The Park's heritage and your memories
When Alexandra Park opened in August 1870 it was ahead of its time. The design, by Alexander Hennell, was experimental in its use of oval shaped and curved pathways, which contrasted with the more rigid geometry seen previously in Victorian landscapes. It was also unusual in fusing both sports facilities and ornamental features within one site.
Success in the bid will see physical improvements to the Park around its original design. There will also be new interpretation, helping to bring the Park's varied and vibrant stories to life.
From its Victorian beginnings right through to the twenty first century, the Park has been so many things to an incredibly diverse range of people. There have been Victorian visitors promenading in their Sunday best, militant suffragettes setting off a bomb in the cactus house, political rallies at the Park's Speakers' Corner, new communities creating a partying at the Caribbean Carnival and 1960s teenagers getting up to mischief in the rockery.
We are hoping to put more of the Park's history on line, including people's memories like those below. If you have stories you would like to share with us please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in researching more about the history of the park and / or collecting people's memories for us, please let us know.
A potted history of the park can be found from this link.
Click here to find the Park's original historic design.
Memories of an old Moss Side girl
I grew up in the old Moss Side of the1950s and 60s, spending many wonderful days in Alexandra Park.
In the summer months we would have fishing nets, bought from Gladys' shop on the corner of Graeme Street and Bedwell Street. We would spend hours at the big pond fishing for sticklebacks that would be carefully placed into our specially prepared jam jars and then taken home to our long-suffering mothers. A 'picnic' would be prepared for us every morning in the summer school holidays. It would consist of bottles of water (empty mineral bottles filled with tap water) and we would have sugar or jam butties, depending on how wealthy our mums and dads were that day or week. We would also delight in feeding our picnic leftovers to the grateful ducks that followed anyone sporting a bag around the edge of the pond.
The rockery garden was always too much of a temptation for us and we were not allowed in unless accompanied by an adult. However, the lure of hidden enclosures or 'dens' was always too much for us and we would sneak in when the Parkie wasn't looking. Naturally, he would always spot us and the sound of his whistle was enough to send us scattering in all directions. (He never did catch any of us and I imagine that he never intended to!)
On the rare occasions that one or all of us would have some spare money it would be duly spent on ice-cream wafers at the park café and we would sit and slurp them up as we watched the 'posh' people play tennis. From there we would venture to the corner of the park that faced Bishop Bilsborrow School on Princess Road and there we would find the playground.
Central to the playground area was a large seesaw that could easily balance three children on either end but again, this was only an event that could take place in the absence of the Parkie. I remember clearly one occasion when the opposite end to me was suddenly vacated without warning. I was thrown from the relative safety of my seat and my hands slipped from the upside down, U-shaped handle. In seconds the right hand side of my face smacked violently against the cold steel of the seesaw and I spent at least two weeks watching my cheek change from a deep shade of purple to blue and eventually to yellow.
Less danger lay in the far corner of the playground which housed the slide that was never big enough for any of us and we always wished for those extra few steps which would have supplied the sought after thrill. Nonetheless we would take our turn to climb up and take great glee sliding down, bravely not holding on the sides!
What I remember of these halcyon days was a great deal of adventure and fun. Being an avid reader of Enid Blyton books I was always imagining that we were all part of the 'Secret Seven' and then later, the 'Famous five' avidly solving mysteries and having marvellous adventures. However, we never expected the rewards of scones with 'lashings' of cream!