Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spotlight on: Queen’s Park


The park was opened in 1899 as a result of a suggestion by Joseph Griggs, the first Mayor of the Borough of Loughborough, and a collection of subscriptions from local people and local businesses and had been considered as a commemoration of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. This meant that about 4 acres of land in Granby Street could be bought (actually bought in 3 separate lots) and the area planted up with flowers and plants: A young tree was planted at the opening ceremony. There were also to be recreational areas, and walkways between the plants and shrubs. Today, being a park situated centrally in town, it serves the needs of everyone, from the business, education and local community to the shoppers and the tourists. 


Carillon – the Carillon was erected in 1923 as a memorial to those who died during the First World War. It was designed by Sir Walter Tapper, an independent architect from London, but was constructed by a local building firm, Moss. The carillon is a musical instrument, sounding rather like a peal of bells, but played in a completely different way: The carilloneur, who sits in a room below the actual bells, hits the keys with a fist which in turn moves a clapper to hit the bell. The bells were made by local bellfounding firm, Taylors, who have had a business in Loughborough since about 1839. There are 47 bells, weighing from 14 imperial pounds, to over 82 hundredweight and the tower is 46 metres high! The museum based in each of the rooms on each of the lower floors contains WW1 and memorabilia from later wars.

Charnwood Museum – was officially opened in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. It was gifted to the townspeople by Joseph Griggs, the first Mayor of the Borough of Loughborough. The swimming baths was closed when the new leisure centre opened in the 1970s. The building was then used for Saturday/Sunday craft and antique fairs, and later for the regular Friday morning flea market. In 1995 the building was converted into a very popular museum, charting the history of Loughborough and having regular travelling displays and lots of activities.

Bandstand – the bandstand was erected to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. It’s a beautiful addition to the park and is in a central position: Paths radiate out from the bandstand, and it is also in a direct line with the Carillon.

Swan – the swan maze and sculpture was created in 1992 by a local man, David Tarver, to celebrate 100 years since the town became a borough in 1888. The sculpture shows a swan with her three cygnets and a swan.

Olympic rings – 2012 saw Britain host the Olympics, and to celebrate this, there are five hoops planted in the park, the flower and related arrangements representing many of the events. To accompany this planting, there were several pairs of legs arising from the ponds outside the Museum. Theses were created by Loughborough University art students to represent the synchronised swimmers! These have now been removed to make way for the latest sculptures.

Bell and related sculptures – the Great Paul Bell was created by Taylors for St Paul’s cathedral in 1881. In July 2013 the Great Paul Bell casing was given pride of place in Queen’s Park, situated on a plinth next to the pools opposite the museum. It has been surrounded by a collection of musical-themed sculptures – a set of tuning forks, a nest of bells and a half a bell with clapper – as part of the Loughborough in Bloom effort.

Aviary – the aviary has been a part of the park since about 1955, although its position in the park has changed. There is quite a variety of birds to be seen – although the Humboldt penguins and the peacocks are no longer there!         


Remembrance Day parade and service – In November each year a parade through the town leads onto a service in Queen’s Park. Attended by a range of civic dignitaries, members of the scouting and guiding families, the Boys/Girls Brigade, service personnel, and others gather outside the Carillon and remember those who died in the world wars, and alter conflicts. At 11am precisely, two shots are fired and thousands of poppies are released from the top of the Carillon. The procession takes off again, through town, ending at Southfields Park.

Regular recitals – the borough carilloneur, Caroline Sharpe, gives regular recitals, usually on Thursday afternoons and Sundays. Other recitals are given on special occasions.

Bands in the park – during the summer months a variety of bands play in the bandstand. These range from concert bands, through jazz bands to brass bands.

Picnic in the park – has become a regular feature on the calendar of the park. There are food and craft stalls, games, dancing and music, lending a festive atmosphere.


Bowls – during the outdoor bowls season (April to October) bowls matches are regularly held on the green. The home club is known as Granby Bowling Club, and visiting teams come from all over Leicestershire to play here. 

Mela - the Loughborough Mela is an annual event that takes place in August and celebrates Asian entertainment and culture.


Playgrounds – there are two distinct children’s play parks within Queens park, one with lots of equipment for younger children, and one for older children.

Café – the café is open from about Easter time to October, and has both an inside seating area and an outside one. The café can be accessed from outside in the park, or from inside via the museum. A range of refreshments is sold, and there are often displays of local artwork that can be purchased.

Toilets – are available inside the museum and outside, near the bowling green.

Address – Queen’s Park, Granby Street, Loughborough, LE11 3DU

Opening hours – from dawn to dusk

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