HISTORY OF ALEXANDRA PARK IN POSTCARDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
SHOWING COMPARISONS WITH CURRENT APPEARANCE

The postcard history of the Park is subdivided into sections of choice corresponding to how the postcards have been titled


Park Main Entrance

Emma Statue

Promenade

John Platt Statue and earliest known Oldham postcards

Pavilion or Lions Den

Robert Ascroft Statue

Top Walk

Tennis Courts

Terrace and Cannons

Refreshment Rooms

Aviary

Gardeners House

Conservatory

Observatory

Blind Joe Statue

Bandstand

Rebecca Statue

Park Fountain

Broad Walk

Rustic Bridge / Lovers Walk and Limestone Grotto

Bowling Greens

Boulders

Duck Pond and Limestone Grotto

Boating Lake

Park View

Wooded Glade

War Trophies

Old Relics

Glodwick Road Entrance

Multiview


Alexandra Park Oldham was opened 29 August 1865 by the then Mayor of Oldham Joseph Radcliffe and named to commemorate the recent marriage 10 March 1863 of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to Edward Prince of Wales.

Taking advantage of the Governments low interest loan offers to combat unemployment, a committee was set up in 1863 to construct a Park. The Swine Clough Estate was purchased, home of the Ogden Family for over 300 years through occupation, a lease in 1570 from the Ashton Family, bought by Adam Ogden from Edward Ashton Esq., of Chadderton in 1670 and then from 1850 the property of the Rev. John Thomas Cocker Esq., of New-bank Heyside Crompton.

Mr Cocker offered to sell the estate for the sum of 10,750 on condition that the operatives temporarily unemployed in the cotton trade were used in carrying out the necessary work. The offer was accepted and the estate purchased.

To ensure access routes the Corporation purchased about 15 acres of land adjoining from Joseph James, late of Walshaw House and about 5 acres from Joseph Lees of Clarksfield making a total of 72 acres costing 18,000. Of this land 60 acres were used for the Park.

The aggregate cost of the site, buildings, roads and of making the main road bordering the easterly side of the Park leading to Glodwick and culverting over 200 yards of Sheepwash Brook to receive a large embankment forming the above mentioned road was about 31,000.

A Procession to the Park was planned from the Town Hall to the gates of the Park but due to the inclement state of the weather the route and the numbers were curtailed.

Building the Park created much needed work for the cotton operatives whose livelyhood had been very badly affected by the cotton famine due largely to the ensuing American Civil War.

Structures In The Park, Past and Present

1865 Lodge (Main Entrance)
1865 Emma Statue ("The Flower Girl"), 2002 Renewed & replaced
1878 John Platt MP Statue, 1924 Moved to Alexandra Park
1865 Pavilion or Lions Den
1903 Robert Ascroft Statue ("The Peoples Friend")
1926 Tennis Courts, 19?? Replaced & Moved
1865 Two Russian Cannon
1865-1970 Refreshment Room
1908-1921 Aviary
1865 Gardeners House
1907 Conservatory
1865 Original Observatory, 1899 Renewed and Replaced
1868 Joseph Howard "Blind Joe" Statue
1887 Bandstand
1865 Rebecca at the Well Statue, 2002 Renewed and replaced
1865 Park Fountain
1865 Rustic Bridge / Lovers Walk : 1865-1894? Grotto
1878 Bowling Green (No.1), 1894 (No.2), 1911 (No.3)
1874 Boulder, 20 ton (No. 1), 1882 (No. 2), 18?? (No. 3)
1865 Fish Pond later known as Duck Pond : 1903?-? Grotto
1903 Boating Lake
1919-1938 War Trophies
1879 Old Relics
1865 Glodwick Road Entrance


THE PARK EXPERIENCE

Approaching the Park at the Park Main Entrance, reveals an impressive Lodge built of Yorkshire stone in the Italian style with a small tower. Two sets of gates are of ornamental cast iron, hung to four bold stone pillars, one to Queens Road, the other to the Park. Passing through the park gates, heading forward in an easterly direction for about 70 yards past benches on each side leads up to a bold flight of steps. Just before the steps to the right is a notable Statue of Emma the flower girl.

Proceeding up the steps, you are presented with a long straight wide pathway where the bottom part up to within 100 yards of the next flight of steps is given the name Promenade by most postcards.
There are three notable features contained in the Promenade section, all on the left side. The first is John Platts Statue, then further on is the Pavillion, better known as the Lions Den on account of the two reclining Lions guarding it on either side, then finally the Robert Ascroft Statue (The Peoples Friend").
The remaining 100 yards of pathway up to the next flight of steps being named, Top Walk.

To the right of the Top Walk, lower down from where the Refreshment Room was, there would have been seven Tennis Courts erected in 1926, which were later moved to the right of the Main Entrance within the Park, where they are today.

Climbing the flight of steps leads to the area designated the Terrace, now barren but in its day, home to an imposing building, the Refreshment Room and also two Russian Cannon, the cannon situated at each side of the steps facing down the Promenade to the Main Entrance.

Turning right at the top of the steps, moving in a southerly direction, the Aviary would have been promenant on the left just a short distance away, another structure long since removed.

Moving forward up to a junction of paths, take the right turn, then fork left along to the Gardeners House, a Gothic Style red brick building, now in use as the Park Office.

Now follow the path around the Gardeners House toward the Conservatory, an impressive glass structured building in three cojoined sections the centre one surmounted by a dome, all on a brickwork foundation, built primarily to house exotic plants.

Then tracing the path left (West) to the Observatory, a Japanaese style structure known as the Pagoda, the base of which in granite and stone contains three insciption panels.

From here take the path round and right (NNR) to the stone Statue of Joseph Howarth blind from birth and known as "Old Blind Joe", a Weslyan Preacher and Bellman of Oldham from 1820 to 1860.

Standing in front of the Statue of Joseph Howarth, and facing (NW) the Bandstand can be seen located within the childrens play area.

Turn leftish (NNW) bearing right (West) at the three path junction and on to the bronze Statue of Rebecca at the Well, renewed and replaced thanks to the Heritage Lottery in 2002 after the original had previously been pushed over and smashed beyond repair in 1956.

Take a slight detour at Rebecca at the Well Statue, turning right (N. Easterly) up Broad Walk where in the middle, with the Lions Den in the distance, is the Park Fountain built of stone having two basins below a boy holding a Dolphin from whose mouth the water issues.

Retracing steps back to Rebecca Statue (S, Westerly), turn right (NW) at the end of Broad Walk, and then over the stone built Rustic Bridge with rustic style handrails and a tree lined underpass known as Lovers Lane or Lovers Walk.

Carry on along the path with the latest Bowling Green on the left and the two original Bowling Greens, the earliest with the Pavilion, on the right.

Two Boulders are located by the earliest Bowling Green on each side of the path, a large one 20T on the right and a slightly smaller one, opposite on the left.

Continue following this path as it curves right between the Boating Lake on the left and Duck Pond on the right, eventually joining the Promenade near the Main Entrance and Emma Statue, where we initially set off.


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