HERITAGE "The many FIRSTS of BOWRING PARK, ROBY, UK
BOWING PARK (formerly Roby Hall Estate) Gifted 1906 (a first Municipal Park following Open Spaces Act 1906 ) Charity No 101017 Presented and renamed On 12th June 1907 AND ITS GOLF COURSE OPENED 1913 The first Municipal Golf Course in England Collated by Audrey Wilson MBE On behalf of The Society of FRIENDS OF BOWRING PARK Founded 1989 INTRODUCTION
Several historic developments took place in 1906 and 1907 which are still impacting on Bowring Park Estate today.
On the first day of the new year 1906, the OPEN SPACES ACT was approved by Parliament on the 1st January 1906. This empowered local authorities to own and manage land for public benefit.
Alderman William Benjamin Bowring JP, who had been the first elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool for a full Municipal Year 1893-94, appears to have been negotiating the purchase of the 100 acre Roby Hall Estate at the date of the Open Spaces Act and it is very likely that the approval of the Act set the seal on the deal, because a few days later, on the 11th January 1906, Alderman Bowring wrote to Liverpool’s Town Clerk, W Pickmere, to inform him he had recently acquired the Roby Hall Estate and wished to offer it to the City for use of the people “for all time”.
The DEED OF GIFT was signed on 25th June 1906.
The following year, 1907, marked the 700th anniversary of the King John Charter, which the City of Liverpool and the City Council celebrated in all manner of ways.
Council Minutes record that 11,000 schoolchildren enjoyed SCHOOL PICNICS in Bowring Park during 1907. (this was revived by FOBP in 2007 for 6 local schools).
The official PRESENTATION of Roby Hall Estate took place on 12th June 1907 in a ceremony close to the Hall. Press report and pictures in Liverpool Mercury 15th June. Alderman Bowring had chartered a train to bring his 332 guests to Roby station. The guest list included City Aldermen and Councillors, Dignitaries and several members of the Bowring family and other notable families whose names are recorded in the annals of City history. Refreshment marquees on park lawns. Speeches were made to guests seated on the terrace close to the Hall.. Alderman Bowring handed the Deed to the Lord Mayor, Alderman John Japp, guests were informed the gifted Estate was to be renamed ‘BOWRING PARK’ in honour of the giver.
The Lord Mayor’s concluding speech expressed the sentiments of the day: “It was the citizens not of today, nor of next year, but many years to come who would enjoy these beautiful fields, and bless, he was sure, the name of the generous donor” Liverpool Mercury Alderman Bowring responded by saying he hoped the gift “would be a blessing for all time for the community”
HISTORICAL DATA: BOWRING PARK & GOLF COURSE Collated by A Wilson
New Roby Hall built by John Williamson, Mayor of Liverpool.
Opening of Liverpool-Manchester Railroad by Duke of Wellington through Roby
Benjamin Bowring opens ‘C T BOWRING’ in King Street, Liverpool, managed by his son Charles Trick Bowring, Father of WB Bowring
Alderman WB Bowring became first elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool for a full Municipal Year. (Robert Durning Holt last Mayor and first Lord Mayor 1892-3)
Open Spaces Act approved by Parliament on 1st January 1906
11 January 1906 William B Bowring’s letter to the Town Clerk of Liverpool. offered his gift of Roby Hall Estate for use of the people “for all time”
25 June 1906 DEED OF GIFT signed by Alderman W B Bowring 1907 Presentation of Roby Hall Estate, renamed ‘BOWRING PARK’ 12 June 1907 11,000 School Children visited BOWRING PARK for SCHOOL TREATS
. 1910/11 BOWRING HOUSE SUMMER SCHOOL for ‘physically defective children
Allotment plots opened in BOWRING PARK by Liverpool City Council
Municipal Golf Course in BOWRING PARK agreed by Lpool City Council 1913 BOWRING PARK GOLF COURSE opened by Ald.Sir William B Bowring The first Municipal Golf Course in England.
6A ‘BOWRING PARK’ TRAM TERMINUS opens at Bowring Park
1914-18 World War I – agricultural use of the golf course and gardens.
