Rowntree Park History Project

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Rowntree Park is so important to many of us, and a great place to spend time together as a family, relax and unwind.  The park has changed many times over the years since it’s opening in 1921.  We are inviting children aged 6-13 (approx) to join us for an interactive History session about the park where we can explore it’s past, present and possibly it’s future.

The session will lead to children starting to plan a way they’d like to share their findings with the public.  This may be a though a piece of art, a story, a poem or making a short film.  Their work will be displayed in the cafe and used on social media (films).

This is a session for children to really get to know their local park and what it has meant to people over time – they can find out about the music that used to happen weekly, the aviary, the swimming pool, the boating lake, the colourful characters that were the park keepers and more!

The session takes place on Sunday 24th of March 10-11.30am in Rowntree Park  Cafe.  The ticket price includes a drink and a pastry for children.  All events are run by volunteers, and children remain the responsibility of their parents/carers.  Abigail who is running this event, and involved in many of our children’s events, is a qualified teacher (history specialism).  Parents can have a relax in the cafe whilst the session is on – a perfect Sunday morning!

History Project Members Ticket -£5 Buy Now
History Project Non-Members ticket – £6.50 Buy Now

Not already a member?  You can join Friends of Rowntree Park for just £5 a year per household.  As well as priority/discount entry to events, you also get 10% off at the cafe for the year, monthly newsletters and the knowledge you are supporting our volunteer work in the park.

Join today! http://www.rowntreepark.org.uk/membership

Any questions regarding the project, please email Abigail at membership@rowntreepark.org.uk

Tickets are non-refundable, but you are welcome to sell your ticket on – but please let us know who it goes to so we can get in contact.

*Pictures courtesy of ‘Ruby Florence Lea’ and York Press archives.

 

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Update on the flat above the cafe

Two of the Friends’ committee attended the meeting of the Council’s Executive yesterday evening (14th Feb), and spoke about the Friends’ concerns about the plans to create a holiday flat in the former park-keepers accommodation. We had previously added our comments on the planning application (see the planning portal with the reference number 18/02255/FUL) and these comments are amongst those integrated in the council’s updated document on the application (pages 71 to 85)

We anticipated that the holiday flat plans would be agreed at this meeting, because no viable alternatives have been brought forward, despite a lot of discussion. And so it proved to be. However, it was significant that the councillors agreed with us that the public hadn’t been given sufficient information about the plan, in particular how the money raised would be spent, and how the property would be managed, when the conversion was completed. And the lack of clear communication even meant that members of the public thought that the flat (or in one case the cafe itself) was to be sold – unsurprisingly the word ‘disposal’ in the legal documents led people to assume this. The council’s updated document (see above) does provide answers to many of the questions raised, but it is still not readily accessible, as it is 15 pages within a daunting 342-page document, held on the council’s website.

Besides these issues, the aspects that have caused most debate locally can be grouped under the heading ‘moral issues.’ Would the Rowntree family have approved of (non-local) people holidaying in the park, and paying a lot of money for the privilege? Is it in the spirit of their gift? Would it be more fitting if a council employee was offered the accommodation? Is re-purposing like this an indication that the council would eventually like to sell the property? It is difficult to know the answers (impossible in some cases) but a question-and-answer session – and equivalent published material – would be very helpful.

However, the plans and money weren’t just ‘nodded through’ at the meeting, because (unusually) the council officers were told that they were required to now engage with the public, seeking to clarify plans and allay worries, and then return to the Executive. We will now work with council officers to ensure that there is an open meeting for this purpose, as soon as practical, and will advertise this as widely as possible. As usual, why not follow us on FB or Twitter (better still, join as a Friend, and get our regular members’ newsletters) and keep up to date with the news in the Park?

Meanwhile, the planning application will be re-worked and re-submitted, probably in July, with work on the Lodge (assuming that all goes to plan) starting in the autumn. Again, we make sure that this is advertised on FB, Twitter and via our newsletters.

All the council’s meetings are webcast, so you can see clips of us and Cllr Johnny Hayes speaking towards the beginning of the meeting, and the discussion amongst the councillors 52 minutes later on, using this link. 


