A seat in the sun

After Towneley was opened as a public park in 1902, three things were at the top of the Parks Committee’s to-do list – cafe, toilets and seats. In 1904, there were complaints of insufficient benches and, on June 29th, the committee ordered 30 more at a cost of £39. This photograph, with Foldys Cross in the foreground, shows a large number of benches and dates from around 1905 to 1907. (The chimneys seen on the south tower and south buttress were removed in 1908.)

Foldys Cross

Over the years there has been a gradual replacement of old benches thanks to public gifts. One of the earliest such gifts came from the Burnley committee of the Women’s Gas Federation in 1960 to mark the 21st anniversary of their organisation. The form was a solid structure of teak and was placed in the courtyard at Towneley Hall. Then in 1965, the British Dahlia Growers’ Association offered a seat and plaque to mark the work of J F Barwise to improve the dahlia and this was followed by a similar donation from Burnley Horticultural Society the same year. In 1976, Towneley Tennis Club donated two 6 foot boulevard seats to celebrate 50 years of tennis at Causeway End.

It appears the first donation of a memorial seat from private individuals was in 1979, when according to the minutes of the Recreation and Leisure Committee “the Borough Recreation Officer reported that persons mentioned wish to donate a seat in memory of their son in one of the parks. The donation was gratefully received and the officers were authorised to deal with similar future donations on their merits and locate them on appropriate sites under control of this committee”.

There have been so many of these memorial donations since 1979 that the Heritage Lottery Fund have suggested that the modern benches were not in keeping with the historic landscape. As a result, the offer of benches is now discouraged.

This entry was posted in 20th_century and tagged , on by .

About sbarker1

I live on the edge of Towneley Park and am a member of the Friends of Towneley Park. A history of Towneley Park research group has recently been started and this blog has been started to allow research members to make information more widely available and hopefully to get comments from people with memories of the park.

1 thought on “A seat in the sun

  1. Patricia Oliver

    I’m taken by the name Foldys …a variation of FOULDS ,I guess ..many in my family tree.

    Another thing : my 2 X gt-grandfather ,James SHACKLETON was Head Gamekeeper on the Towneley estate 19thC …I have a nice pic of him w/ I post from time-to-time on Twitter !


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