Friday, February 12, 2010

At Hanley Park

This morning, on the way back from shopping at Festival Park we stopped off for a walk around Hanley Park. Of the three of the city's five parks we regularly visit - the others being Fenton and Longton - Hanley is the one that disappoints me the most mainly because it could be so much better. Things are beginning to happen though; there are new children's play areas, refurbished tennis courts and sculptures and fountains down by the lake. However, it isn't the new things that disappoint but rather the feeling of neglect around the older buildings like the pavilion and boat house and the lack of planting in some of the flower beds and borders. Maybe these things are going to be next on the refurbishment agenda - I hope so.

There is so much potential in the pavilion which could surely house proper toilet facilities and a cafe or restaurant not only for the visitors to the park by road and foot but also for those who pass through on the Caldon canal which cuts right through the centre of the park. These visitors need to be encouraged to stop and visit the park so decent moorings would help; also the park needs to be a showcase for the city. As well as a decent cafe why not have a shop which would feature products the city is best known for - world class pottery and china. How wonderful would it be to stop for a lazy summer afternoon in the park, have a bite to eat and purchase a piece of Bridgwater. Portmeirion or Wedgwood pottery as you pass through? There could also be an exhibition area which interprets the wildlife of the park and canal and it's history too.

There are word scultures around the islands in the lake - this one says
'There are sounds all around, but nothing matters except the sound of your voice'

This word sculpture says - ' Do you feel it too?'

Muscovy ducks on the water's edge.

The old boat house and the new fountains.

Another of the 'word' sculptures around an island in the lake - this one says -
'I see you standing there as if on a distant horizon, I reach out and our hands touch'

A footbridge over the canal

Reflections of trees in the canal

Above - the bandstand and footbridge over the canal.

I'm guessing that in the present economic cliamate any further developments in the park won't be top of the agenda but it seems such a waste of an opportunity to have a park of which we could be proud and which will also promote the city in a positive light- especially this year as Stoke-on-Trent celebrates the centenary of it becoming a city in 1910.


  1. How lovely those installations on the banks of the river!

  2. I really like the word sculptures. They encourage you to think and reflect. It is such a shame when public parks and buildings are neglected and fall into dis-repair. I think everyone benefits from their upkeep.

  3. I could not agree with you more, is it the lack of money or the lack of vision?

    By a strange coincidence the word verification was "parky" !

  4. I love the word sculptures. Have you emailed the council to ask if they are going to do up the old buildings? I hope that they do. Yes I have been to the David Mellor place at Hathersage - its one of (my very many) fave places - and the food in the cafe is so good too! xxx

  5. Valerie, I'm guessing it is, as they say, 'six of one and half a dozen of the other' - having said that if you have vision you can often achieve things even if there is a lack of money - and, given the things that happen here sometimes I feel that it is probably lack of vision:)

  6. Diane, I've been looking at their website and finding out things about the play areas and sculptures but nothing is said about the original Victorian buildings that were built when the park was opened. I must look into it further. Isn't the David Mellor factory and shop wonderful?