Fantasia for Fallowfield and Rusholme Update

Posted on February 28, 2011

Manchester Camerata joined in the centenery celebrations of one of Manchester’s most treasured Public Parks.

Platt Fields – where Rusholme, Fallowfield and Moss Side meet -was built in 1910 by the city’s unemployed following a fiery campaign to save the land from developers.  

Lord Worsley twice tried to auction off Platt Hall but it never reached the reserve price reached. The estate was then offered up in pieces to a new owner who wanted to pull down the Hall and use the bricks to build a row of shops on Wilmslow Road.

Campaigners pressed the owner to sell the land to Manchester Corporation for just under £60,000.  For two years over 700 men were given work to lay out the park and construct the lake with its island.

Its opening was hailed as a triumphant victory of people over profit. 

  Platt Fields 

Last  year was one of celebrations marking the centenary of the opening of the park, and Camerata got involved in November with an education project bringing together children from Birchfields and Wilbraham Primary Schools,  and a group of older people drawn  from various groups within the local community.  Musicians from the orchestra, Catherine Studman (violin) , Pete Mainwaring (trumpet), Ben Hudson (bassoon) and composer Nina Whiteman  worked with these groups to create a musical portrayal of  the history of the area, from 1910 to the present day. The final performance took place in Platt Hall, and featured welcoming fanfares, a communal song, soundscapes of the park and a film of old Fallowfield, provided by the Friends of Platt Fields.

Milestones in the history of the park:

1907 Platt Fields bought by Manchester Corporation after local campaign
1910 People’s Park’ officially opened
1920s Unemployed people build bowling greens, tennis courts, yachting, paddling and swimming pools.
1960s     Swimming pools closed and park falls into disrepair
1980s Park no longer locked at night; visitors allowed to ‘walk on the grass’
1993 Pets corner closed
1994 Friends of Platt Fields Park formed

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