Residents urged to enjoy historic
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