A century of Green Park

heck green park in 1914
heck green park in 1914

BEFORE Green Park in Heckmondwike was built, the area had been a piece of open barren land.

Previously used for events, it was a section of Heckmondwike’s original green which had stretched from Oldfield Lane to the Flush.

But at a meeting on June 16, 1911, Heckmondwike District Co-operative Society decided they should celebrate the Coronation of George V in the town centre.

They not only wanted to make the children and old folk of Heckmondwike happy, they also felt it should be something which was a permanent reminder of the event.

The Co-operative Society discussed how they wanted to improve and beautify the town, which would benefit everyone.

Therefore at the meeting it was decided that the society would give £150 towards a new park in the town centre. The rest of the money was raised by public subscription.

The park was built and officially opened in 1912, and for many years after, was surrounded by shops formed by the Co-operative.

Green Park must have been one of the town’s focal points throughout the century, with the changes of the season, perceiving the different moods of the park and the town together.

In May 1922 Coun J Parker unveiled the park’s war memorial. The base of the memorial has the 157 names of the men who gave their lives during the First World War. After World War Two, more names of the dead were added to the long list.

In the 1970s I lived close to the town centre and would often walk through the park, from my home at Union Street to the schools which I attended.

In spring on The Green, as it was also known, you could see the wonderful trees in full blossom.

It would only last a couple of weeks as the winds would soon blow the pink blossom onto the park footpaths, until Bernard the gardener cleared them away.

At Christmas time Green Park was filled with a spectacular Christmas presentation.

The park would be full of festive scenes, like the nativity.

Lights lit up the trees and families would come to visit the town.

You would follow around the footpaths viewing the different presentations; I particularly remember Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

It was all rather magical for a young child in the 1970s.

The wishing well at the bottom entrance gate would be looked into as we walked by, just to check if people had thrown down their pennies to help their wishes come true.

In the 1980s my sister Gill and I would sit in the park during the summer months on Saturday afternoons, after eyeing up cute guys around town.

In between we would pop in to Woolworths, chat to my school friend and then check out which 7in singles to buy. It would usually be the new Echo & The Bunnymen, or Smiths vinyl.

Then back to The Green to sit on a bench and people-watch the older guys from my school.

Our archives do not show exactly when Green Park was officially opened. Do any readers know what month it took place, or does anyone have photographs of the event?

If so, contact the Spenborough Guardian on 01274 874635.