OLDE ENGLISH GARDENS opened in BOWRING PARK walled garden Also conveyance of land from Earl of Derby (Pye’s farm, at east boundary)
WW II – Agricultural use of golf course, vegetables in walled garden. Hall and grounds used for military occupation. Hall demolished late 1940s
Post-war Refurbishment, re-opening of Park and Golf Course, Coronation Year.
Work starts on construction of M62 through part of park and golf course.
M62 motorway opened – land used for J5 and sliproad re-allocated(south of g.c.)
BOWRING PARK advertised for disposal ‘What would you do with this prime development site ? Response: ‘Keep it as a park as intended’
INAUGAURAL MEETING – founding of FRIENDS OF BOWRING PARK
August – LCC repeats Notice of Disposal. Objections: 52 petitions, 400+ letters.
Charity Commission approves FOBP Charity Registration 1003308 25 June 91
FIRST ANNUAL ‘CELEBRATION GALA’ organised by FOBP to celebrate anniversary of Deed of Gift and held last weekend each June, close to 25th. 1991 £750 by FOBP for 3 park bench seats donated for public use Bowring Park 1993 £100,000 CENTENARY APPEAL LAUNCHED to refurbish Coach House
to mark the Centenary of Alderman Bowring’s term of office as Lord Mayor.
BOWRING PARK VISITOR CENTRE opened 6th October, by Edgar & Peter Bowring.
1996 £5,000 from FOBP, asst by E & P B to part-rebuild south wall, walled garden. TRUSTEESHIP OF BOWRING ESTATE transferred from LCC to KMBC £2,000 paid by FOBP on Potting Sheds – to secure windows, doors, roof. Survey of drains confirmed they functioned.
1995 3 YR GREENKEEPERS’ ACADEMY Bowring Golf Course and BPVC.
MILLENNIUM CELEBRATION GALA & ‘FASHIONS OF THE CENTURY’ PRODUCTION OF ‘THE BOTHY’ PLAYS for SCHOOL TREATS at BPVC £11,750 raised by FOBP to refurbish cobbles, paths, drains, outside BPVC (originally intended to refurbish Potting Sheds but KMBC declined offer)
CENTENARY OF DEED OF GIFT – CELEBRATION GALA CULTURAL WORKSHOPS funded by AWA Grant (banners, leaflet, Bothy) LOCAL SCHOOL GROUPS PERFORMED ‘THE BOTHY’ AT THE GALA.
CENTENARY OF PRESENTATION & RENAMING ‘BOWRING PARK’ £42,000 – ‘BOWRING CENTENARIAN’ locomotive and eight carriages for 3 – day STEAM EXTRAVAGANZA org by FOBP to launch Garden Appeal. Sponsored by A Bowring P Bowring, AFA £5000, FOBP RAFFLE & TICKETS/KMBC £1000 GALA SCHOOL TREATS PICNIC (600 from 6 schools) included in the Celebrations.
KMBC ERECTED RAILINGS AROUND GOLF COURSE, INCL GARDENS. To prohibit access by non-paying golfers, also prohibited FOBP & park visitors.
2008 LIVERPOOL CAPITAL OF CULTURE – FOBP ‘ROBY FESTIVAL’ & GALA SCHOOL PICNIC by 6 schools on Anniversary of Presentation 12 June 1907
ADVENTURE PLAY AREA installed in BOWRING PARK by KMBC
SCHOOL PICNIC by 6 schools. (org FOBP) Guest: The Mayor of Knowsley
ON SAME DATE AS CLOSING DATE FOR PQQ 12/6 – for tenders/investors
FOBP STAKEHOLDER MEMBER, BOWRING PARK CONSULTATIVE BOARD (rep A Wilson). H Bowring’s request to join Board declined by KMBC
AWARDS FOR ALL GRANT £9750.00 FOR FOBP HERITAGE PROJECT £4,000 by FOBP - REFURBISHMENT OF KITCHEN & HATCH: BPVC. Also £50,000 running/maintenance costs contributed by FOBP 15 yrs from 1995.
KMBC AND MACK TRADING finalise private lease proposals for submission to the Charity Commission.
Wednesday 13th July 2011 – PUBLIC NOTICE by Charity Commission D/Post Meeting BPVC 7pm – MACK TRADING & FOBP COMMITTEE. Wednesday 19th July 2011 – FOBP OFFICERS SUBMIT RESPONSE TO CC: Agreeing to the lease on understanding that charitable convenants will be upheld.
