6) How did people enjoy themselves in our park?
How did people enjoy themselves in our park?
1) Background information
Many people visited parks to admire the various floral displays, shrubs and landscaping amongst which they could relax, stroll and meet people in pleasant surroundings. Others visited for more recreational purposes, either with friends or as families, listening to music or indulging in a range of pursuits depending upon what local bye-laws permitted and what they could afford.
In addition to walking, some of the first large parks had separate routes for carriages. These were later used for horse riding and cycling.
Parks were places to go at weekends and on holidays. Sundays was the most popular day, on which thousands of people would visit, dressed up in their ‘Sunday best’. However, Sunday was also the Lord’s Day and many parks did not open until after church in order to encourage people to attend services. Play, frivolity and work was forbidden and no games were allowed. In some parks, their boats were tied up and playground swings were chained up.
In summer, evenings could be spent strolling or listening to concerts or bands playing in the bandstand.
In winter or during wet weather, heated pavilions enabled clubs or groups of retired men to meet and take part in chess or drafts. Gambling was strictly prohibited, however.
With increased emphasis on more active sports, councils began to develop areas for activities such as tennis, bowling, croquet, quoits, archery, skating and putting, which required specially prepared and maintained surfaces. Where space allowed, pitches were created for team games such as football and cricket.