12) What was our park used for during the two world wars?

12) What was our park used for during the two world wars?

What was our park used for during the two world wars?

1) Background information

During both wars, many parks were turned over to allotments to allow local people grow their own food and support the ‘Dig for Victory’ war effort. Some were even used to keep chickens, rabbits and livestock.

Many parks were used for training and drilling volunteers or by the Home Guard. In those near areas of industry or defensive installations, searchlights and barrage balloons were installed to counter air attack. Many also had temporary shelters to provide immediate relief. Virtually all parks had their metal railings removed, to be melted down for armaments

Parks were the focus for the ‘Holidays at home’ campaign. This was to discourage travel, since fuel was rationed and needed for essential services and industry. Events were specifically staged to entertain families in parks during the summer.


What was our park used for during the two world wars?

2) Sources of information

calderstones park 1917

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Photographs showing a park used for allotments and growing food.

Image: © Liverpool Record Office

Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library


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Documents can show how the park was used for fundraising events for the war effort.

Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library


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Physical evidence to show how the council removed park railings.

Image: © David Walmsley


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Images of patriotic floral displays created to keep up morale and encourage everyone to ‘do their bit’.

Image: © Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies


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Parks were often used as the venue for victory celebrations, either publicly or as private civic events.

Image: © Tyne & Wear Archive Service