In addition, that a 20 year lease does not establish the principle for a permanent private estate in the future.
2014 It is with great pleasure that we can report Knowsley Council’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund “Parks for the People” Grant Scheme which is Supported by Friends of Bowring park has passed Stage 1 of the 2 stage Application process. This is an excellent achievement for Bowring Park And means that we are in the best position for many years to realise the Park’s restoration and development to not only safeguard the valuable Heritage that lies within the Park, but also to improve its facilities and Activities as a premier public park for the Huyton with Roby area. 2015 Heritage Lottery Fund Sate 2 Application to be submitted August 2015
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS OF BOWRING PARK CHARITY NO 1003308 Founded 2 March 1989 HISTORICAL DATA: BOWRING PARK & GOLF COURSE Collated by A Wilson. Also recorded in the following:
Heritage Video: Bowring Park in Roby and Personal Remiscences: Produced by A Wilson. The History of Bowring Park: pub. 1993, collated by A Wilson, funded by Edgar Bowring ‘THE BOTHY’ playlets, researched and written by A Wilson for productions by FOBP.
BACKGROUND TO INVOLVEMENT BY A WILSON AND OTHERS:
In August 1988 William Wilson, husband of Audrey Wilson, (both lifelong residents of the area) appears to have been the only person who read the advertisement ‘What would you do with this Prime Development Site?’ which was published in the Daily Post in reference to Bowring Park. Audrey created a poster from the notice, putting it on public display and distributing it locally, with the words “keep it as a park as intended”.
There was sufficient response to prevent the process in 1988, and The Society of Friends of Bowring Park was founded on 2nd March 1989, its committee drawn from groups and individuals who had campaigned against the 1988 proposals.
In August 1990 there was a new notice in the Daily Post, advertising the intent to dispose of 13.8 acres of Bowring Park. FOBP led the campaign to prevent this too, 52 petitions and over 400 letters of objection were sent in and the Scheme was dropped.
The Society then entered consultations with the then Trustees, Liverpool City Council, and also Knowsley Borough Council, offering our help and support in the restoration of Bowring Park.
The Charity Commission approved our Registration as a Charity on 25th June 1991, a very appropriate date, being the anniversary of the Deed of Gift signed 25th June 1906 by the giver, Alderman William Benjamin Bowring JP, on which FOBP held a Celebration Gala in Bowring Park, the ‘Bowring Company’ in London sending us £500 towards gala expenses.
This was the first of many such happy and well attended community events in Bowring Park and the first of many generous donations from members of the Bowring family in support of endeavours on behalf of Alderman Bowring’s gift.
The Society began a series of heritage research meetings, and steadily built up a wealth of information given to us by local residents, former gardeners and estate workers, and people who in their youth had travelled to the new Bowring Park on tram, train and omnibus bus for School Picnics which celebrated the gift. Library research by Audrey revealed information about the very historic nature of the trains, trams, maritime history, and the golf course.
INFORMATION IN THE ANNALS OF HISTORY LINKED TO BOWRING PARK:
1761: ROBY HALL WAS BUILT BY LIVERPOOL MAYOR JOHN WILLIAMSON This Georgian estate also contained two lodges at its east and west entrances, a wide carriageway to connect them, walled kitchen garden, dell, a terrace, vineries, stables, coach house, potting sheds, beautiful trees and grounds stretching south to Childwall which were all still in evidence in 1907 when estate renamed ‘Bowring Park’ (‘Mercury’ reports on Presentation, and above History www.bowringpark.co.uk
Subsequent residents included: Mr William Leigh, a wealthy merchant, and his family. Mrs Leigh (his widow), then her son, Wm Leigh Jnr. Mr William Pilkington who sold it to W B Bowring 1906 1830: The Liverpool to Manchester Railroad which runs north of Bowring Park was opened by the famous Duke of Wellington then Prime Minister of Great Britain, 15 years after the Battle of Waterloo. A cavalcade of 8 steam locomotives travelled along Roby Embankment at the north boundary of Roby Hall Estate built 1761, (to become Bowring Park). It was the first passenger rail service of its kind in the world so is in the annals of rail history. Sadly Liverpool MP William Huskisson who had campaigned for the railroad, was injured during the Opening ride to Manchester, being run over by The Rocket locomotive when the cavalcade of 8 steam trains stopped to take on water at Parkside station and died 9 hours later at the Vicarage in Eccles. He became the world’s first passenger rail victim. All celebrations cancelled and the Duke returned to Roby Station to travel along Carr Lane to Childwall Hall
1906 THE OPEN SPACES ACT WAS PASSED IN PARLIAMENT ON 1ST JANUARY 06. This empowered local authorities to own and manage land as open spaces for public benefit.
