Situated in Palmerston Street opposite the War Memorial garden, Coronation Gardens were established in 1953 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and fully re-furbished in 2013, Diamond Jubilee year. The garden is devoted to a young children’s play area with all kinds of fun equipment to keep them happy for hours! Click all pictures to enlarge.
|On 5th December 1953 an opening ceremony was held, organised by the Town Council, and many school children were invited to attend. Part of this ceremony was the planting of trees and shrubs. Each child planting a tree or shrub was presented with a certificate with which to remember the occasion. The picture below shows the ceremonial planting of a tree by the Chairman of Bollington Urban District Council, Cllr. A Lomas.
|The gardens were designed, and construction supervised, by Ray Blackhurst, a Bollington lad (as he called himself!) who worked at the time for Bollington Urban District Council. Ray was much involved in the Bollington celebrations around Coronation Day – 3rd May 1953.
In the early days the equipment available for play was fairly simple, traditional – swings, climbing frame, a pipe to crawl through. Later other items were added, such as spring rockers, and a more adventurous climbing frame.
In 2013, to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, the gardens were given a major makeover with all new play equipment being installed.
|This is a very poignant picture. It was taken on 15th June 2022, the 91st birthday of Ray Blackhurst who is shown at the gates of Coronation Gardens along with his wife Hilda and their granddaughter, who had kindly driven them up from their home in Cheshire for a special day out – Ray requested to visit Bollington for his birthday treat. Very sadly Ray died just a few days later. The gardens are a monument to his work for Bollington Urban District Council. He designed the garden and playground, and managed the project to bring the previously derelict site into use. This was just one of the many projects he worked on for the council during the 1950s.
We thank the late Ray Blackhurst for stimulating our interest in the history of Coronation Gardens and his wife Hilda for alerting us to the existence of the tree planting certificates. As a result of interest on the Old Bollington Facebook page we thank John Medley and Lorna Evans for providing pictures of their certificates, proudly kept for more than 70 years. The coloured picture was very kindly sent by Hilda Blackhurst. Other pictures above are from Bollington Civic Society archive collection.