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History

One of the most rewarding aspects of studying the history of Huntingtree Park has been the affectionate memories that people have of the park. Everybody we spoke to, all the videos watched and all the information from the Dudley Archives gave a happy picture of the park, one that people have always enjoyed visiting for a variety of reasons and activities.

This has made The Friends of Huntingtree Park more determined than ever to work hard to ensure that our park will always be ‘A pleasant environment for all to enjoy’.


Early Days

The history of the park begins in 1954 when the Hasbury Farm Estate was built. Huntingtree Park was not a park, but a wild field with no formal paths. As there were no buses coming to the estate, people often trudged through the field on their way to work.

Huntingtree Recreation Ground was officially opened in 1966. On Thursday 2nd August 1973, The Midland Branch of the Institute of Park and Recreation Administration visited the park describing it as ‘A nine acre site situated in a recently developed residential area, a short distance from the town centre, it is a very popular recreational centre’.

For the new resident families, the park was a safe place to play as there were no lakes or ponds and there was a permanent Park Keeper who watched over the children, looked after the park and controlled the use of the tennis courts. In Summer, Play Schemes were organised by the Council’s Leisure and Recreation Department.

The bowling green has always been a great source of pleasure in the Park and a facility that is well used.  Arthur Priest, a long-time bowler, recalled that in the eighties and early nineties teams from around the area competed on the green.
Walter Somers had an ‘over sixties’ team which played on the park as did a team from the Maypole pub. There were small huts, which contained chairs so that bowlers could make a ‘cuppa’ using a primus stove.


Carnivals

The most memorable and exciting events to be held on the park were the Round Table Charity Carnivals. The whole town seemed to be part of the occasion, with a variety of youth groups, adult organisations and local companies decorating floats, relevant to the theme of the Carnival.

Round Table Carnival 1974

Round Table Carnival 1974

The Carnival Queen competition promoted great interest and excitement together with the stars from television and radio who crowned the Carnival Queen and led the procession of floats from the town centre to Huntingtree Park. Hundreds of people followed the procession on foot to the park and once there the fun really started.

Every Carnival was great family entertainment, with side shows and refreshments, and different displays from local organisations

The last Halesowen Carnival held on Huntingtree Park was held in June 1986. The procession was led by Police on horse back with various marching bands taking part. The theme for the Carnival was Cars and these included a variety of vintage cars.

Carnival Time 1986

Carnival Time 1986

A lot of floats were involved, among them, Halesowen Senior Citizens, Hasbury Methodist Church, Midland Bank, with the theme ‘the Man Who broke the Bank At Monte Carlo’ and the Startime Variety Float.

Halesowen Town Football Club had an open top bus displaying the Football Association Vase which they had recently won at Wembley.

On the park a great many stalls were in place, among them a large one supporting Halesowen Gardening Club, selling plants. There was a large Bouncy Castle and pony rides for the children.

There is video footage of this Carnival in Halesowen Library.


Recent Years

About fifteen years ago a new children’s play area was opened and the old swings and roundabouts removed. That part of the park is now an Urban Forest, developed during the Millennium Year.

In more recent years the Churches in Halesowen have joined together for an outdoor day of activities finishing with a joint service. This was a popular and well attended event with people taking their own chairs so that they could sit in comfort during the sermons.

The park is still used regularly for football training and matches and in the summer months, local organisations use the park for a variety of activities.

In August 2007, the Local Youth Club, based at Highfield Lane, organised a programme of activities for local children including bouncy castles, trampolines, football training and refreshments and barbecues.

The Friends of Huntingtree Park believe that we owe it to everyone who uses the park to preserve what is good about the park and to change improve and modernise what is out of date and untidy. We all want a park to be proud of, one that is constantly improving and keeping up with modern standards and expectations.

Park Photos

  • CrocusCrocus in the Park
  • Daffodils in the ParkDaffodils in the Park
  • The park in SpringThe Park in Spring
  • Winter in the ParkThe park in Winter

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