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9) Who used our park?

9) Who used our park?

Who used our park?

1) Sources of information

Maps and plans


A map or street plan will show how the area surrounding your park looked and how it was used. How would people from these places have used this park?

Image: © Tyne & Wear Archives Service

Buildings nearby




Looking at the homes nearby will help give children some idea about the type of people who would have regularly visited or used your park.

Image: © David Walmsley

Trade directories


Trade directories - produced for tradesmen who sold their wares door-to-door - provide a fascinating insight into the professions or trades of people who lived near your park. This extract shows the occupation of people who lived in a grand Georgian terrace that overlooks a park and one of the streets behind.

Image: © Tyne & Wear Archives Services

Old photographs or postcards



Old photographs and postcards of a park can often show the surrounding area. Remember that postcards were produced as souvenirs and to promote the town, and consequently may not show the area as it was. Ask children what might be missing in postcard scenes (smoke, noise, pollution, unpleasant smells).

Image: © Peter Davis Postcard Collection

Image: © Sunderland Council/Mowbray Park

Who used our park?

2) Activities in school

Research the occupants of a street near your park using a census return or entry in a trade directory. Suggest how these people might have used your park. For example, is there a family with young children, an elderly person living alone, a young married couple, or people with professions such as a photographer or painter who might have used the park for their hobby? Could any of these people have worked for firms that provided a service or goods to your park?

If your park is in a seaside resort or other tourist area, from where would people have travelled? Did they stay for a day or for a week or longer? What might holidaymakers expect to see in your park?

Look at what people are wearing in photographs or postcards. What are they holding or using? How different are their clothes to those worn today for a visit to the park?

Talk to older people who might have lived near your park.

Who used our park?

3) Activities during your visit

Look at the neighbourhood around your park. Take children to streets or buildings that you previously identified in your planning visit. Identify different types of housing (large detached villas, houses subdivided into flats, rows of terraces).

Look for any sign of change. Do they have their own outdoor space - gardens, front or back? Take photographs for use back at school.

Take old photographs with you and use for comparison. Talk about the changes to the area. How might they have affected the park?

Look for older non-domestic properties nearby such as shops, hotels, restaurants, offices, factories, businesses and schools. How might the people working, visiting or using these places have used the park?