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Formerly open pastureland, Haslam Park was donated to the Borough by Mary Haslam in 1910. She commissioned the parks design and construction in memory of her father, John Haslam, who was the owner of a cotton mill on Parker Street, Preston. Miss Haslam’s main ambition for the park was to ensure that ample space was made for the children, and to this end she donated additional money for the development of the park. From this generous donation landscape designer (or garden architect as he preferred) Thomas H Mawson was contacted. From his designs the park was finished and opened in 1912.
The historic features from this design include wrought iron entrance gates (these were restored in 1999 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund), an avenue of lime trees, cast iron drinking fountain (this no longer works) and the lake and cascade from the Lancaster canal, still a popular part of the park. Also included in the original design was an arboretum and grass lands to encourage wildlife and flowers.
In 1915, Mawson amended his plans to include swimming baths, but due to the lack of funds and the First World War the plans were shelved. The baths were constructed in 1932 when Mr J Ward donated money for the baths and an aviary. Sadly both of these features no longer exist with the baths closing in 1987 and subsequently demolished.
One of the newer features on the park is the fine tree sculptures by Iain Cant, who together with students of Tulketh High School and members of Intag, sculpted from a dead beech tree. This feature was commissioned by the Art in the Park project in 2002 and is popular with local residents and park users. A bench sculpted in the same manner accompanies the tree and was completed in 2003.
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