12 January 1906 Alderman Bowring wrote to the Town Clerk of Liverpool to inform him he had recently acquired Roby Hall Estate and offered it to the City for the use of the people “for all time”. Clearly in response to the above Open Spaces Act. Therefore it is highly likely that Bowring Park is the first Municipal Park land given under that Act.
25th June 1906 THE DEED OF GIFT was signed by Alderman Bowring. Charity: 1017017
12th June 1907 in the year of the 700th anniversary of the King John Charter, Roby Hall Estate was officially presented to the City at a ceremony in the park, and renamed BOWRING PARK in honour of the benefactor. Alderman Bowring chartered a steam train to bring his guests to Roby Station. 11,000 Liverpool schoolchildren enjoyed SCHOOL PICNICS in their new park that year, probably to celebrate Liverpool’s anniversary of its Charter too.
Mr Tom Hall became Greenkeeper and lived with his wife and 6 children in Roby Lodge. His grand-daughters later offered much historical information about the Estate in WWII.
1910 and 1911: Bowring Hall as it was then called, was used as a COUNTRY SCHOOL for ‘Physically Defective Children’ between the months of April and September each year, 50 at a time, in the care of volunteer teachers and others, with a long list of disabilities which benefited from the clean air of Roby and the peaceful country surroundings of Bowring Park. See the Head Mistress Report to The Council. One young boy was so excited to see the moon through his dormitory window, that he charted it as it crossed the sky.
BOWRING PARK ALLOTMENTS opened in an area of Bowring Park (See Council scheme to help the poor grow their own food on spare council land). The second plot being opened on land in Bowring Park)
Liverpool City Council approved that work be started to develop 9 hole golf course.
BOWRING PARK GOLF COURSE, England’s First Municipal Golf Course, WAS OPENED BY ALDERMAN BOWRING, WHO PRESENTED A TROPHY KNOWN AS THE PRESIDENT’S CUP which we understand is still played for today by Bowring Golf Club.
1915: The pioneering ‘grass tracks’ 6a tram route was opened from Edge Lane to Bowring Park terminating north of the golf course and allotments at north boundary of Bowring Park. “The place was like a holiday resort, family picnics and courting couples pouring off every tram” ( Mr George Forshaw local resident from his youth). Golf was not allowed on Sundays so there was much freedom to enjoy the whole estate, and in addition to this, the Jewish Football fields opposite Bowring Park (Court Hey Ave) also had busy Sundays. (See video: BOWRING PARK, personal reminiscences filmed by A Wilson for records).
World War I Accounts record cultivation of food crops in Bowring Park.
The refurbished walled gardens re-opened as OLDE ENGLISH GARDENS These were beautifully laid out, and included rose bowers overhead.
BOWRING PARK FLOURISHED AS A WELL LOVED VENUE BY FAMILIES AND GARDEN LOVERS, VISITORS VIA THE 6A TRAM AND ROBY STATION TOO.
1939–45 WWII: The beautiful Olde English Gardens and golf course were dug up to grow vegetables, potatoes, corn etc for the war effort, and food for Alder Hey Hospital. (see video reminiscences by gardeners of the time, most on apprenticeships from 1930s to 1960s) The general public were not admitted, the hall and grounds occupied for military use.
