Christ's Pieces is considered to be typical of Victorian park design with tree lined avenues. The formal seasonal bedding displays planted in the 'petal beds' near Emmanuel Road, provide all year round colour. There are also large ornamental shrub beds around the perimeter to add further year round colour and interest.
In 1884 Jesus College announced that it was willing to sell its interests in Christ's Pieces on the understanding that they were acquired 'for the purpose of a public garden or recreation ground and for no other reason whatsoever'. The original offer of 500 pounds was refused by the College, but two years later the land was brought by Cambridge City Council for 1000 pounds. In that same year, 1886, the park was drained and planted.
Detailed DescriptionThe park features over 10,000 daffodil bulbs planted in the grass, providing an array of colour in the spring months. In addition 5,000 bulbs were planted in 'The Field of Hope' in recognition of Marie Curie Cancer Care. The bowling green is the home of the Cambridge Bowls Club and the tennis courts are still in use.
Bowling Green, Tree Avenue
- Access & Directions
Access Contact Detailshttp://www.cambridge.gov.uk/ccm/content/parks-and-recreation/parks.en
DirectionsChrist's Pieces is situated in the centre of the City, bordered by the bus station, Christ's College, Emmanuel Road and King Street.
Detailed HistoryDespite what the name suggests and its proximity, Christ's College never owned the Piece. It was sold to the town by Jesus College in 1886 for the purpose of recreation. Lyle's map of 1574 indicates what is now Christ's Pieces was a field growing corn. The Hammond map of 1592 shows strips which indicate the land was still used for arable crops; the map also shows the north south paths now known as Milton Walk and Pikes Walk. Loggan's map of 1688 shows the diagonal north-east south-west path across it. By 1815 proposals to enclose this land failed. The land has been used as a public open space ever since.
In 1887 a lake was proposed at the northern end of the site and in 1926 further proposals for a new open-air swimming bath were discussed. In the 1950s, Holford's Report recommending a spinal relief road through the site was rejected, as were proposals in 1956 for a Floral Hall to hold at least 2000 people.
The cross paths still are edged with fine lime trees, although the eastern path has been diverted at Emmanuel Road. The bandstand and the performance area with stage for evening concerts has been removed, as have some of the island planting beds. The bowling green is well used and the twice yearly displays of bedding plants are greatly admired. Gone are the days when families doing laundry for the colleges used Christ's Pieces to hang the laundry out to dry, and for cleaning carpets during the Long Vacation.
- pp 17-18The Gardens of Cambridgeshire