A set of report books dating from 1874 through to 1967 detailing the work and activities of the Head Gardeners and Park Superintendents for the city of Salford.  Salford has a long and rich history of public parks.  Peel Park, located on the flood plain of the river Irwell, opened on 22 August 1846 as one of the first parks in the United Kingdom funded entirely by public subscription, which meant that it was completely free to use by all.  The park was named in honour of Sir Robert Peel, who promoted the idea of public parks and gave money to support them.  

The report books start with the work of the third Head Gardener, Henry Moore, and his entries record the details of which plants flourished in Peel Park at certain times of the year, as well as the life and actions of the 15 workers that were employed.  

However, the report books are not just about Peel Park. Subsequent volumes chart the expansion in the parks, recreation grounds and playgrounds managed and administered by Salford Corporation. This includes:

  • Ordsall Park
  • Seedley Park
  • Albert Park
  • Kersal Moor
  • Buile Hill Park
  • Bolton Road Playing Fields
  • Clowes Park
  • Littleton Road Playing Fields
  • Light Oaks Park
  • Langworthy Park
  • Liverpool Street Recreation Ground
  • Mandley Park.

They provide information on how these spaces and facilities including bowling greens, tennis courts, fishing licences, putting greens developed and were managed, the routine and special work that was carried out and the workforce involved. The report books also provide information on events and activities that took place in the parks such as music and brass band performances and flower shows.   

In addition to written reports and minutes, the volumes include: 

  • a printed copy of ‘Byelaws for management and regulation of Borough parks, 1878’ (at the end of L/cs/DR4/3) 

  • copies of ‘Rules and Regulations for the 15th exhibition of Peel Park Floral Horticultural and Cottage Window Gardening Exhibition, 1896’. Includes a list of parks and recreation grounds belonging to Salford Corporation, with statement of their areas (at the end of L/cs/DR4/4); 

  • ‘Byelaws for Borough parks, 1908’; several seasonal programmes of music played in the public parks for 1912-1914, and for 1919-1926; a leaflet of ‘Rules and Regulations for Peel Park Horticultural and Cottage Window Gardening Exhibition, 1910’, and a list of chief rents paid on parks and recreation grounds, 1909 (L/cs/DR4/5).  

Some of the volumes have indexes which are helpful for finding information within the reports. These are the volumes that cover the years from 1905 through to 1922, and then from 1926 through to 1930. Volumes up to 1933 are handwritten, and from thereon are typescript.   

Part of a parks report on glass bottles in the park

Who might be interested? 

Anyone interested in the history of parks and green spaces; researchers of the history of Salford. 

Types of material 

Written and typescript reports. 

Copyright information 

Reproduced with permission from Salford Community Leisure.