Histories of Public Parks in Manchester and Salford and Their Role in Cultural Policies for Everyday Participation

  • Abigail GilmoreEmail author
  • Patrick Doyle
Part of the New Directions in Cultural Policy Research book series (NDCPR)


The establishment of public parks in England within the nineteenth century, and their ongoing creation and management, provides the basis for understanding changing relationships between local governance and administration, cultural policy formation and everyday participation, particularly within the industrial and post-industrial urban context. This chapter considers the history of public parks and their management in Manchester and Salford from the 1830s to the mid-twentieth century, drawing on archival research and focusing on three early parks within these cities, the first public municipal parks to be established in the UK. It outlines how the design and administration of these spaces contributed to strategies for the regulation and improvement of urban populations and informed urban cultural policies, with implicit and extrinsic effects on the provision of local popular entertainment, cultural education, class identity and taste formation. It argues that as spaces for everyday participation, parks offer opportunities for the articulation and negotiation of cultural tastes and values across different socio-economic classes, alongside popular forms of participation in arts, culture and leisure, and their use and value continue to inform cultural strategies for within the contemporary urban context.


  1. Anderson, M. (1926). How Manchester Is Managed: A Record of Municipal Activity. Manchester: Manchester City Council.Google Scholar
  2. [Anon.]. (1857a). The Pictorial Guide to Manchester and Companion to the Arts Treasures Exhibition. Manchester: Abel Heywood.Google Scholar
  3. [Anon.]. (1857b). The Stranger’s Complete Guide to Manchester Containing a Map of the Environs, Illustrated with Seven Steel Engravings. Manchester: John Heywood.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, P. (1978). Leisure and Class in Victorian England: Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830–1885. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey, P. (2011). Entertainmentality!: Liberalizing Modern Pleasure in the Victorian Leisure Industry. In S. Gunn & J. Vernon (Eds.), The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain (pp. 119–133). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Baldwin, D. (2004). Major, Joshua (1786–1866), Landscape Gardener and Designer. In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Accessed 30 Apr 2017.
  7. Barker, H. (2004). ‘Smoke Cities’: Northern Industrial Towns in Late Georgian England. Urban History, 31(2), 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennett, T. (2013). The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Briggs, A. (1963). Victorian Cities. London: Odhams Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bullock, T. A. (1857). Bradshaw’s Illustrated Guide to Manchester. London: W.J. Adams.Google Scholar
  11. Carr, E. (2013). Introduction. In E. Carr, S. Eyring, & R. Guy Wilson (Eds.), Public Nature: Scenery, History and Park Design (pp. 1–9). Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.Google Scholar
  12. City of Salford. (1934, March 31). Parks Department: Annual Report of the Parks Superintendent for the Financial Year Ended.Google Scholar
  13. Cunningham, H. (2014). Time, Work and Leisure: Life Changes in England Since 1700. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies, A. (1992). Leisure, Gender and Poverty: Working Class Culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900–39. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  15. De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Eagles, S. (2009). Thomas Coglan Horsfall, and Manchester Art Museum and University Settlement. The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. Accessed 26 June 2016.
  17. Edwards, D. (2014). Ethnography Report for Manchester-Salford Cultural Ecosystem. Unpublished Report for AHRC Understanding Everyday Participation—Articulating Cultural Values.Google Scholar
  18. Gibson-Brydon, T. R. C. (2016). The Moral Mapping of Victorian and Edwardian London: Charles Booth, Christian Charity, and the Poor-But-Respectable. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gilmore, A. (2017). The Park, the Museum and the Commons: Vernacular Spaces and Social Infrastructure for Everyday Participation. Cultural Trends, 26(1), 34–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gray, C. (2007). Commodification and Instrumentality in Cultural Policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 13(2), 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harrison, M. (1985). Art and Philanthropy: T. C. Horsfall and the Manchester Art Museum. In A. J. Kidd & K. W. Roberts (Eds.), City, Class and Culture: Studies of Social Production and Social Policy in Victorian Manchester (pp. 120–147). Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hansard 1803–2005, Written Answers (Commons) ‘Average Weekly Wages’. HC Deb 30 July 1925 vol 187 cc671-3W. Accessed 30 Apr 2017.
  23. Heritage Lottery Fund. (2013, December). Parks for People Application Guidance. London: Heritage Lottery Fund.Google Scholar
  24. Heritage Lottery Fund. (2014). State of UK Public Parks 2014: Renaissance or Risk?. London: Heritage Lottery Fund.Google Scholar
  25. Heritage Lottery Fund/NESTA. (2013). Rethinking Parks—Exploring New Business Models for Parks in 21st Century. Written by Peter Neal. London: Heritage Lottery Fund/NESTA.Google Scholar
