Grosvenor Park is a public park in the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. It consists of 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land overlooking the River Dee. It is regarded as one of the finest and most complete examples ofVictorian parks in the North West of England, if not nationally. The park is designated as Grade II in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.The land, which formerly consisted of fields, was given to the city by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. The Marquess also paid for the design of the park by Edward Kemp. It was laid out in 1865–66 and opened with great celebration in November 1867 although the Marquess was not able to attend.
This was originally the park keeper’s lodge and is now the city council’s parks & gardens office. It was designed by local architect John Douglas. The lodge, together with some of the other structures in the park, are among his first recorded commissions by the Grosvenor family, and the first known example of his use of black-and-white architecture. The lodge is in two storeys, the lower storey being built in red sandstone and the upper storey being timber-framed with plaster panels. The roofs are of red-brown tiles. On the upper storey are eight carvings which represent William the Conqueror and the seven Norman Earls of Chester. The lodge has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building.
In addition to ornamental flower beds, grassed areas, trees and footpaths, the park contains a number of other features. Before the park was established there was in one of the fields a well, Billy Hobby’s Well, which was reputed to have magical properties. John Douglas designed a canopy to stand over the site of the well. The canopy is listed Grade II. Money was raised by public subscription to erect a statue to the 2nd Marquess in 1859. The statue is in white marble and was made byThomas Thornycroft. The statue was originally surrounded by four guns, two being Boer guns which were captured in the Boer War and the other two were Russian guns which had been captured at Sebastopol in the Crimean War. The guns are no longer present. The statue is listed Grade II.
In the park are three medieval arches moved from elsewhere in the city, both of which are listed Grade II. St Mary’s Arch with its wing walls dates from around the 13th century and formerly stood in St Mary’s Benedictine Nunnery. The Old Shipgate Arch formerly stood to the west of the Bridgegate and was taken down in 1831. The third archway was removed from St Michael’s Church. Also in the park and listed Grade II is Jacob’s Well Drinking Fountain consisting of a small stone arch with a drinking fountain for people and a dish for their pets, which is now dry. During the laying out of the park a long line of Roman earthenware water pipes was discovered close to the lodge which used to bring fresh water from Boughton to the Roman fortress. In the 1950s a rockery was constructed on the southern edge of the park with waterfalls, streams and fountains. The main gates of the park, together with other gate piers and sections of the park walls, all designed by John Douglas, are listed Grade II.
A number of cultural and horticultural events, including events in the Summer Music Festival, are held in the park. Also in the park is the Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway which was built in 1996 to commemorate the centenary of the Duke of Westminster’s railway at Eaton Hall. It has a gauge of 7.25 inches (18 cm) and a circuit of 0.25 miles (0.40 km).
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