SUMMARY OF GARDEN
A late C19 public park designed by William Barron and Sons.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Queen’s Park, Chesterfield, opened in 1887, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Date: the park is a good example of a late Victorian municipal park; * Design: although enhanced, the park’s design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of the 1887; * Designer: the park was designed by the leading designers William Barron and Sons; * Structures: the park retains various C19 structures, some listed; * Planting: good planting, with mature specimen trees.
Alderman T P Wood, Mayor of Chesterfield in 1886, proposed that land should be acquired by the Local Board for the creation of a public park to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, and to ameliorate the overcrowded conditions in the centre of the town (Wright 1992). Alderman Wood donated £500, and some £3500 was raised to purchase some 17 acres (c 7ha) known as Maynard's Meadows to the south of the town from E A J Maynard of West House, Chesterfield. The site was dedicated at a ceremony on 21 September 1887 which comprised a procession of industrial tableaux and the planting of a tree on the site of the park. Alderman Wood was created a Freeman of the Borough in November 1887, at which time money raised for a presentation silver casket was instead applied, at the Alderman's request, to the provision of a bandstand in Queen's Park. An additional 5 acres (c 2ha) were purchased for incorporation into the park in October 1889, the necessary funds being raised by a Ladies' Bazaar Committee. This acquisition completed the site of the original park, and in the same year the site was enclosed by a stone wall. Money subscribed for the purchase of the park did not provide for the laying out of the site for public use. The Local Government Board expressed reservations about the original estimate of £3500 submitted in 1888, and agreement on a modified scheme costing £2500 was only reached in 1892. Implementation of this scheme, which had been drawn up by William Barron and Sons of Borrowash, Derbyshire, was funded by a mortgage raised with the Yorkshire Penny Bank (ibid). Queen's Park with its curvilinear walks which describe areas containing a lake, cricket pitch, and lawns or football pitch closely resembles the plan produced by William Barron and Sons for Victoria Park, Tipton, West Midlands (qv) in 1898-1901.
Queen's Park was officially opened to the public on 2nd August 1893 with the first Chesterfield Floral and Horticultural Society Show being held in the park. A cricket pitch constructed in 1893-4 was inaugurated in May 1894, while the associated pavilion was constructed in 1898. Late C19 park facilities included a bandstand, boating lake, cycle track and gymnasium; plans for public baths were not implemented. In 1901 a further 13 acres (c 5.5ha), separated from the original park by Boythorpe Avenue to the south, was acquired by the town as a memorial to Queen Victoria (d 1901). This land (outside the site here Registered) was laid out as a recreation ground known as Queen's Park Annex. A statue of The Girl with the Stolen Rose by a local sculptor, Herbert Lee was presented to the park in 1909, and in the years before the First World War the park was used for regular fetes and events such as the Coronation parade in 1910.
Following the First World War a tank was presented to the town and placed in the park in July 1919. A programme of renovations and improvements was undertaken in the early 1920s which included the construction of a new bandstand, the original having been demolished in 1919, and the erection of a conservatory. Plans for a refreshment pavilion were submitted by Clifford Bond and the Borough Surveyor in 1939. During the Second World War the park was used by the local authority for events associated with the 'Holidays at Home' scheme, while in 1943 metal railings round the cricket pitch were removed for the war effort; the conservatory was converted to food production. A further programme of renovation was undertaken in the early 1950s, while the London, Midland and Scottish railway line which formed the northern boundary of the site closed in the mid C20 and the removal of the embankment once more allowed pedestrian access from West Bars. In the mid-and -late C20 a sports centre was constructed within the park adjacent to its western boundary. The footbridge was opened in 1963.
The park was re-opened on the 13th September 2005 by HRH the Earl of Wessex, marking the completion of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) restoration scheme.
The site remains (2013) in public ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Queen's Park is situated c 300m south of the centre of Chesterfield, to the south of the A619 road. The c 8ha site is bounded to the west by the A632 Boythorpe Road, to the south by Boythorpe Avenue, and to the east by Park Road. The park is enclosed to the south and east by brick and rustic stone-coped walls c 2.5m high; these were constructed in 1889. A further, contemporary brick and stone-coped wall forms the south-west boundary, while the late C20 sports centre and late C19 metal railings and gates form the west boundary on Boythorpe Road. To the north the site is bounded by the site of the LMS railway, which became used as a footpath and cycle track and is now a service road to North Lodge; this is separated from the park by late C20 metal fences. The River Hipper flows immediately to the north of the late C20 path, separating the site from the A619 road. The site slopes up gently towards the south boundary, and there are glimpsed views north-east towards the spire of Chesterfield parish church and buildings in the town centre.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Queen's Park is approached from the centre of Chesterfield by a late C20 pedestrian walkway which leads c 190m south from the civic buildings on Rose Hill. This path is carried across the A619 road, the River Hipper, and the site of the LMS railway on a mid C20 concrete footbridge with metal-railed balustrades. A concrete support of the footbridge has a picture of the girl with the stolen rose added on 2009. The bridge descends into the park adjacent to and immediately to the south-west of the late C19 park lodge, a picturesque half-timbered, two-storey structure under a tiled roof, prior to 2000 became used as offices with a late C20 extension to the east.
