War memorials made after the First World War took many different forms including Village Halls and Community Buildings as well as the familiar Crosses and Memorials in and near Churches. One form of Memorial was the creation of a Park or Garden. Some of these have become well known such as the one at Tring in Hertfordshire and English Heritage has recently published an information leaflet about them. However, no one is sure that any list of them all is complete and consequently our own Northamptonshire Gardens Trust would like to compile a full list for the county.
One example is to be found in Thrapston. A short way out of the centre along the old road to Huntingdon is to be found Thrapston Peace Memorial Park. The site was purchased by the Town Council in 1920 as a memorial to those who fell in the First World War. Before that the site was known as Kiln Close because there had previously been Lime Kilns on the site. The park is relatively small but as it is on sloping ground it does provide attractive views over Thrapston and its Church, and out into the surrounding countryside. It is mainly park type grassland with specimen trees and a children’s play area along one side. It is completely informal and a very pleasant place to go for a stroll or sit down. There is also a rather curious Millennium Peace Stone.
After the Second World War Thrapston created another site as a memorial – this time in the form of Playing Fields. As there are also walks, both around former gravel pits and along former railway lines, the town is a good place to spend a morning or afternoon exploring.
This is one example of a Memorial Park in our County. There must be others and we would like to compile an accurate list. Therefore, if you know of any in your area would you please tell us. It is local knowledge like this which is one of the Trust’s main assets.
David Bond – David@dbond.me.uk