Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Blackburn with Darwen (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 68694 21600



A public park, first opened in 1889 to the designs of the borough engineer, but with later enlargements.


The land for the park, an area of cloughs and quarries, was acquired from the Lord of the Manor, Rev W A Duckworth in 1885 and extended in 1891 and 1914. The development of the park started in 1889, the plans having been drawn up by W Stubbs, borough engineer, and carried out by Mr Hogg, park superintendent. A further 2ha (5a) were purchased in 1891, this latter transaction being at a nominal payment of £1, but with the Corporation undertaking to construct a road round the park. The road and the transformation of the ground into a park led to the development of the surrounding land, and the erection of a large number of villa residences. The park was increased to its present size in 1914 with the addition of land extending from Manor Road south to the foot of Darwen Moor. It remains in use as a public amenity. Bold Venture Park forms one of a set of three registered parks in Darwen, the other two being Whitehall Park and Sunnyhurst Woods.

DESCRIPTION LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Bold Venture Park, 8ha, lies on the south-west side of Darwen, occupying the valley of the Bold Venture Brook which leads up from the area known as Belgrave, to the moors beyond the edge of the town. The roughly rectangular 5ha area of the main body of the park is defined by estate fencing along Inverness Road to the north, Belgrave Road to the south-east, and Manor Road to the north-west. Beyond Manor Road the early C20 extension to the south continues as a long narrow strip of 3ha, along the sides of the brook. The ground falls quite steeply from south-west to north-east.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main gates, which stand on Inverness Road at the north-east side of the park, were presented to the Corporation in 1954, in memory of Alderman J Gregory JP, by his family. There are five further entrances into the main part of the park, two from Belgrave Road and three from Manor Road. The entrance to the park extension is from Manor Road.


The levelled area cut into the north-west corner of the park, formerly the site of the Rutherford Bandstand, erected in 1896, is used as a children's playground. Nearby is a quarryman's hut, a relict from the days when the then adjacent Dolmore Quarry was being worked, the latter having been filled in to form the bandstand area. The park nursery is also in this area, occupying a site adjacent to the western boundary of the park. South-west of the playground, facing south and overlooking the lake, stands the Hindle Aviary, presented by Mr and Mrs F G Hindle in 1901 to commemorate their silver wedding and erected to plans prepared by R W Smith-Saville, borough engineer. The Darwen War Memorial (listed grade II), unveiled in 1921, stands on five steps, symbolic of the five years of the First World War, at the north-east corner of the site.

As it enters the northern half of the site the Bold Venture Brook makes a dramatic fall to a pool, continuing through the site as a series of lesser falls and pools. The water is crossed in all by three stone and ironwork bridges. The lowest of the pools is also the largest (0.5ha). It predates the laying out of the park but forms the centrepiece of the late C19 design. The water is planted round with ornamental shrubbery and on a raised bank to its north-west, overlooking the pond, is an area of formal gardens. At the southern end of the main pool stands the Shorrock Drinking Fountain, donated to the park by Councillor Robert Shorrock on the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

A second water course leads into the southern end of the park, to the west of the main gorge, this stream too being worked into a series of falls and small pools. Near, and to the east of its top pool stands an observatory, originally the Gillibrand Observatory, the gift of Councillor J W Gillibrand, in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. In the south-west corner of the park the circular path layout reflects the site of the Huntington Fountain, presented by the workers at Belgrave Mills in memory of James Huntington in 1890. This southern half of the site, south of Manor Road, is less formal, with walks leading along the wooded banks of the Bold Venture Brook. Immediately south of the public road stands the Ashton Kiosk, the gift of Mr and Mrs H D Ashton in 1902.

REFERENCES Borough of Darwen Souvenir (1902)

Maps OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1894

Description written: February 1999 Register Inspector: CB Edited: April 1999


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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