A late C19 public park designed by Joseph Fox Sharp, with C20 additions.
East Park was opened in 1887 to a design by Joseph Fox Sharp, the Borough Engineer for Kingston-Upon-Hull.The design of East Park is reminiscent of Pearson Park (qv) to the north of the city and includes a carriage drive around its perimeter. The intention, as with Pearson Park, was that land adjoining the park should be developed for housing but this did not happen. The surrounding land was sold off piecemeal over a number of years with areas to the west and north being absorbed into the park while an area to the south was developed for sports facilities. In 1900 a 'children's mound' was created in the central section of the park which included rockwork and tunnels. A park keeper's lodge was added to the north of the main entrance from the Holderness Road in 1902 to a design by the city architect, Joseph H Hirst. In 1912 the watchtower from Hull Citadel (garrison) was moved to the entrance of the Khyber Pass, the central ornamental rockwork in the park. The watchtower was removed in 1998. Thomas Ferens presented the land for the boating lake, to the north of the park, to the city in 1913 so linking the park with the adjacent King George V playing fields. The boating lake was extended in 1923 and by 1926 a model yacht pond had been made in the north-west corner of the park. Six tennis courts were created to the west and east of the ornamental gardens in the western section of the park in 1925, and in 1929 a Wicksteed splash boat structure was installed at the boating lake. Additional land to the north of the lake and at the eastern end of the park was acquired as the result of the development of the north-east ring road in the 1920s. There was no designer or comprehensive plan for the C20 development of the park.
The complete redesign of the park recommended by E Prentice Mawson in his survey of Hull parks in 1948 was not implemented, but by the 1950s the late C19 ornamental lake had been filled in and the conservatory and bandstand had been removed. The Peter Pan Lake to the east of the boating pool was filled in in 1956, likewise the paddling pool in the King George V playing fields area in 1960. A small zoo was introduced into the park in 1963 on the site of the irregular-shaped lake of Sharp's design. In 1964 the East Park Lido was opened in this part of the park but was demolished in 1988. A Veterans Pavilion and bowling green was constructed on the Holderness Road in 1958, and the Woodford Leisure Centre was opened in 1985, both on land intended for housing in the original design. The late C19 park gates at the main entrance from the Holderness Road were removed in 1964. Much of the original layout of the park has been retained although parts were adapted in the 1960s. None of the late C19 park buildings survive. East Park remains (2001) open to the public and is in the ownership of Hull City Council
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
East Park lies c 6km east of Hull city centre and covers an area of c 36ha. The site is almost completely flat with the exception of the 1880s rockwork, terracing, and mounds to the west of the site, and mounds surrounding the Peter Pan Lake (disused) adjacent to the George V playing fields. The park lies to the north of the Holderness Road (A165) and the southern boundary of the park follows the irregular line of later road construction and housing development. To the east the boundary is marked by the garden fences of housing along Ings Road, as is that to the north, along James Reckitt Avenue. The west boundary lies adjacent to the houses of Summergangs Road. Sections of late C20 metal fencing which run along the Holderness Road and around the Westminster Avenue and East Park Avenue entrance provide the only formal boundaries to the park; elsewhere the boundary is formed by the wooden or metal fences of the gardens which back onto the park. The park is surrounded by dense residential deveolpment.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance stands at the south-east corner of the park, giving access from the Holderness Road. This brutalist concrete structure was designed by the City Architect and erected in 1964. To the east of the gates stands the park lodge set in its own garden and surrounded by trees and shrubs. From the main entrance a straight drive leads north-west to the carriage drive which encloses the western area of the park. The main entrance and the carriage drive are flanked by mature trees including horse chestnut. Wheatley elms were removed in the 1970s. A second entrance gives access from Westminster Avenue and East Park Avenue on the south-east boundary and has been enclosed with modern decorative metal fencing. Further pedestrian entrances give access from James Reckitt Avenue to the north, from the junction of Ings Road and James Reckitt Avenue to the north-east, from Hurley Close to the south-east, and from Summergangs Road to the west.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The main entrance leads north-west to the main axial walk of Sharp's design, which remains intact. The area of open land to the west and north-west of the axial walk and ornamental garden was intended to be used for active games (Landscape Design Assocs 2000). The tennis courts introduced into this area in the 1920s have been removed and only a few of the trees running along the edge of the carriage drive remain. There are some mature hollies in the central area of this section of the park and remnants of kidney-shaped corner planting areas close to the central axis but their shape has been eroded. Rustic arbours designed to give views across this open area were removed after the Second World War. A straight path linking the Summergangs Road entrance on the western boundary to the centre of this part of the park replaces an earlier curved path which ran from the central axial path around the north-west corner of the park. A modern straight earth bank runs east/west across the north part of this area, separating the sports pitches. The rugby pitches at the south-west corner of the park are on land acquired in 1925 and formerly occupied by nurseries.
