Town Centre is unique, having at its heart a green space easily accessible to the public, a Croquet Lawn where children can safely play and workers relax often sitting on the grass in their lunch break.
“The condition of sale in 1923 of the Hall and Park was "for the enjoyments of its residents" and long may this continue.”
Other interesting facts on the park include it sadly receiving a direct hit on the croquet lawn bowling green as part of the Nottingham Blitz of 1943 and legend goes that on frosty mornings a ghostly outline of the explosion would be visible in the grass.
For many decades all the plants used in the park, including 20,000 annual bedding plants, were also grown in on-site nurseries hence the name of the Nursery Car Park on the same site.
Hollies Day Nursery Leader Tina Manzo said: “Bridgford Park provides a happy safe space for children and families where they can enjoy the fresh air and nature.
“It provides a sense of community for all ages whether you’re having a picnic, playing on the lovely park equipment or enjoying a special event on the green space.
“We are very proud to sponsor Bridgford Park and to continue promoting ‘Outdoor learning for life' and healthy lifestyles to the local community.
“I asked some children what they like most about the park and Archie said, “I like to sit on the wooden mushroom stools to eat my snack and listen to a story”.
“Lily said “the big slide because it goes really fast!” and Elil said: “I love the swings my daddy pushes me really high that I fly to the moon!”