A public park of 1887 with lakes, winding tree-lined carriage drives and paths, shrubberies, and much original furniture including a bandstand.
Reasons for Designation
Queen’s Park, Longton, opened in 1888, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the park is a good example of a later Victorian municipal park in an industrial town;
* Design: its design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of the 1880s;
* Designer: the park was designed and laid out by the Duke of Sutherland’s Land Agent John H Garrett;
* Historic interest: the park was the first public pleasure ground in The Potteries;
* Structures: the park retains various C19 park structures, many locally manufactured;
* Planting: good mature trees survive, with tree-lined paths and drives.
Although said to have been considered by the Duke of Sutherland as early as 1879, work on the Queen's Park began only in 1887, the Queen's Golden Jubilee year, on forty-five acres (c 18ha) given by the Duke to the Borough of Longton. Longton was then expanding from the straggling village of Lane End, among the developers being the Duke himself with the suburb of Florence immediately to the north-east of the park which was built up in the 1860s. The park, the first public 'pleasure ground' in the Potteries, opened in 1888 when the Rev Salt praised it as an example of the 'best practical solution of the problem between the landed aristocracy and socialism'. The total cost was estimated to be £6000, which was mostly met by voluntary subscription. Some £1000 of the total was given by the mayor, the local manufacturer John Aynsley, who had been instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Queen's Park lies c 8km south-east of the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme on the southern edge of Longton. On two sides (to the north, Queen's Park Avenue, and west, Trentham Avenue) the park is adjoined by Victorian suburban housing, whereas to the south, beyond the embankment of the former railway which here loops around and bounds the site, is open country. The highest ground in the Queen's Park is along its northern edge; from here it slopes gently down to the two large ponds which drain via a weir at the west corner of the park. The park is of 18ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The three main gates, two with lodges, lie along Queen's Park Avenue. They were designed by J Taylor. At the north corner of the park is a large, two-storey lodge in the half-timbered Queen Anne style, originally the home of the Park Superintendent. To one side is a toilet block in similar style, and to the other an impressive entrance with tall brick gate piers, main iron gates decorated with the crests of the Duke of Sutherland, the Mayor and the Borough of Longton, pedestrian side gates, and splayed walls with elaborate iron railings. The other lodge is at the east corner of the park, a two-storey brick building, its upper storey tile-hung. To the west side are gates of similar design to those at the Superintendent's lodge. The third set of main gates, midway between the lodges and opposite the junction with Carlisle Street, are also of this design. A lesser gate lies on the west side of the park, on Trentham Road.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The park is roughly rectangular, and is c 700m long from north-west to south-east by 300m wide. Its layout has remained virtually unaltered since it was laid out. Three main zones can be identified. The half of the park to the south of the Superintendent's Lodge, essentially the west half of the landscape, is more densely and formally laid out, with an intricate curving network of tree-lined carriage rides and broad paths running between shrubberies and lawns with formal bedding schemes. Iron benches of several different designs are placed at frequent intervals along the paths and drives, at intersections of which are 2m high cast-iron posts; at least two partially retain their 'Carriage Drive' finger signs. These and the benches were supplied by the Longton foundry of Edwards & Jones. Near the centre of this zone is a cast-iron (by Dean & Lowe, of Stoke) octagonal bandstand. East of this, and close to Queen's Park Avenue, are two C20 hard tennis courts. On the east edge of the zone, 100m south of the Carlisle Street gates, is the central feature of the park, an elaborate stone clock tower. North-east of the clock tower, and on the south-east side of the Carlisle Street gates, is a circular, later C20, children's playground with apparatus enclosed within a hedge.
In the southern part of the zone, and between the lakes and the bandstand, are three roughly circular bowling greens, each with a shelter; two of those are probably of the late C19, and one of the C20.
The east half of the park is far more open, with only one main drive running east/west across its centre in addition to those along its north and south sides. The trees along the centre drive are especially striking, with copper beech alternating with green-leaved species. On the south edge of the zone, adjoining the embankment of the former railway, mature poplars mark the site of a now disappeared children's playground.
The park was designed and its laying-out supervised by John H Garrett, the Duke of Sutherland's land agent. Some 15,000 trees and shrubs were donated by the Duke of Sutherland and other patrons, and the lakes stocked with coarse fish - fishing was allowed from 1890, and there were boats for hire. In 1889 sixty cast-iron 'Keep off the Grass' notice plates were purchased. The park staff then comprised a uniformed Superintendent, an Assistant, and six labourers. Swings and other children's facilities were a later introduction.
A feature of the park in the late C19 and early C20 was a nursery garden with glasshouses in the triangular area between the east lodge and the railway. In the late C20 this was a council depot.