There are further entrances to the park from the east (Park Road), south (Boythorpe Avenue), and west (Boythorpe Road). The eastern entrance comprises a pair of late C19 wrought-iron carriage gates supported by a pair of stone piers with ogee-shaped caps, flanked to the north by a single late C19 wrought-iron pedestrian gate supported by a similar pier. Immediately within the eastern entrance the tarmac walk divides to enclose a triangular lawn with inset beds for seasonal planting, before joining the principal circuit walk.
The southern entrance is situated on Boythorpe Avenue, some 80m east of its junction with Boythorpe Road, and comprises a pair of tall late C19 cast-iron carriage gates supported by tall cast-iron piers surmounted by ball finials; the gates are ornamented with the coat of arms of Chesterfield in painted cast-iron. The carriage gates are adjoined to the east by a similar single pedestrian gate which is also supported on a tall cast-iron pier with a ball finial. The entrance is flanked to east and west by tall cast-iron quadrant railings set on a low stone wall (listed collectively at Grade II). A second vehicular access was opened to the south of the pavilion in 2004. It comprises a pair of wrought-iron gates supported by brick pillars.
The western entrance is situated on Boythorpe Road c 250m north of its junction with Boythorpe Avenue, and c 20m north of the Queen's Park Sports Centre. This entrance comprises a pair of late C19 ornamental cast-iron carriage gates supported on a pair of square-section piers with flat caps and recessed rusticated panels. A similar single pedestrian gate adjoins the carriage gates to the north and is supported on a similar stone pier which lacks the rusticated panels. Late C19 spear-headed quadrant railings set on a low stone wall flank the gates to the north, while to the south there is a quadrant hedge. To the south of this entrance a late C20 vehicular entrance has been formed from Boythorpe Road giving access to an area of late C20 tarmac car park which extends north, beyond the late C19 park boundary, to the sidings associated with the late C19 branch railway. The car park is separated from the park by late C20 railings.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The park comprises three areas linked by a curvilinear perimeter walk and subsidiary curvilinear walks: to the north-west the lake and miniature railway, to the south-east the cricket pitch and pavilion, and to the south-west lawns, the bandstand, conservatory and tennis courts. The mid and late C20 Queen's Park Sports Centre stands parallel to the boundary on the site of the original children's playground; the sports centre has been partly re-modelled to resemble a C19 curvilinear glasshouse with a central glazed pool atrium.
The northern entrance from the centre of Chesterfield leads directly to the curvilinear perimeter walk. Immediately south of the footbridge leading into the park, a circular bed is used for seasonal planting. To the south of the park lodge there is an area of car parking, to the south-east of which is a lawn planted with specimen trees and bordered by box-edged flower beds for seasonal bedding displays. To the east of the small lawn is a toddlers' play area. The perimeter walk sweeps south-east and east adjoining a rockery border to the north and an additional flowerbed; this is backed by mixed boundary planting with mature specimen trees and conifers. The walk encloses the late C19 cricket ground to the north, east and south. The pitch is partly enclosed by mid C20 metal railings which replace those removed in 1943 for the war effort, while mature specimen trees are planted along the perimeter of the field to the north, east and south-east. There is new planting to the south west. A concrete track around the outer edge of the field corresponds to the late C19 cycle track which was renovated c 1920 and again c 1947 (Sadler 1989). Some 190m south of the north lodge, a late C19 pavilion stands on the southern edge of the cricket ground. The pavilion comprises a central single-storey block flanked by a pair of half-timbered, two-storey gabled cross-wings. The recess between the wings is filled by a single-storey painted timber verandah, while the roof line is broken by a spire-roofed cupola and two gables facing to the rear. The pavilion was constructed in 1898, and the clock in the western gable installed in 1946 (ibid). The pavilion underwent restoration in 2004 and the construction of a single-storey score-box was added to the west. Tiered seating descends from the pavilion to the pitch, and is partly enclosed by late C19 brick walls surmounted by ornamental cast-iron railings. Further banks of tiered seating flank the pavilion to the north-east and north-west, that to the north-east being of later construction (1900). The seating terraces are backed by mature lime trees.
