Res­i­dents urged to en­joy his­toric

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A WOMAN is urg­ing peo­ple to take ad­van­tage of a pub­lic park on the an­niver­sary it was gifted to the town.

Vic­to­ria Park was given to Mac­cles­field by phi­lan­thropist Fran­cis Brock­le­hurst on May 14, 1894.

He gave up 12 acres of his own es­tate and turned into a recre­ational par­adise.

The park, named af­ter Queen Vic­to­ria, went on to be en­joyed by gen­er­a­tions of Max­o­ni­ans, in­clud­ing Nancy Had­field-Brock­le­hurst, who spent her ‘golden’ child­hood play­ing there.

Now Nancy, 88, is on a mis­sion to cel­e­brate Brock­le­hurst’s legacy ahead of its 122nd an­niver­sary.

Nancy said: “Fran­cis Brock­le­hurst gave his land to the peo­ple of Mac­cles­field. Twelve acres in­clud­ing his home ‘The Fence’ was de­mol­ished and a new road was made around the park which be­came Fence Av­enue. It took months to com­plete and the fi­nance was heavy but he pro­vided it all him­self. Noth­ing was for­got­ten: the en­ter­tain­ment for young and old and ev­ery­thing was of the finest qual­ity.”

Re­ports from the time re­veal that when the park was opened, the town was dec­o­rated with flags and bunting, stretched across road and street, and in­volved a pro­ces­sion of dig­ni­taries.

Nancy said she has great mem­o­ries grow­ing up around the park.

She said: “I, like hun­dreds of chil­dren, had a golden child­hood from this gen­eros­ity. Vic­to­ria Park was my play­ground. Our de­light was a large stone mon­u­ment with a sun­dial on top and in the mid­dle was a plaque with a gen­tle­man’s face which stood out proud.

“There were three flat stone cir­cles all around the mon­u­ment, so of course we danced around and played.

“We called him Mr Nose and be­ing young chil­dren stroked, rubbed and touched the nose. We even kissed it. Over the years it be­came shiny with all the at­ten­tion.

“Such was (Fran­cis Brock­le­hurst’s) gen­eros­ity we all en­joyed space, light and were close to na­ture. From that early time in my life, I be­came a coun­try girl and for­ever grate­ful to that good man.”

Sadly, the mon­u­ment was van­dalised and re­moved, and now all that stands in thanks to Fran­cis is a plaque.

Nancy plans to pay trib­ute to him on Brock­le­hurst on May 14 by plant­ing a red rose at the me­mo­rial.

She said: “I would en­cour­age oth­ers to come and en­joy the park.”

●● Fran­cis Brock­le­hurst gave 12 acres of land to the peo­ple of Mac­cles­field and cre­ated Vic­to­ria Park in 1894

●● Nancy Had­field Brock­le­hurst

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