Preston's Parks have national, regional and local significance. There are over 200 parks and green spaces including 8 major sites equating to over 700 hectares.
In a publication from 1991, Hazel Conway's book 'People's Parks' she identified Moor Park as the first (municipal) park to be established in an industrial town. It is a Grade II* park listed as a 'Registered Park and Garden' by Historic England.
They describe it as 'A public park laid out in 1833-5 and improved by Edward Milner in the 1860s.'
During the Cotton Famine of the early 1860s, the Town Council commissioned Edward Milner (1819-94) to prepare a report on Preston's parks. This was part of a wider scheme to assist out-of-work cotton operatives by employing them to carry out public works, financial support coming from the Public Works Loan Commissioners.
Milner submitted proposals in February 1864 and was subsequently invited to design and oversee the building of two new parks, Avenham and Miller Parks, and to improve Moor Park.
Avenham Park and Miller Park are adjoining parks on the bank of the River Ribble, both are Grade II* listed parks.
Haslam Park is a Grade II listed park and is described as 'A municipal park, opened to the public in 1910, with design elements provided shortly afterwards by the landscape architect Thomas H Mawson.'
To further quote Hazel Conway 'Historic parks were designed to improve the urban environment in many ways: financially by raising the value of the property around them; practically, by cleaning the air and being the lungs for the city; physically, by providing a place for sport and exercise; and psychologically, by providing a place where people could relax and enjoy the sight of trees and grass'.
We have a long and strong tradition of public parks in Preston, and this quotation remains true today in all our parks, be they nationally important parks, or small 'pocket' parks found just around the corner from where we live.
We particularly recognise and value the role that they continue to play in contributing to people's physical and mental health, through sport and exercise, a chance to meet friends or simple enjoyment of the natural environment. This is especially true during the Covid Pandemic when parks and open spaces have been needed and used more than ever.
Pressure on funding and resources for parks and green spaces has been significant for some time now. But we believe that we have continued to manage and maintain parks and green spaces to a high standard with the resources available to us.
Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet Member for the Environment