  26. Holden, A. (2012). Protected Areas and Tourism. In A. Holden & D. Fennell (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Environment (pp. 276–284). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. House of Commons Parliamentary Papers. (1833). Report from the Select Committee on Public Walks: With the Minutes of Evidence Taken Before Them, XV.337, Vol. 15, Paper 448. Accessed 26 June 2016.
  28. Howkins, A. (2011). The Commons, Enclosure and Radical Histories. In D. Feldman & J. Lawrence (Eds.), Structures and Transformations in Modern British History (pp. 118–141). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jerram, L. (2011). Streetlife: The Untold History of Europe’s Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Jevons, W. S. (1883). Methods of Social Reform and Other Papers. London: Macmillan and Co.Google Scholar
  31. Jordan, H. (1994). Public Parks, 1885–1914. The Garden Historical Society, 22(1), 85–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Joyce, P. (2003). The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  33. Leech, B. (Ed.). (1927). How Manchester Is Managed: A Record of Municipal Activity, 1927. Manchester: Manchester City Council.Google Scholar
  34. Leech, B. (Ed.). (1929). How Manchester Is Managed: A Record of Municipal Activity, 1929. Manchester: Manchester City Council.Google Scholar
  35. Leech, B. (Ed.). (1930). How Manchester Is Managed: A Record of Municipal Activity, 1930. Manchester: Manchester City Council.Google Scholar
  36. Maidment, B. E. (1985). Class and Cultural Production in the Industrial City: Poetry in Victorian Manchester. In A. J. Kidd & K. W. Roberts (Eds.), City, Class and Culture: Studies of Social Policy and Cultural Production in Victorian Manchester. Manchester and Dover, NH: Manchester University Press; distributed in N. America by St. Martin’s Press, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Major, J. (1852). The Theory of Landscape Gardening. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans.Google Scholar
  38. Manchester City Council. (2016, February 23). Information Report: Update on Parks Strategy. Manchester: Manchester City Council.Google Scholar
  39. Manchester Forum. (n.d.). Topic: Queen’s Park Museum and Art Gallery Available Through. Accessed 27 June 2016.
  40. National Trust. (2015). Play Our Part: What Does the Nation Need from the National Trust in the 21st Century? London: National Trust.Google Scholar
  41. Nicholas, R. (1945). The City of Manchester Plan. Norwich: Jarrold and Son Ltd.Google Scholar
  42. Offer, A. (1981). Property and Politics, 1870–1914: Landownership, Law, Ideology and Urban Development in England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. O’Reilly, C. (2009). Aristocratic Fortunes and Civic Aspiration: Issues in the Passage of Aristocratic Land to Municipal Ownership in Later Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Manchester with Particular Reference to the Sale of Heaton Park. Thesis, Manchester Metropolitan University.Google Scholar
  44. O’Reilly, C. (2013). From ‘the People’ to ‘the Citizen’: The Emergence of the Edwardian Municipal Park in Manchester, 1902–1912. Urban History, 40(1), 136–155.Google Scholar
  45. Pettigrew, W. W. (1929). City of Manchester Handbook of the City Parks and Recreation Grounds. Manchester: Manchester Parks and Cemeteries Committee.Google Scholar
  46. Pettigrew, W. W. (1937). Municipal Parks: Layout, Management and Administration. London: The Journal of Park Administration.Google Scholar
  47. Rees Leahy, H. (2012). Museum Bodies: The Politics and Practices of Visiting and Viewing. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  48. Roberts, N., & King, P. (1991). Policy Entrepreneurs: Their Activity Structure and Function in the Policy Process. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1(2), 147–175.Google Scholar
  49. Savage, M., & Wolff, J. (Eds.). (2013). Manchester: City of Culture. In Culture in Manchester: Institutions and Urban Change Since 1850. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Searle, G. R. (1971). The Quest for National Efficiency: A Study in British Politics and Political Thought, 1899–1914. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  51. Sennett, R. (1994). Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  52. Sigsworth, M., & Worboys, M. (1994). The Public’s View of Public Health in Mid-Victorian Britain. Urban History, 21(2), 237–250.Google Scholar
  53. Simon, S. (1938). A Century of City Government: Manchester, 1838–1938. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  54. Stedman Jones, G. (1983). Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History, 1832–1982. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. ‘Sunday Music in the Parks: Experiences in Salford’. (n.d.). Manchester Guardian.Google Scholar
  56. Thomas, K. (2015, June 26). Who Runs Public Parks and Are They in Danger of Privatisation? The Guardian.Google Scholar
  57. Webb, S. (1991). Labour. Manchester Guardian, 1 January 1901.Google Scholar
  58. Wyborn, T. (1995). Parks for the People: The Development of Public Parks in Manchester. Manchester Region History Review, 9(4), 22.Google Scholar

Archival Sources

  1. The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser. Google Scholar
  2. The Manchester Times and Gazette. Google Scholar
  3. Manchester Guardian. Google Scholar
  4. Manchester Parks and Cemeteries Committee, Minute Books.Google Scholar
  5. Parks Superintendent, Annual Reports.Google Scholar
  6. Salford Parks Committee, Annual Reports (1847, 1848, 1852, 1887, 1888, 1923, 1925, 1927).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Cultural Practices, University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.History, University of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations