A late C19 public park with C20 additions which retains many of its original features.
Queen's Park was laid out by Major Cartwright, Surveyor General to the Duchy of Lancaster (Heywood Advertiser 1879) on land formerly belonging to the estate of Charles Martin Newhouse (d 1873) and presented to the town of Heywood by Queen Victoria in 1878. Newhouse had died intestate and his estate had reverted to Queen Victoria through the Duchy of Lancaster. The park was laid out on land which was formerly part of the grounds of Heywood House (demolished 1956) and was opened in 1879. In 1923 Alderman David Healey, a former Mayor of Heywood, donated additional land and the park was extended to the east to include a boating lake.
Queen's Park remains (2001) open to the public and is in the ownership of Rochdale Borough Council.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Queen's Park is situated c 5km to the north of Rochdale town centre. The c 13ha site is situated on a plateau falling steeply to the north and east to the valley of the River Roch. The Heywood Cricket Ground lies beyond the south-east corner of the park. The western boundary of the park is formed by the Queen's Park Road and is marked by a 1m high stone wall from which the C19 iron railings have been removed. To the south the park is bounded by the terraced housing of Heywood.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
There are five entrances to the park. The present (2001) main entrance, situated at the south-west corner of the park, was created in the 1930s and is flanked by c 2m high decorated stone gate piers. A second entrance lying to the north of the main entrance gives access to a timber-framed and tile-hung lodge (c 1879) designed by Messrs Bonn, architects, of Harrogate (Lovejoy 1998). This was intended to be the main entrance but the main access was changed as part of the redesign of the park in the 1930s. The third entrance, at the north-west corner of the park, gives access to the tennis courts and has mid C20 iron gates. On the south boundary, the fourth entrance from Park Terrace is flanked by c 2m high stone gate piers with mid C20 iron gates. The informal fifth entrance gives access from the riverside walk in the valley of the River Roch to the east. In addition to the principal entrances there are a number of informal pedestrian entrances.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The main entrance, established in the 1930s, leads north-east to the main north/south axis of the late C19 path layout. At the centre of this axis is an ornate, artificial stone pool with fountain, designed by Messrs Bonn (ibid) as part of the original layout. The pool is now (2001) filled in and used as a rose planter. The main east/west axial path of the late C19 design crosses the park at this point. A network of late C19 serpentine paths to the south of the east/west axis, and the terraces and connecting stone steps to the east and north-east of the park, remain substantially intact.
At the north-east corner of the park is a stone obelisk erected in the 1920s as a monument to a local boy, Albert Lee, who drowned trying to rescue a friend from the River Roch at this point. The early C20 path system around this monument has since been simplified. A large open area occupies the north-east quarter of the park and contains a mid C20, concrete open-air theatre. The theatre replaces the late C19 ornamental iron bandstand which formerly stood in the centre of this open lawn. Tennis courts and a bowling green (C19) occupy the north-west quarter of the park. The late C20 bowling pavilion between the tennis court and the bowling green replaces a pavilion erected as part of the late C19 design. The aviary and pet area to the west of the bowling green replace the late C19 greenhouses.
A sunken garden with ornamental planting beds lies immediately to the south-west of the central fountain. The garden dates from c 1930 when this area of the park was redesigned and the broad walk linking the entrance lodge to the central fountain was realigned. The statue of Paris which formerly stood at the centre of the sunken garden has been removed. The white-painted stone statue of Bacchus to the north of the sunken garden is a feature of the late C19 design. The polychrome brick and tile refreshment rooms immediately to the south of the sunken garden are accessed by a number of formal and informal pathways; these are also part of the late C19 design. The south-west area of the park is an open grassed area planted with individual trees. The decorative stone drinking fountain (disused) to the north-east of the main entrance had been included in this area of the park by the beginning of the C20 (OS 1908).
A large, artificial earth mound dominates the south-east quarter of the park. Stone steps give access from the south and the mound is planted with individual trees. The mound was originally constructed in the grounds of Heywood Hall to block the view of surrounding industrial areas and pre-dates the park (Lovejoy 1998). The mound was incorporated into the park's design, giving views across the surrounding countryside to the north and east. A series of rockeries and grottoes made of local clinker painted white, known locally as the 'white walls', which surrounded the mound and ran to either side of the stone steps had been removed by the mid C20 (photos, Heywood Local Studies Library).
The path system and terraces to the east of the park reflect the late C19 design, with some modifications made in the mid C20. One area of clinker 'white wall' remains on the eastern edge of the terraces overlooking the boating lake but most of the walls, grottoes, and arches which were a feature of this area of the park had been removed by the early C20. The serpentine pond (now derelict) on the south-east boundary of the park was part of the original design but was modified in the mid C20. The large boating lake at the north-east corner of the park, together with its concrete landing stage and stone boathouse (now derelict), was the main feature of the enlargement of the park in the late 1920s and opened in April 1927.
Rochdale Clothing Company Journal, (1878-80) [Heywood Local Studies Library]
Heywood Advertiser, 2 August 1879; 19 May 1939 [extracts held at Heywood Local Studies Library]
J S F Walker and A S Tindall (eds), The Country Houses of Greater Manchester (1985), pp 133-4
Queen's Park Regeneration Feasibility Study and Restoration Proposals, (Derek Lovejoy Partnership 1998)
Collection of photographs of Queen's Park, c 1900 (W11 QUE), (Heywood Local Studies Library)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition surveyed 1890-1, published 1894
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition surveyed 1890, published 1894
3rd edition published 1910
Description written: March 2001
Amended: July 2001
Register Inspector: JAR
Edited: April 2002