1953 - RESTORATION: Original Potting sheds, greenhouses replaced by new ones, old boiler renewed for heating of the warm double wall ‘chimney system’ in walled garden. which grew fruit trees against the walls.This work coincided with Coronation Year of Queen Elizabeth II so belong to that era of celebrations and deserve saving for the future. These gardens were re-opened to the public, filled by beautiful scented colourful rose beds in box hedged plots surrounded by seats for the public to sit and enjoy this peaceful space and adjoining Dell. Next to Dell was the Putting Green for families to enjoy Pitch and Putt . Rounders and cricket and picnics being popular activities on front grasslands. The GOLF COURSE relaid by C.Lunt and reopened. (see video reminiscences and The History of Bowring Park collated by Audrey Wilson 1993 to mark Centenary of Alderman Bowring’s year as Liverpool’s first Lord Mayor
1970 Sadly the M62 motorway was permitted to be constructed across part of Bowring Park and its golf course, the first two holes of the course went under the roundabout, motorway through golf course, slip road to Huyton through the park at its north boundary, leaving part of the park separated from the park at its original boundary wall which still stands. Motorway plant equipment was parked within the park, which fell into disuse and paths became broken. Still are!! Some re-landscaping of the parkland saw a central entrance road installed to the new car park which lays on top of the foundations of the now demolished Roby Hall. It has, however, proved to be a safely visible entrance from the new Roby Road.
The motorway usage of Bowring Park land and the re-alignment with replacement land at the southern edge of the golf course, meant that the parkland was reduced to only 13.8 acres out of its original 100 acres, but the public could still access the footpath routes to Childwall which maintained a sense of right across the golf course.
1988: William Wilson noticed the public notice “What would you do with this Prime Development Site’ – the intention of which was to dispose of the 13.8 acres for development of new facilities within the parkland area. Audrey and Will ensured that the notice was well distributed amongst the community and local shops and the City Council withdrew the proposals which they agreed had not taken into account the charitable status of Bowring Park, of which the Officers were not aware.
1989: Society of Friends of Bowring Park founded 2 March, Chair Audrey Wilson, Committee drawn from local group representatives and residents. Group members still include Bowring Park Allotments Association, and Huyton with Roby Historic Society
1990: Notice of Proposed Disposal in Daily Post, advertising intention to dispose of 13.8 acres as above. Audrey and FOBP committee and members led campaign of objection, leading to 52 separate petitions and over 400 letters. Proposals withdrawn, and consultations opened with Trustees with offers by FOBP help in the restoration of the park and gardens.
1991: Friends of Bowring Park granted Charity Registration No 1003308 25 June.
1993: FOBP organised a public £100,000 Appeal to commemorate the Centenary of Alderman Bowring’s term as Liverpool’s first elected Lord Mayor for municipal year 1893-94. With magnificent help from the Bowring family, we soon reached our target to refurbish the semi derelict 18c coach house as a Visitors Centre. Sir William Bowring’s nephew, Sir Kenneth Stoddart KCVO, Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, became President and Edgar Bowring MC, Peter Bowring CBE joined the Appeal Council, helping to raise £85,000 towards the £100,000 target.
1995: BOWRING PARK VISITORS CENTRE OPENED ON 6TH OCTOBER BY EDGAR BOWRING MC and PETER BOWRING CBE. This coincided with anniversary of the day when William’s grandfather, Benjamin Bowring, opened his first shop in Exeter, on 6 October 1803, from which he later emigrated to St John’s in Newfoundland and eventually opened the shipping and marine insurance company which was to eventually lead the Bowring’s to Liverpool to open a business here in 1834. ‘C T BOWRING’ was opened in King Street by William’s father, Charles Trick Bowring, and both father and son served on the St Peter’s ward of Liverpool Council.
1995 – 1997 – Liverpool City Council agreed a five year plan to restore the dell and gardens in Bowring Park, John Hussey being in charge. John had served an excellent apprenticeship in Bowring Park in the 1960s and knew it well. With support from Merseyside Environmental Trust and the City Council Trustees, local school groups were invited to take part in some of the environment projects, ie laying new turf, helping build low walls, planting out. A very useful educational experience.
1997: KNOWSLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL BECAME TRUSTEES OF BOWRING PARK. This had been initiated at the joint request of Friends of Bowring Park and Bowring Golf Club in the 1990s when Liverpool Trustees were neglecting the estate and KMBC had an excellent environmental record. However, the consequence was that the 5 year plan led by John Hussey was abruptly terminated, and the new Trustees did not put any further horticultural input into the gardens, which steadily fell into disrepair again.