The main ornamental features are situated in the eastern part of this half of the park and are approached either from the main axis to the west or from a second axis to the east. Only part of the late C19 path system between these two axes survives. Bowling greens at the south-east corner have been in this position since 1920. Bowling facilities were increased in the 1920s but the bowling pavilion was burned down in 1998. Mature hollies flank the axial walk next to the greens. A1960s planting scheme of geometric sunken paved areas and raised beds occupies the slightly raised terrace in the centre of the design and replaces a greenhouse which was bombed during the Second World War. This area, which includes hollies and specimen trees, is overgrown
The main features situated between the two axes include the maze and the Khyber Pass. The rockwork, known as the Khyber Pass, forms part of the late C19 design (Landscape Design Assocs 2000) and is constructed so that it is impossible to see through from one part of the Pass to the other. The central section of the Pass is made of large blocks of sandstone set in bedding planes, the end sections of rockwork are made from brick covered with cement render, and some sections are topped with brick clinker. The Pass formerly incorporated part of the dungeon from the town jail, used as a store or dog pound, together with recesses for water and spray fountains. None of these features survive. Other lost features include the bridge which crossed the Pass; the Arab doorway from the East African pavilion at the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was installed at the entry to the Pass; and the watchtower from Hull garrison which was moved to the park in 1912 (removed 1998). The two Coade stone roundels, from a set called the Four Seasons, set into the brick courses at the western entrance to the Pass are from Suffolk Palace, the mansion of the local de la Pole family which formerly stood on a site opposite St Mary's church in Lowgate in the centre of Hull. The earth banks, rockwork, and interlinking pathways immediately to the south of the Khyber Pass were constructed as a children's playground in the early C20. This area is variously known as the maze, the valley garden, or the rockery.
The late C19 irregular-shaped lake which occupies the north-east corner of this part of the park was filled in in the 1950s and this area, with its undulating landform, is now enclosed by high chainlink fencing as protection for the creatures such as wallabies, deer, goats, and peacocks which are kept here within a small zoo. There are a number of concrete paths and animal shelters and the area is heavily planted. The flat circular area planted with shrubs marks the site of the bandstand (erected 1887) which was demolished in the 1950s. The model yacht pond at the north-west corner of the park dates from the 1890s. The land along the western boundary outside the carriage drive is open and leads south to a children's playground (1930s) and a works depot. Hard-surface tennis courts (established 1920s, derelict 2001) lie on the east side of the carriage drive next to the boundary with East Park Avenue.
The 8ha boating lake occupies most of the northern section of the park. The lake, together with land to the north and east, was developed in phases as land became available for the expansion of the park in the early decades of the C20. The level area of open grass to the south-east of the lake which backs onto the houses of Westminster Avenue is occupied by the King George V playing fields. To the east of the boathouse is an earth embankment which curves around towards the lake and encloses a flat grassed area. This is the site of the former Peter Pan Lake and bathing pools created from the brick pits shown on the 1891 and 1910 OS maps. Thomas Ferens presented the City with 8 acres (c 3ha) of land to create the boating lake in 1913, and the lake was extended in 1923. To the west the lake, which has eight islands, has concrete edging (1920s and 1930s). A stone boundary wall runs along the south side of the western section of the lake. A double-arched stone bridge (c 1925) with decorative stone balustrading (semi-derelict 2001) carries the footpath from the James Reckitt Avenue entrance to the north to the Westminster Avenue entrance to the south. The central section of the lake widens to the south to form a boating pool. The splash boat to the west of the boating pool was installed in 1929. The land to the west of the pool is well wooded.The brick ticket office on the east side of the boating pool was built in 1951. To the north of the lake is level grassland planted with scattered individual trees which runs directly down to the lake edge.An asphalt path runs around the northern side of the lake and ends at James Reckitt Avenue.
The children's playground to the south-east of the boating pool is a late C20 addition and is surrounded with galvanised metal fencing.
Victoria History of the County of York: East Riding 1, (1969), p 382
Parks for the People ( A Strategy for the Development of Hull's Parks in the 21st century. Restoration Plan, (Landscape Design Associates 2000)
East Park Historical Survey, (Landscape Design Associates 2000)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1926 edition
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1891
3rd edition published 1910
Minutes of the Parks and Recreation Grounds Committee 1889(1967 (Hull City Archives)
Collection of letters, papers and plans for design (Hull City Archives)
E Prentice Mawson, General Report on the Parks, Cemeteries and Open Spaces, (unpublished report for City Council, 1948), (Hull Local Studies Library)
Description written: January 2001
Register Inspector: JAR
Edited: May 2001