The Dawn Chorus – Bird and Breakfast Event

Join us to hear the dawn chorus in Rowntree Park on Saturday 6th of April 6am-7.30am.

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We are running a one-off special event to hear the sounds of the day starting.  We will watch and listen to birds, there will be some additional activities for children,  a stove to keep us warm and we will be cooking breakfast over the fire. A perfect start to a Spring day!

Bring a chair and a blanket and we (and nature) will do the rest!

The event is open to all ages and there are discount tickets for Friends of Rowntree Park members.  Single people, friends, families – all welcome! Bring your own binoculars or borrow some of ours.

We will meet at the Cameron Grove Gate entrance to the park at 6am.  Tickets must be booked in advance via the links below.

Members single Ticket -£4 Buy Now
Members Family Ticket – £14 Buy Now
Non -Members single Ticket -£5 Buy Now
Non-Members Family Ticket – £16 Buy Now

*Family ticket is 2 adults and 2 children under 18 or 1 adult and 3 children

Once you have paid you will receive an instant confirmation from Paypal and within a week a confirmation from us. Tickets are non-refundable but if you resell your ticket, please provide details to us.

Breakfast includes a bacon or sausage sandwich and a hot drink – cooked outdoors!  Vegetarian options are available and other allergies/intolerances may be accounted for – but please email before purchasing a ticket.

All events are run by volunteers (with appropriate training and skills)  and any profit made from our events goes back into the maintenance and improvements in the park.

Please email membership@rowntreepark.org.uk for further details.

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Mister Dills – Art in the Park!

 

James Dillion aka Mister Dills is a York-based designer and children’s book illustrator and a range of his work is now on display at Rowntree Park Reading Cafe.  He loves to create pretty things for other people.  He is constantly experimenting with style, ideas and designs and ever evolving.

James is often in Rowntree Park with his two young children, is a supporter of the Friends of Rowntree Park, and is running a couple of children’s art sessions for our members this February. Both sessions sold out in record time!  Mister Dills is hoping to bring more art to the park this summer and involve local children.

The Friends of Rowntree Park are working with the cafe to exhibit the work of local artists over the coming months. The work currently on display in the cafe is a mix of Mister Dills York-based art and general doodles.  All work is available to buy and he also takes commissions, so do get in touch with him if you like what you see!

 HELLO@MISTERDILLS.COM     

The best place to check out his current work and projects is https://www.instagram.com/misterdills

 


Doodling with Mister Dills

Young Friends of Rowntree Park – Art Event

Mr Dills loves to doodle, and if you do too – he’d love you to join him in this art session hosted at Rowntree Park Reading Cafe on Sunday 24th of February 10am-11am  and a second session at 11.30-12.30 the same day.
 
Mr Dills is a local artist and children’s book illustrator who wowed all the children in his session last year when he showed them how easy, and fun, it can be to draw! In this session, there will be a chance to create your own Pokemon character and trading card amongst top tips for drawing and design.

 

 
The session is aimed at children aged 6-10 years of age (approx) and will be approximately 1 hour. Children remain the responsibility of their parents/carers through the session, but whilst they draw and create – you can chat and eat cake!
(NB-It is possible the session may run over slightly but no longer than 11.30am).
 
The cost of the session is £4 per child for Friends of Rowntree Park members and £5 for non-members.
If you’d like to become a member it is only £5 per year for the household – as well as helping our volunteer work in maintaining and improving the park, you also get 10% off at the cafe for the year – perfect! Join today – click here
Mr Dills is a firm supporter of the Friends of Rowntree Park and will also be displaying some of his illustrative work based on the park, and York in general at the Reading Cafe over the coming months and he has also agreed to help us with some larger art in the park itself – what a guy!
Doodling with Mister Dills – children’s art workshop Sunday 24th February 10-11am SOLD OUT
Doodling with Mister Dills – children’s art workshop Sunday 24th February 11.30am-12.30pm SOLD OUT

* Non-members ticket links will become live on Jan 15th.  Can’t wait? Become a member today using the link below and then buy a member’s ticket.http://www.rowntreepark.org.uk/membership

Why join the Friends of Rowntree Park?
You can support the Friends of Rowntree Park for only £5  year per household.  Your money goes toward our volunteers’ work in maintaining and improving the park, as well as running community events.  You also get monthly newsletters, priority booking/discount to our events and 10% off in the cafe for the year. Join here.

