Burslem Park, a public park, was laid out by Thomas H Mawson and opened to the public in 1894.
Reasons for Designation
Burslem Park, Stoke-on-Trent, opened in 1894, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Design: although enhanced, the park’s design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of 1894;
* Designer: the park was designed by Thomas H Mawson, the leading landscape designer;
* Historic interest: the park was laid out on formerly derelict industrial land as civic improvements were made around stoke-on-Trent;
* Structures: the park retains various late C19 and later park structures, including a Pulhamite rockery;
Planting: retains a variety of mature planting and specimen trees.
The site, largely an area of derelict industrial land with pit shafts and cinder heaps, was laid out as a public park by Thomas H Mawson (d 1933) for the Town Council. Work began in 1893 and was completed in 1894, the cost of around £15,500 having been raised partly by voluntary subscription, and partly from the rates. The total cost of the park was over £17,000, meaning not all the facilities were available til after the opening of the park. Vast quantities of soil were brought into the site in order that the park could be laid out. Local builders were used for the main items of work within the park. Burslem Park was opened on the 30th August 1894, a month after the Cauldon Grounds (the first phase of Hanley Park, qv), also designed by Mawson.
Two shelters on the terrace were donated by Messrs. J. Gibson and Sons, another shelter was erected above the lake on a reclaimed pit mound. Two terracotta fountains, given by Mrs and the Misses Wilkinson in memory of the late Arthur Wilkinson were erected either side of the bandstand on the terrace. The park gates and seats were donated by the manufacturers, while the main gates near the Moorland entrance were made by Messrs Brown - Birmingham and designed by Mawson. The gates to Park Road and Haywood Hospital entrance were donated by Cllr & Mrs Arrowsmith.
A programme of restoration commenced in 2005, followed by 'Parks for People', Heritage Lottery Fund and was completed in 2012.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
The Park lies 400m to the east of Burslem town centre. The western limit of the park is marked by the disused Potteries Loop railway line, the other three sides bounding roads: Moorland Road to the south; Park Road Road to the east, and Hamil Road to the north. The park is of 9ha.
ENTRANCE AND APPROACHES
Two entrances lead into the ground off Hamil Road which forms the northern boundary, three off Park Road along the eastern edge, and two off Moorland Road to the south. The gate at the south-west corner of the site is flanked by a pair of terracotta drinking fountains built into the park wall, and is accompanied Moorland lodge.
The focus of the park is the pavilion, in the fashionable late C19 Elizabethan style, which stands on the eastern edge of the Terrace. Situated towards the eastern boundary of the site is a levelled platform (used before 1893 as an athletics ground) laid out as a formal flower garden separated by paths into eight level grass areas each with central perennial planting borders. At the centre of the western side of this platform is a modern cast iron bandstand (2008) which replaced the previous original pitch-pine bandstand destroyed by fire in 2005. A formal terracotta balustrade runs the full length of the terrace with matching brick and tile shelters at the north-west and south-west corners. Two drinking fountains are set back into the side entrance of the terrace.
To either side of the central axis of the Terrace, between the pavilion and the bandstand, are two original terracotta circular basins, with simple fountains, this was the original site of donated terracotta structures removed in the 1920s due to subsidence.
To the east of the pavilion is a second formal garden, again laid out on a level platform, which would seem to be a later modification of Mawson's design, one bowling green and a recreation space with associated restored shrubbery planting. The ground behind rises through terraced stonework and a restored informal gravel path with steps to a new entrance on to Park Road.
To either side of the bandstand steps lead down to join the network of informal tarmac paths and shrubbery borders around a tee lined central grass oval space. An informal lake (covering the site of an old colliery air shaft) occupies the western part of the park, the steeply rising land at its northern end being a former spoil heap. This is set out as an extensive rockery, constructed in Pulhamite, through which runs an ornamental cascade. On the summit of the mound is a pavilion of brick and tile from which there are extensive views over the lake and across the Potteries. Standing close to the eastern bank of the water is the site of an aviary built 1900, destroyed by fire in 1994 and removed in 1995. The stonework terrace has been restored as a seating area with a decorative mosaic feature in 2007.
To the south of the park, adjacent to Moorland Road, are tennis courts and a skate park area with a newly constructed viewing platform and flagpole (early C21). To the north is a recent (late C20) children's playground and open grass area lading up to the entrance on Hamil Road.
The boundary walls to the park have been restored and all the ornamental gates repaired by a local metal works firm.