Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001458
Date first listed: 28-Nov-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Preston (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SD 51634 31118
A municipal park, opened to the public in 1910, with design elements provided shortly afterwards by the landscape architect Thomas H Mawson.
The land for Haslam Park, an area of pasture, was the gift of Mary, daughter of John Haslam, a local cotton mill owner, who donated the parcel of land to the town and had it laid out in her father's memory. The park opened in 1910. Early in 1911 the Town Clerk of Preston contacted Thomas H Mawson (1864-1933) for his advice to the Parks Committee on the completion of Haslam Park. The work had been started to plans prepared by the Borough surveyor's office, but Miss Haslam decided to pay additionally for construction and professional fees, in order that the best use was made of her gift. One of her main concerns was that ample space and provision should be made for children.
Mawson drew up a new plan, incorporating, where possible, the existing layout which included the line of the main walk parallel to the railway, the superintendent's house and main entrance, and the planting. As a result of a recommendation by Mawson the Savick Brook runs through the Park, forming a feature within it, rather than marking the northern boundary as was originally planned. A written report was submitted in 1912 followed by an amended scheme which better fitted the tight budget. The revised proposals omitted the lake, substituting the simpler initiative of widening the existing stream and constructing a less ambitious pond and cascade. The work was supervised by foremen from the Mawson firm. Mawson described this second estimate as cutting out everything that it was possible to postpone if the Park was to have any appearance of completeness or suitability for its purpose.
Mawson produced a further report, dated 1915, in order to make clear his role in the design of the Park, and to clarify what still needed doing. Through it he explained that he was anxious to safeguard his reputation by placing on record what he considered necessary to complete the Park. He stressed the importance of adding, when the opportunity presented itself, 'those features without which it loses its notes of emphasis' (Mawson 1915), including several pavilions, shelters, and a bandstand. As it stood, he considered that, although 'a very large and complete result has been obtained for the money available', and that 'a foundation strong, sure and well laid' was in place, the site remained in a state of incompleteness (ibid). His full proposals, however, continue to remain on paper only.
The Park remains (1999) in public use and ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Haslam Park lies on the north-west side of Preston, north of Ashton, in the area known as Lane Ends. The 30ha site is crossed centrally from east to west by the Savick Brook. The site is bounded to the south by the railway (formerly the London and Midland Railway) and to the west by a stretch of open ground leading to the Lancaster Canal. To the north-west and north-east it is bounded by the Canal itself and to the east by the rear gardens of houses facing onto Windsor Avenue. The setting is largely urban, with open ground stretching away to the west.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Both of the two main entrances lie on the south side of the park. At the south-east tip of the site, off the north side of the Blackpool Road, stands a set of ashlar and wrought-iron gate piers and gates (1910, listed grade II), accompanied by a lodge. An outer pair of large gate piers capped by cornices and ball finials flank an inner pair of wrought-iron standards supporting double carriage gates between single pedestrian gates, the overthrow carrying the Borough coat of arms. A pair of cast-iron lamp posts (c 1910, listed grade II) stand to either side of the gates.
A double lime avenue along the south side of the park links the south-east entrance to that at the south-west corner. The south-west entrance is off the east side of Cottam Lane, close to the bridge where the railway crosses over the road. A side gate leads from the Lane to a walk up into the park, but the more imposing entrance is via a set of grand steps which lead steeply up to a pair of gates (listed grade II), initialled H P, opening onto what originated as a circular flower garden at the west end of the lime avenue. The line of the walk predates Mawson's involvement at the site, but he was responsible for the planting of the avenue, and for the raising of the Cottam Lane entrance, with its gateway, to close the vista.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Approximately one third of the way along the avenue, c 200m from the south-east gate, stands a cast-iron drinking fountain on a stone base (1911, listed grade II) which bears the inscriptions 'presented by Councillor WG Makinson, January 1911' and 'keep the pavement dry'. Mawson strongly recommended a pavilion at the central point of the promenade, but the funds for this were not forthcoming.
Along the east side of the park is a broad walk planted with limes along its west side, separating the park from a strip of land used as the works depot at the southern end, and formerly a garden and open air bath at the northern end. To the west of this walk lie the bowling greens, accompanied by a pair of pavilions.
From the north end of the broad walk, paths lead round the north side of the park to join the south-west entrance, north-west over the Savick Brook to join the Canal, and north round the lake which lies close to the Canal, c 400m north of the south-east entrance. The water for the lake is supplied from an overflow of the Canal, entering the lake via a rockwork cascade which lies to the south of the aqueduct (1797, listed grade II) which carries the Canal over the Brook.
T H Mawson and Sons, Haslam Park, Preston. A brief review of work accomplished and of possibilities for future development, (May 1915), (Preston Borough Council Parks Dept) T H Mawson, The Life and Work of An English Landscape Architect (1927), p 186
Description written: March 2000 Register Inspector: SR Edited: March 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 4231
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