Park Gardens Opened
Many Townspeople Attend Pleasing Ceremony
Memorial Tablet unvieled by Mrs Park
Favoured by glourious sunshine the formal opening of Park Gardens on Saturday afternoon was attended by a large number of Stroud residents. As most of our readers know, Park Gardens have been given to the town by Councillor S. B. Park in memory of his only son, who was killed in the War. At Saturday's ceremony the deeds of the land were handed to the Chairman of the Urban Council by Mr. Park, the grounds were declared open to the public by Sir Frank Nelson, M..P. for Stroud, and a memorial tablet to the donor's son was unveiled by Mrs Park. During the afternoon the Stroud Military Band rendered pleasing selections.
A platform had been erected just inside the grounds and at 3 o'clock it was surrounded by a crowd of several hundred people. Mr. H. Holloway (Chairman of the Stroud Urban District Council) presided over the ceremony, and was supported on the platform by Mr and Mrs S.B. Park, Miss Park, Sir Frank and Lady Nelson, Rev. Canon E H Hawkins, Mr F.M. Smith, Mr O.J. Pearce (Vice Chairman of Stroud UDC), Col. D.F. Stuart, Col J. R. Morton Bell, Messrs. E.F. Hooper, J.S. Dudbridge, T.E. Saunders, E.H. Russell (members of the Council) Mr. E Northam Witchell (clerk), MR F.S Cutler (surveyor to the Council), Supt J.W.P Goulder and Mrs O.J. Pearce, Miss E.K. Brinkworth and others.
Mr H. W. Holloway said that he had to read apologies for non-attendance from the Rev. G. F. Helm (Vicar of Stroud) who was out of town, the Rev. J. Bevan (Vicar of Uplands), who was ill, but had promised £10 towards the gardens (applause). They all knew the reason why they had met there that afternoon. They were there to perform a pleasant public duty which had been made necessary by the generosity of Councillor S. B. Park (applause) who had given the town of Stroud through the Urban District Council that piece of ground which would be laid out as pleasure gardens for the people of the town (applause). He would now call on Mr. Park to hand over the deeds of conveyance.
Mr. Park said that that was an occasion where sorrow and joy were closely intermingled. There were many in the district whose hearts were still sorrowful as they thoughts of the dear ones, sons, fathers and husbands who had gone to the war and had not returned, and who were still so sadly missed, from the homes that they loved so well. But that day they were taking steps to keep their memory fragrant and green and it surely must be a good thing to perpetuate the memory of the dead by doing something for the living, in order that the natural sorrow might be alleviated and to some extent blended with Joy, and they were that day meeting an oft expressed desire and a long felt want by thus handing over to the town for public use that land to be used as a garden of rememberence, a memorial to those who had made the great sacrifice. It was his privilage and happiness to present to the town that land and appurtenances in the great hope that very many young and old might in years to come in visiting these gardens find health, rest pleasure and enjoyment. It was with real happiness that he handed to the chairman the deeds of conveynance.
Mr Holloway said that it was with the greatest pleasure that he accepted the generous gift of the gardens, and on behalf of the Urban District Council and the public, he hoped that when they were laid out, they would fill a long-felt want and add greatly to the amenities of the town. He appreciated the gift and respected the two-fold motives with which it had been made – that of personal self sacrifice and the idea of rememberence. He would now call upon Sir. Frank Nelson to formerly declare the gardens open to the public.
Sir Frak said that he felt it a very great pleasure and also a very deep and real privilage that he should have been asked that day to put the finishing touch to that great gift. He thought that this fine day which their weather had bestowed upon them, might be taken as a happy augury of the sunny hours that the people of Stroud would enjoy in the gardens in the future. In that garden they would think of those who had made the great sacrifice; they would think of those who were dear to them and ot others, that day and in the future. He hoped that that gift would impress all their minds with the spirit of generosity and forethought in which it was made, in the present and in the future. He thought of those lineks written by a poet who lived not very far away fomr the most beautiful country in the world – the Cotswolds, and who said :-
“You are nearer God's heart in the garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.”
He thanked Mr. Park for his generosity and declared the gardens open to the public.
Mr and Mrs Park proceeded to the entrance gates of the garden, where Mrs Park unveiled a memorial tablet in their son who was killed during the war, saying the following words “In loving memory of my dear son and with heartfelt sympathy for the many who lost their lives in the war, I declare the tablet unvieled. The tablet is inscribed “Park Gardens. In memory of Herbert Sidney Park, killed in France on 26th Oct. 1917. This land with fences, gates and this tablet was presented by his father Sydney B Park to the town of Stroud for use as pleasure gardens – October 1927.
Subsequently Canon E H Hawkins offered a dedicatory prayer.
Mr. Trinder moved a vote of thanks in Sir Frank Nelson for declaring the garden open, and also to Lady Nelson. He desired to be allowed to give a financial statement of the gardens. Up to date they had £276 1s. 6d., while £116 10s had been definitely promised, making a total of £392 11s 6d in all.Eleven seats had been given by those who wished to commomorate their loved ones, making a total of £55. £150 had been guareteed by the Stroud Traders Association, so that they were able to delare the garden open with a sum of £597 11s. 6d. as a start.
Mr W H Harper in seconding the vote of thanks, said he would like to say a few words as Chairman of the Gardens Committee. Up to the present the whole Council were pledged that there should be on additional burden on the rates. With the money subscribed and the promised they had about half what was needed. He knew that could not all give cheques or event “Bradburys” but the sum required could be made up in small amounts. All the members of the old Council had promised to give their shareaccording to their means if the public would do so likewise. He had much pleasure in thanking Sir Frank and Lady Nelson for giving up their time to come and declare the gardens open.
[“Stroud Journal]” photographs of the opening ceremony, together with portraits of Mr and Mrs Park and three of the principal subscribers to the Gardens Fund will be found in the “Pictorial Suppliment” presented free with this week's “Journal”.]
From the Stroud Journal March 1928