Instead, KMBC opened an application for a Heritage Lottery bid, and instructed FOBP to stop all appeals and improvements as these would invalidate the bid. After nine years of submission and re-submission, the bid eventually failed. Nine wasted years when FOBP would have gladly helped Bowring Park’s recovery ! Instead, our role became provider of recreational events and activities in BPVC and parkland. These have been the only source of recreational amusement in Bowring Park, the putting green remained closed to the public excepting during FOBP Holiday Clubs. In more recent years we have provided breakfast to visiting Golf Societies and light snacks on afternoons when volunteers have opened the Visitors Centre.
1997-2000 KMBC achieved a grant to open a GREEN KEEPER’S ACADEMY which was an excellent facility for training young greenkeepers for the widening world of golf courses. The course was run by Myerscough College for 3 years and the rental to FOBP contributed to the refurbishment of the cobbled setts outside the coach house. Head Greenkeeper Tommy Given won an award which enabled him to study in American golf courses for six months.
This was a happy fulfilling period for everyone concerned, and put Bowring Park back into its potential for offering training opportunities to young people. It also brought excellence to Bowring Park Golf Course which attracted more golfers. However, when the grant ended, the improvements deteriorated again.
2000: FOBP celebrated the new Millennium with special activities and Gala, and also a FASHIONS OF THE CENTURY event organised by Irene Caldwell.
FOBP marked the Centenary of the Deed of Gift by a Celebration Gala attended by Anthony Bowring and other members of his family.
2007: FOBP organised a ‘3 day Steam Extravaganza’ to launch its Appeal to refurbish the walled garden as agreed with Director KMBC Com/Leisure J Bell. Day One 9th June 2007 we travelled by steam train to Hebden Bridge and return.
Day Two 10 June we ran a steam train Shuttle to Roby Station for the Steam
Fayre & Gala (sponsored by KMBC £1000) in Bowring Park.
Day Three 12 June 2007 marked the Centenary of the Presentation on 12 June 1907. The locomotive and 8 carriages were sponsored by Peter and Anthony Bowring, Awards for All, FOBP Raffle and donations by FOBP members. The passenger guest list included Peter and Carole Bowring, Anthony and Felicity Bowring, Ms Claire Bowring. The Mayor of Knowsley and Chief Executive Ms Ramsay. Cllr Eddie Connor, one of the few councillors to accept. Also representatives from six local schools, with teachers, and of local longstanding community groups. / 600 children were invited along to join School Picnic on the Putting Green. NB Picnics repeated June 2008 and 2009.
However, by the event, KMBC had installed the closed off railings by walled garden and notice of prosecution of anyone who used “this golf course without paying”. NB: Bowring Park now under management of new ‘Neighbourhood…..’ Directorate.
As Anthony Bowring remarked, Bowring Park has become a golf course now.
Despite objections by FOBP the gardens remain railed off and their gate locked to us. KMBC Leisure and Community Services Directorate had become ‘Neighbourhood Development; which designated the whole estate as Bowring Park Golf Course, a very unhelpful procedure when advertising the Centenary steam train under that name in the ‘What’s On’ booklet ! Who goes to golf courses to ride a steam train?
2008: KMBC advertised for Tenders for Bowring Park Golf Course (and park) which they proposed to put out on private lease. Claim there are no funding sources which greatly aggravates Audrey Wilson and Co after all our previous input and more offers of help over the years ! (We have invested £250,000 for public facilities, events)
The first that FOBP knew of this was when a rumpled copy of the notice was pushed under the doors of the Visitors Centre for our attention, with the words “LOOK THEY ARE TRYING To Private the Park? OR SELL?” (see 21st Annual Report)
We remain grateful to the anonymous person who drew this to our attention and enabled us to become involved with the process as a Stakeholder.
FOBP COMMITTEE ORIGINALLY AGREED TO THE CHAIR’S REQUEST FOR THE SOCIETY TO APPLY for Preliminary Proposal Questionnaire (PPQ) AND THIS WAS SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL. The Chair immediately sought appropriate partners but had very limited time left to us from the closure date. We received a copy of the Preliminary Questionnaire, but also received telephone calls from the Procurement Officer, discouraging us from proceeding as this would damage our standing as an important Stakeholder (the one the council did not inform!) because our application could not possibly succeed. The committee agreed to drop the application, feeling we would make a worthwhile contribution as Stakeholders. It was agreed Audrey Wilson would represent FOBP.
