Alexandra Park, home to Cotton Famine Park, was opened in 1865 to create jobs for local textile workers who became unemployed when America cut off its supplies of raw cotton during their civil war. Over the years, the once magnificent park sank into a state of decline.
A £2.3 million National Lottery grant helped restore Cotton Famine park to its original splendour. As well as conserving an important part of the local heritage, the funding created an attractive outdoor space that’s enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every year. The park is a valuable resource that is well used by local residents and also attracts visitors from afar with big events such as carnivals.
The park now provides not only a green and pleasant area that’s free and accessible to everyone, but also provides opportunities for people to get healthy. As well as free tennis courts and a bowls pavilion, there’s also boating on the lake, and a weekly running club attended by around 100 people every week. The improved woodland has attracted more diverse wildlife into the area, while the rejuvenated lake now makes a small revenue from anglers. The splendid gardens and grounds also provide opportunities for education, with pupils from a local school completing their NVQ in the park. The restored cafe in the boathouse is managed by a group who support people with disabilities.