"What we want is a place near at hand, where we can feel the grass under our feet, or sit with our wives on a summer's eve and watch our children play." - The Cry of the Poor
Parks serve an important role in providing sport and recreational facilities; they also have a far more subtle role in providing a safe environment for people to interract with their neighbours. In the 19th century many English cities were given public parks by wealthy local benefactors. Bristol had none of these, and Bedminster had the added disadvantage of a negligent lord of the manor. The city had fine open spaces on The Downs and Brandon Hill, but they were too far from where most of the working people lived. The area was home to families crowded into small terrace houses, their children needed space to play, workers needed to escape from the polluted factories and landowners wanted to make money.
This is the story of how and why this popular park was founded and includes maps to show how it has changed over time.
"We are very pleased to see that someone has at last compiled an interesting and authoritative history of this much-loved green space"
Andrew Campbell, Chair, Victoria Park Action Group, www.vpag.org.uk
£1 from every copy sold will be given to VPAG.
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ISBN NO. 978-0-9551010-6-9
The book was reviewed in the Bristol Evening Post on Tuesday 15 April.