Stanley Park is one of the most beautiful attractions in Blackpool, and with events on throughout the year and free admission, it is a popular choice for locals and tourists, especially in the summer. Although there’s not a lot to fear in the park, there have been some tales of some strange experiences there.
Stanley Park is the largest of Blackpool’s parks and covers an area of around 104 hectares. Not only does it provide an enjoyable place for people to relax or spend time with family, but it also offers other facilities such as sports courts and fields, a children’s play area, skate park, boating lake, mini golf and café with visitors centre. In the summer months, bands regularly play on the bandstand near to the boating lake and the boat house opens up so that the public can hire boats to take out on the lake.
History Of The Park
The population of Blackpool grew significantly between 1870 and the 1900s. For this reason, it was decided that something should be created for the public to enjoy. The specification for this new attraction was to design a concept that would be suitable for all ages and classes.
Whilst the proposal was considered in the 1900s, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the land for the park was acquired. Albert Lindsay Parkinson sold a large amount of the land needed for the park to the council. Other parts of the park were either donated or compulsory purchased.
Turning the area into a park was an important step for Blackpool as it reinforced it’s status as a seaside resort. In the 1920s, sporting was a favourite pastime for the middle classes and so having the sport and recreational areas in Stanley Park ultimately helped draw in more tourists. It was said that if Blackpool hadn’t have gained popularity as a seaside town, there would have been a revolution in Lancashire due to the numbers of industry workers who travelled to Blackpool on holiday.
The Opening of the Park
Meeting the recreational needs of the modern generation, Stanley Park opened on October 2nd 1926. It was opened by the 17th Earl of Derby on the same day as the New Marine Promenade was opened. The Park was named Stanley Park after the Earl who opened it.
The Earl used gold scissors to cut a black and white ribbon. He then gave the mayor half a crown. This was in acknowledgment of the mayor’s superstitions about the colours of the ribbon. Finally, the Earl opened the main gates of the park with a golden key to officially declare the park as being open.
Cost and Preservation
It was estimated that the park cost £250,000 to complete. This was the equivalent of around £13,086,238 in 2005. It was such a big project that it was even talked about in America. The park has now been listed as a Grade II* park and is registered on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. Grade II* is the second highest of the three grades.
If you have never visited Stanley Park, you’ll find it close to Blackpool Zoo. It is in the Great Marton/Layton area of Blackpool. There is plenty of parking nearby and there is a car park inside the park itself.
Ghosts in the Park
Several people have told stories about seeing a ghostly couple in the park. The couple seem to mean no harm but instead simply sit on a bench beside one another. Maybe they return to the park so that they can share some more time in each others company or perhaps this was their favourite place to while away their retirement whilst they were living.
One visitor to the park explained that although he is sceptical about ghosts and the paranormal, he witnessed something strange in Stanley Park. Whilst he was sitting alone on a bench one day, a family with a dog walked by him. The dog suddenly ran up to him and started to bark frantically at the spare area of bench beside him. After a couple of minutes, the dog jumped backwards as it someone was getting off the bench and then proceeded to “follow” nothing along the path away from the bench. At the same time, the man felt an uneasy feeling as though there was someone else there as well as the other people in the park that day.
Many years ago, nearby Raikes Hall was a convent and it is said that one of the nuns drowned in one of the lakes near to or inside Stanley Park. The apparition of a nun has been witnessed close to the park and in Raikes Hall itself too.