25th February, 2019. History of Hull’s Public Parks, 5.

The picture above is one of three grainy images of West Park, Hull copied from One Hundred and Twenty-One Views of Hull and District, c.1910, this publication reproduced as Malet Lambert Local History Reprint, Extra Volume No. 82. The volume also contains early photos of East, Pearson and Pickering Parks (in the last case only the entrance gates). The picture above shows the original West Park entrance off Anlaby Road.

By February 1885 most of the basic ground-work for West Park had been completed (s.p.b.) and the gardener was ordered to keep ‘meteorological observations’, these recordings went on for many years and were done by filling-in a pro-forma, presumably a weather station had been installed in West Park.

Between 1885 and 1890 visitor attractions at West Park were rapidly expanded. By March 1885 the issue of an aviary was being discussed in Committee, two months later the donation of exotic birds from members of the public began and continued apace for the rest of the decade, some ‘caught off the west coast of Africa’. By October 1885 there was a need for accommodation ‘for wintering the Birds in the Aviary’. The following year it was often recorded that, as well as birds and some mammals. fish and exotic plants were being donated to both West and Pearson Parks.

Clearly in its early days West Park drew a lot of people to the site. In April 1887 it was agreed to construct a refreshment pavilion at West Park, tenders having already been invited from persons wishing to sell refreshments there (later this building was recorded as being open from midday to ‘closing time’ for the Park except on Sundays (Sabbath Observance) and Christmas Day. Park officials and the police were clearly usually on duty when the Park was open, the latter being required to stop people with donkeys, wagonettes and traps plying for hire in the Park at holiday times.

(To be continued).