 

You can see more of Mr Dill’s work on Instagram and Facebook

Please note – Tickets cannot be refunded but if you cannot come/sell your ticket on please let us know in advance.
Email – membership@rowntreepark.org.uk

 

 


A hundred years ago

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A hundred years ago, the First World War had just finished and the world could start to think about planning for a better future. After so much loss, many hoped that the League of Nations (founded 1920, mentioned on the plaque in the lych gate) would help promote peace. Meanwhile, across the UK, those who had suffered were commemorated and remembered in various ways, including war memorials, memorial halls and parks.

During 1919, Rowntree and Company Ltd bought several parcels of land which would eventually go together to make the area we now know as Rowntree Park.  The park was to be a tribute to the Company’s workers who had suffered in the war. The largest section of land was Nun Ings, bought from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England (now known as the Church Commissioners), and this image from the conveyance of 31st December 1919 shows the fields that made up this area, bounded by Clementhorpe Beck, to the west and south. The drawing must have been based on a map done some time previously, as it doesn’t show Norfolk St, St Clements Grove and Aldreth Grove all of which were already laid-out and partially built by 1919; it does show some fish and a cute (but archaic) sailing ship!

Rowntrees paid £1500 for Nun Ings together with at least another £1100 for other parcels of land, and they then also paid for the creation of the park, before handing it over in 1921 as a free gift to the ‘Corporation’ (i.e. the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of York). The various legal documents of 1919 show that the Rowntree family wanted the park to be “for ever hereafter be kept up and maintained as a public park, public pleasure ground, public playing fields or other like purposes of public recreation, and that proper and adequate attendance and service shall be for ever hereafter provided for the purposes aforesaid.”

More information about the park’s early history can be found in this recent post by Kate Davy

 


Rowntree Park remembers

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Rowntree Park is a wonderful place for quiet personal contemplation, and many local people use spaces within the park throughout the year, to reflect and remember their loved ones. This October and November we are also remembering those affected by the First World War, with several installations and displays in the park.

  • Within the Reading Cafe, we have installed images of local people who fought in the war, along with some souvenir material.
  • Two information banners produced by Clements Hall Local History Group have also been set up in the cafe.
  • A wall of knitted and crocheted poppies flows down from the cafe, to where a willow soldier sits quietly with a copy of the Cocoa Works Magazine, known as the Cocoa Times
  • Other crafted items are placed in various locations
  • Children have painted ‘Remembrance Rocks’ with words and images to do with remembrance, which are then hidden in various secret places for others to find
  • Local arts collective ‘Northern Electric’ have created a sound trail called ‘Green in our Memory’ which is based within the park, and which can be found on the free app Situate

Our poppies are not just the ‘normal’ red poppies – you will see that they are of several different colours. Red poppies are worn to remember military personnel who have died as a result of war; they have been worn since 1921, and were originally inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ by John McCrae. White poppies are known as peace poppies, and are appropriate in the context of the park with its Quaker connections. There was originally controversy about white poppies, but this 1986 quote from the Bishop of Salisbury represents our view: “…there is plenty of space for red and white [poppies] to bloom side by side.” The idea of green poppies came from Seebohm Rowntree who said to the crowd on the park’s opening day, that he hoped that the park “might keep green in their memories, and those who were to come after them, the high ideals for which England had entered the war.” You might even be able to spot one purple poppy; purple poppies are for the animals who have suffered and died during wartime.

We hope that you will find time to visit the park and cafe whilst this material is on display and that you find your visit both evocative and interesting. We will leave a Memory Book by the display in the cafe, so that you can add any thoughts you might have.