The Recreation ground with its Pudsey Feast and large Civic events was gifted to the Town by Councillor John Ward, rebuilt to ambitious plans into a play area and opened during the Royal Visit of 1928. The Pudsey Feast relocated to Robin Lane at the top of Longfields.
The original list of 1928 play equipment included; big slide, little slide, merry-go-round, whirling platform, ladder swing, seesaw, the big swings and the plank swings, the giant stride and a sandpit. The swings were locked on Sundays – park keeper ‘Parky’ Wright helped the young people of the town observe the sabbath by chaining up the swings. As far as we know this rather harsh practice had stopped by the 1940s.
Later additions and replacements included: The third slide, rocking horse, witches hat which became a climbing frame, the moon rocket and the less said about the concrete animals the better.
heritage status = all original items long gone for scrap
Everybody’s favourite spot, originally a mini cafe that featured a handy clock in the roof. In case you ate too much ice cream there used to be a weighing scale at the front.
heritage status = saved – in the care of Pudsey in Bloom with Ward Councillor support
Opposite was a large shelter for parents to sit in and keep watch whilst the kids played. In front of this was a sandpit, and on the gate side a large paddling pool.
heritage status = gone, all of it a modern health and safety nightmare / asbo magnet
Located by the main gates, they once had a cameo appearance on ITVs “A Touch of Frost” with David Jason. Nothing much else to say about them apart from the wild flower bed and Christmas tree that Pudsey in Bloom have put in their place that smell a lot better.
heritage status = gone, but time for a come back in a more convenient format?
The trendy new inclusive mixed sport of the 1920’s for ladies and gentlemen, which also allowed for (no chaperones needed by now) mixed doubles… The tennis courts were built on the second half of the old recreation ground and had two sets of changing rooms. As the leisure centre expanded the old courts were given over to the car park. The old changing rooms served the community variously as a Scouting supplies shop, and the surviving one is now the home of the wonderful Pudsey Baptists Chapel (recommended for coffee and friendship on Saturday mornings).
heritage status = tennis gone but the surviving building is now a thriving Church
The original 18 foot tall drinking fountain was removed during the 1928 revamp, and downsized to fit the new children’s play area. Only one lion headed drinking spout survives, and now looks more like a pirate’s skull and cross bones.
Constant use required the Rotary Club of Pudsey to restore the fountain back into service in 2005.
Note there are common building features that can be spotted around the park – a bit of 1920’s building flare went into the shelters, kiosk, changing rooms and replacement drinking fountain, all share details to unify the overall look of the park.
heritage status = at risk
The children’s clinic was originally a place for mother’s to take their youngsters to be checked over and have their progress monitored. It made sense to open this unit next to the play park so that mums with young families could combine health with recreation. I remember my own mum taking me in there when I was a tiddler, and also being a bit confused when we went to the park but no longer went in the clinic (I was too big by then).
heritage status = safe, converted to flats
The much loved Pudsey Park Steamroller had a bit of a story before it became a playground feature in the 1950s. Originally Pudsey had used two rollers during its road infrastructure upgrades, the second one pictured here outside Pudsey house was purchased for the Borough then later retired. It should have gone into the park but was accidentally scrapped. Mayor Sir Walter Ward quickly organised for the number 18 roller from the West Riding County Council fleet to be gifted to the children of Pudsey as a replacement (John Fowler’s 1921 model numbered 15752).
heritage status = now in restoration
HRH Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh each planted a tree in Pudsey park during the Royal visit of July 1949; an Acer Negunda Variegated Maple, and a Catalpa Syringifolia. These didn’t thrive and were lost, to be later replaced in 1999 by former Mayor Douglas Merritt and the 3rd & 4th St Andrews Brownies and Guides. Its believed these were planted on the back wall near the Airedale care home.
heritage status = if you happen to spot these trees please let us know
To commemorate 60 years of scouting in Pudsey, pictured are Eric Goodair and Mayor George Dunkerley circa 1968. I seem to remember this still being there in the 1970s and has been one of many commemorative floral displays in the park, including the much loved Pudsey Bear.
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Please keep reading this blog – your support means a lot, and if there are any recollections about Pudsey Park you want to share please put them into the comments section.
In the coming months we will be exploring more of our Pudsey Cricket heritage, life on the old buses, The Pudsey Coat of Arms, an introduction to Fulneck and more tours and walks!
I’ve been an exec member of Pudsey & District Civic Society since 2014, also founder of The Friends of Pudsey Cemetery & Chapel and the research project www.pudseycenotaph.co.uk.
Please support the Civic Society to help preserve and build our amazing heritage: firstname.lastname@example.org