Beaumont ParkA Park steeped in historical importance in existence for over 125 years.
How it started…
On 8th August 1879, Huddersfield Corporation accepted the offer of 20 acres of woodland and four fields from the wealthy landowner Henry Frederick Beaumont for transformation into Huddersfield’s first public park. The land was rocky and precipitous, with splendid views over the Holme Valley. To improve access to the site, Butternab Road was extended to the West and a new road, Beaumont Park Road, was built. Natural falls in the ground necessitated the construction of supporting arches (which eventually held grottos with drinking fountains). The road and arch works cost £4,153, and were subsidised by a one sixth penny rise in the rates.
On 29th May 1880, the first sod was cut in an enthusiastically attended civic ceremony. The workforce from the recently completed Wessenden Reservoirs was drafted in to construct the Park, under the overall direction of R.S. Dugdale, the Borough Engineer. The skill of the Wessenden stonemasons is still evident in the Park. The site was enclosed by metal railings made by the Coventry Art Metal Company at a cost of £2,487, and two miles of paths, including the main gravelled promenade, were laid.
A series of smaller building projects began. A pavilion was erected at the top side of the play area, offering covered seating areas and two cloakrooms. A 100 feet high flagpole was centred in an arboretum above a lake, which was quarried out of solid rock (with additional concreting to the bottom).
A bandstand was constructed with a stone base, a pine superstructure and a weather vane gracing the top. A pond and cascade were built, and as there were no electric pumps, water from the mains was used and allowed to run off into the bottom of the Park. Imagine the cost of using Yorkshire Water today! The Park Keeper’s Lodge was built at a cost of £300. Apart from the Lodge, all the building work utilised rock and gravel quarried out of the Park.
Henry Frederick Beaumont and the gift of Beaumont Park
Henry Frederick Beaumont was born in Scarborough on 10th March 1833. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1852. Between 1855 and 1856 he studied practical farming in the Lothians. He married Maria Joanna Garforth on 1st September 1857 and together they raised eight daughters and two sons.
In May 1879, noting that Huddersfield (population 35,000) did not have a public park, Henry offered 30 acres of his land in Crosland Moor, known as the Rifle Ground, to the Council, for the creation of a public park and recreation ground. The Council accepted the offer on condition that the site was found to be satisfactory, but the committee of Aldermen appointed to investigate judged that the site was insufficiently accessible. (Part of this first site is now occupied by Crosland Moor Airfield.) The difficulties were discussed with the prospective benefactor, who agreed to the Council’s request for land at Dungeon Wood – although, this land being more valuable, he was only able to offer 20 acres plus four fields.
At the Council meeting of 8th August, Henry’s offer was finally accepted. A Deed of Conveyance was signed in November 1879, and the newly formed Park Committee resolved to name the Park ‘Beaumont Park’, hoping that this name would be perpetual.