Memorial Park is a much-loved Green Flag park in the heart of Fleetwood. It was designed and developed in 1926 by Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie in commemoration of the First World War, as a memorial to the Fallen of Fleetwood and the surrounding area. It is one of only four listed war memorial parks and gardens in the country.
Memorial Park has been completely restored thanks to £2.4m funding from the Heritage and Big Lottery Funds. Essential conservation work was carried out including restoration of the war memorial, entrances, lily pond, pathways and pavilion. There's new seating, lighting and places to picnic; and a greater range of sport and play facilities including a multi-use games area and Parkour equipment, alongside the traditional bowling greens and tennis courts.
This mid-1920s First World War memorial park is registered at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
- rarity: few First World War memorial parks and gardens were commissioned and of those that were only two, at Nottingham and Walsall, are registered
- interest: it is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of residents of the town and surrounding areas during both World Wars and later military campaigns, and as such it connects Fleetwood with great events on the world stage
- architect: the park's designer was a town planner and civic designer of national repute
- intactness: the park's 1926 layout survives relatively intact and the circular focal point containing the war memorial with five radiating avenues remains as originally designed
- group value: it has strong group value with the war memorial located within the park, and the park gates at the east end of Remembrance Avenue which have been built in the form of a triumphal arch
Fleetwood Memorial Park was developed out of the earlier Warrenhurst Park, itself an early-C20 park designed by Thomas Lumb of Blackpool for the Fleetwood Estate Company on land formerly belonging to Warrenhurst House. The company later gave Warrenhurst Park to the Borough of Fleetwood as a gift to the townspeople. In 1925 the noted town planner Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie, RIBA, (1879-1957) developed the park into a memorial to the Fallen of World War I and it was renamed the Memorial Park. Two years later a war memorial statue was commissioned. Designed and sculpted by Herbert Tyson Smith, it was installed in the main avenue, known as Remembrance Avenue, and the avenue was lined with elm trees (replanted in 2010), each of which was dedicated to a family in Fleetwood who had been bereaved during the war. At about this time Alex Edwards became the Park Superintendent. Edwards had previously designed the rock gardens at Kew and he, along with the next Park Superintendent, Mr Hewitson, were responsible for the installation of the lily pond and rockery, the rose garden, greenhouses, nurseries, bowling greens and tennis courts. The park was later extended slightly at its north-west corner to incorporate part of the garden of the former house known as Warrenhurst.
In the latter half of the C20 a number of further changes were made. Amongst the most significant were the removal of a formal park entrance on Wellbeck Avenue, the moving of tennis courts and pavilions from their earlier location flanking the south-western avenue to a position north west of the war memorial, construction of a replacement tennis pavilion, the creation of three bowling greens and construction of two associated pavilions to the south-east of the war memorial. In recent years modern railings have been installed along the boundary with Park Avenue, anti-vandal fencing has been installed around the bowling greens and a new children's play area has been created. The tennis courts are now (2011) unused and the pavilion is now used for maintenance purposes.
Access to the park is gained from five entrances:
- Park Avenue - through the triumphal archway and gates on the east side of the park
- Wolsley Road - north side of the park where there are brick and sandstone gate posts topped by ball finials
- Wellbeck Avenue - entrance flanked by low modern walls on the park's north side at the end of
- the fourth is situated near the park's south west corner and is of a similar design to that at the end of Wolseley Road but is on a smaller scale
- junction of Park Avenue and Nelson Road - the southern end of the park
To the south-west of the war memorial there is a triangular sunken rose garden with a small centrally-placed circular lawn from which paths radiate in five directions. South of the rose garden you’ll find seating and a modern children's play area.
There is an ornamental pond with a limestone rockery lining, trees, shrubs, flowerbeds and a limestone rockery. The western end of the park is devoted to a wild flower meadow.
- children’s play areas
- a multi-use games area
- tennis courts
- bowling greens
- woodland walk
- picnic areas and seating
- sensory garden