27th February, 2019. History of Hull’s Public Parks, 6.
This third blog about the early days of West Park includes a picture (above) of the original bandstand on the island (s.p.b.), this taken from the Malet Lambert Reprint identified in the last blog. The lake, island, rustic bridge and bandstand are long-gone.
Already by the late 1880s the Corporation Parks Committee was making provision for team sports at West Park. In October 1887 there was a reference to a football dressing room while in November 1888 Kingston Juniors Football Club asked to play on the ‘Recreation Ground’ adjoining West Park (roughly where part of the KCOM stadium car park now is) ‘during the season’.
In October 1888 a greenhouse was purchased for West Park (this would have been a large public access structure) while in June of that year 20 extra benches had been ordered.
In September 1889 a ‘Young Indian Gazelle’ was donated to the Park by a sea captain, as were many such donations (s.p.b.s).
As regards access to the Park(s) in June 1890 the Committee decided that all the Corporations ‘Pleasure Grounds’ were to be open from 6am April to September, 7am over the winter, and closed one hour after sunset – this making clear the enclosed nature of early parks (s.p.b.s).
Initially West Park had as its neighbour over the Hull to Scarborough rail line Hull’s Botanic Gardens and certain minutes make it clear that there was a footbridge over the rail line for visitors to access one from another. However, by June 1891 the ex-Botanic Gardens were being replaced by the building of Hymers College and its extensive playing fields. The governors of the new school were to prove useful to the Parks Committee by offering, at preferential costs, fixtures, fittings and plants from the Botanic Gardens to West Park. Hymers College was funded from the bequest of the Rev. J. Hymers, Rector of Brandesburton ‘for the training of intelligence in whatever social rank of life it may be found’ (amongst Hull’s population). This direct grand school went independent in 1975 when the rest of Hull’s educational provision went comprehensive.