The perimeter walk continues parallel to the southern boundary to the rear of the pavilion before sweeping north-west to pass to the north of the late C19 conservatory (listed Grade II) which stands c 210m south-south-west of the north lodge. The conservatory is of painted timber construction on a brick base with a central gabled entrance to the north and an ogee cupola. The structure comprises a single compartment with raised beds retained by C20 stone dwarf walls; today (2013) the conservatory is not cultivated. Within the conservatory stands the statue of the Girl with a Stolen Rose by Herbert Lee, a local stone-mason, presented in the park in 1909. To the north of the conservatory lawns are ornamented with circular beds for seasonal planting; the lawns extend south-west in front of the park-keeper's house (1897) which stands c 210m south-south-west of the north lodge. Opposite the entrance to the conservatory there is a rockery. The park-keeper's house is of half-timber and brick construction and comprises two storeys under a tiled roof; there is a mid C20 extension to the west which partly occupies the site of a late C19 service yard, and a further service yard to the east of the house. To the north of the perimeter walk adjacent to the conservatory and keeper's house a serpentine herbaceous border is backed by a mid or late C20 conifer hedge, behind which stands the refreshment pavilion of 1939. To the west of the pavilion is a small tea garden enclosed by further conifer hedges; this connects with the recreation lawn to the north-west. The conifer hedges disrupt the visual relationship between the north lodge and conservatory which are aligned across the cricket pitch. A straight walk aligned on the conservatory leads north for c 100m to reach a curvilinear east/west walk which follows the south sides of the lake and cricket ground. The north/south walk separates the cricket ground to the east from the lawns to the west.
A greenhouse was obtained from Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (qv) c 1920, perhaps through the agency of Charles Paxton Markham (mayor of Chesterfield, 1910), grandson of Sir Joseph Paxton, the sixth Duke of Devonshire's gardener at Chatsworth, now demolished.
Some 240m south-west of the north lodge, the early C20 bandstand (listed Grade II) is aligned on the south entrance from Boythorpe Avenue. The bandstand comprises a rusticated stone octagonal drum surmounted by a two-tier ogee pavilion roof supported on slender painted cast-iron pillars. The pillars are linked by cast-iron balustrades, while the interior is approached by steps to the north. The bandstand (restored early C21) is surrounded by rose beds which are set behind lavender and box hedges, which in turn are protected by low cast-iron kerb rails. It was constructed in 1920-3 to replace the timber bandstand donated to the park by Alderman Wood in 1894 which stood to the south of the lake before being demolished in 1919. To the north of the bandstand an open lawn, designed for recreational use, slopes gently down to the lake, while to the north-west the perimeter walk sweeps north, passing early C21 children's play equipment and a late C20 all-weather pitch in the south-west corner of the site c 290m south-west of the north lodge. The walk continues below the east facade of the sports centre to reach a small rose garden at the north-west corner of the recreation lawn, from which it is partly screened by a low conifer hedge. The rose garden is approximately triangular on plan and is enclosed by stone-edged walks to the west, north and south-east. It comprises geometric beds set in geometric panels of lawn and was created in 1959 as a memorial to Alderman Edgar Styler (inscription plaque). At the north-west corner of the rose garden a mid C20 drinking fountain in the form of a low stone obelisk (disused, 2000) stands on an octagonal stone base; this was constructed in 1935. The drinking fountain acts as an eye-catcher when seen from the western entrance to the park.
The lake situated towards the north-west corner of the park is of irregular outline with four small islands planted with trees. The water and the trees and shrubs on the shore are separated from surrounding walks by a post and wire fence, while a mid or late C20 miniature railway runs round the lake. A late C20 pyramid-roofed pavilion (restored 2004) stands on a knoll of high ground above the south side of lake c 100m south-west of the north lodge. This stands on the site of the late C19 timber bandstand donated by Alderman Wood in 1894. The perimeter walk runs along the north side of the lake passing a small landing stage for rowing boats c 100m north-west of the north lodge; the walk is flanked to the north by mixed shrubbery and ornamental trees. At the north-west end of the lake a secondary walk is carried across a narrow channel separating an ornamental pool and bog garden from the main body of the lake on a footbridge with a timber-railed parapet. The lake formed part of the late C19 layout for the park designed by William Barron and Sons.
Book Reference - Author: A R Kaye - Title: The Changing Face of Chesterfield II and III - Date: 1986
Book Reference - Author: R Thompson and J Lilley - Title: Chesterfield in Old Picture Postcards - Date: 1989 - Page References: pls 39, 94
Book Reference - Author: G Sadler (Derbyshire County Council) - Title: Queen's Park The First Sixty Years 1887-1947 - Date: 1989
Book Reference - Author: T F Wright - Title: History of Chesterfield - Date: 1992 - Page References: pp 53-5, 75-8, 253, 344-5
Article Reference - Title: Garden History 21, no 1 - Date: 1994 - Journal Title: Garden History 21 - Page References: p 104
Other Reference - Description: Archival items Chesterfield Borough Council records, late C19-C20 (D1504), (Derbyshire Record Office)