Rochdale Road, Bury
Grid Ref: (E) 381633, (N) 410581
Area: 5 hectares (approximately)
- Crown green bowling pavilion and greens
- Children's play area
- 2 multi-play ball zones, one flood-lit
- 2 flood-lit tennis courts
A brief introduction to Openshaw Park
Openshaw Park is a local community public park of approximately 5 hectares. It is located just over a mile outside of Bury town centre in an area historically known as Pimhole. The park was first opened as a public park in 1888.
The park is fairly level throughout with well-maintained footways and is accessible to people using wheelchairs and families with push-chairs.
Green Flag Award
Openshaw Park has retained a Green Flag Award since 2005. The national Green Flag Award scheme recognises excellence in greenspace management and measures criteria such as cleanliness, maintenance, sustainability, community involvement, heritage, nature conservation, health, safety, security and overall management.
Openshaw Park was one of four parks established following a public meeting in 1883, with contributions from Lord Derby, the Lord of the Manor, a public subscription, and, in this particular case, generous contributions of land and money from a local benefactor, Mr Thomas O Openshaw. This and another three parks were opened by the Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Albert Victor, on 21 July 1888.
The Openshaws of nearby Primrose Hill were woollen manufacturers and great patrons of the local community. The adjacent St Thomas's Church was a gift in 1866 from T.O. Openshaw's uncle, who was also called Thomas. The park, which was originally known as Rochdale Road recreation ground, was later renamed Openshaw Park, in honour of its donor.
The lengthy report of the Royal opening in the East Lancashire Echo 21 July 1888 includes a description of the original park, illustrated with pen and ink drawings and describes the impact that the park had on Rochdale Road.
"Approaching it from the town by the main road, one is struck with the vast improvement its construction has occasioned by the widening of this much used thoroughfare, now one of the finest in the Borough. The main entrance is about midway, and does honour to the grounds, which are enclosed by tall iron fencings on coping stones, the angles being relieved with stone pillars. Right round, as a cover to the railings are shrubberies, thickly planted, the border being artistically set out with rows first, of golden feathers, and then violet, with a fringe a grass platt abutting on the outer red gravelled paths inside the enclosure".
"The caretakers house catches the eye first as you enter, and despite all that has been said about these expensive structures, still we are bound to confess this one harmonious with its surroundings. Prominent on this building is the Borough coat of arms with the motto "Vincit Omnia Industria". The lodge is in the half-timbered style, which is so well adapted for this class of building. The lower part is faced with Burnley pressed bricks with block joints. The brickwork is relieved with bands of Runcorn stone, which being of warm tint harmonises well with it. The top of the porch which is covered with lead, forms a balcony and taken with other parts of the design, forms a very pleasant grouping".
In 1910 the tennis courts were re-sited to the eastern part of the park, where they have remained, taking up one of the four original cricket pitches.
It was in 1934 when the second Bowling Green was shown on a plan occupying part of the original dancing ground.
Then there were no known changes up until the new "Veterans Pavilion" was built near the second bowling green in the late 1960's.