THE CHARITY COMMISSION WAS UNAWARE OF THE PROPOSALS UNTIL THEY WERE DRAWN TO THEIR ATTENTION BY AUDREY WILSON. The Commission appointed a Case Worker and he liaised with the Trustees to ensure that all due processes were followed, including the setting up of an independent Consultative Board which must include Stakeholders and some local residents and independent members. Stakeholders may submit comments but not vote on any of the issues, so only four people on the Board have the right to vote. Mr Henry Bowring’s request to join the Board was declined by Project Manager.
Various meetings have been held, several companies attended an introductory visit to Bowring Park, these reduced to five for the submission of Outline Proposals which were shown to the Board, and then voted on, reducing them to three. The Project Team developed their Final Specifications for submission to them but two more eventually dropped out, leaving MACK TRADING (Heaton Park) as the final ongoing application. The conditions of Lease have been accepted by the Charity Commission and the Public Notice was displayed from 13th July 2011 for two weeks. On Wednesday 13 July Friends of Bowring Park Officers and Committee held a meeting with MACK TRADING for an introductory presentation of the Company, but it could not legally submit plans about their proposals for Bowring Park and Golf Course, except outline their speciality in the training of young golfers. Also present: PROJECT MANAGER Jon Roberts and Cabinet member Cllr Eddie Connor. FOBP WILL BE DRAWING UP A RESPONSE TO THE PUBLIC NOTICE FOR SUBMISSION TO THE CHARITY COMMISSION BY EXPIRY DATE.
What has become clear from this historical data, is the many training opportunities that Bowring Park estate has given to young people in all manner of ways:
To the disabled youngsters at Summer School who discovered the moon and how to develop a vegetable patch. To the poor hungry people who learned how to grow crops on allotted land. To the allotment holders at the enlarged Bowring Park Allotments resited at the West boundary of Bowring Park when the motorway took up their original plots. Soon to celebrate their Centenary year, and far removed from early 20c poverty! To young men who had the opportunity to learn golf on the first Municipal Golf Course in England. Soon to celebrate its Centenary year. To the families who learned how to play Pitch and Putt, a prelude to later golf involvement on Bowring Park Golf Course, which enhanced their visits to the park. To the earlier Greenkeepers who served excellent apprenticeships in Bowring Park, Leading them on to good jobs, including one as Head Greenkeeper at Sandringham, another as Head Greenkeeper to the Duke of Westminster, and one to open his own Landscape Company which is still run by his son. Others reached the top in Environmental Services where they made valuable contributions to city parks & gardens. To the community and members of FOBP who learned about the long heritage of the Roby Hall/Bowring Park Estate which enhances interest & knowledge for many visitors. Also how to put on public events for public enjoyment and the benefit of Bowring Park. To the young trainee Greenkeepers who attended the first GREENKEEPER’S ACADEMY IN BOWRING PARK, organised by KMBC and Myerscough College. The Head Greenkeeper who was appointed National Greenkeeper of the Year. To the schoolchildren who learned how to lay turf and bricks, plant flowers and to take an interest in the environment. MACK’S PROPOSALS FOR A JUNIOR GOLF TRAINING SCHEME fit in very well with previous training opportunities and brings BOWRING PARK & GOLF COURSE from its innovative past into new innovations in the 21st C. LONG MAY IT CONTINUE !! We also welcome the proposed targets for GREEN FLAG status which will benefit the park and gardens for free public enjoyment and community involvement.
In conclusion, the process has ended quite well really, with more KMBC officers becoming aware of the charitable terms of Bowring Park covenants, and adhering to them for the purpose of the leasing process. The endeavours of Friends of Bowring Park have borne fruit!
If all else fails, the estate can easily revert to being a 100 acre park with access to Childwall !
Audrey Wilson MBE Founder and Chair for the Years 1989 - 2015
Current President of The Society of Friends of Bowring Park Mr Henry Bowring Great, Great Nephew of Willliam Benjamin Bowring who gifted Bowring Park to "the people for all time".
Current Chair from 2015 Lorraine France