“The story is full of gaps and uncertainties, but as far as I can work out the history of what we now call Clough Hall Park (but which was basically what was shown on maps as “Lower Hall Meadow”) is as follows:
Clough Hall itself was demolished in 1927. Around about then, Mr Poole bought land near the site of the Hall and began putting up the Clough Hall estate, Park Avenue, Clough Hall Road, Kinnersley Avenue etc. My grandmother bought one of the houses in Park Avenue in about 1936-37, when I think the house was new. The area of Lower Hall Meadow was used for Carnivals at the time, but I’m not sure who owned it. In 1927, for example, the First Kidsgrove May Queen was crowned there, and a letter I have to my aunt who was in Queen in 1929, implies that permission to use the ground for the carnival was given by the Cricket Club.
Sometime after this (it could no doubt be tracked down in the Kidsgrove Urban District Council Minutes, which are in the County Record Office) the council purchased it with the aim of creating a permanent public park. The first official sign of this is in the Kidsgrove Town Guide, published about 196 (it’s not dated, unfortunately(, which states ‘A new park of approximately 13 and a half acres, to be equipped with a pavilion, bandstand d, tennis courts and bowling greens, including a children’s corner, is in course of construction at Clough Hall.’ This at least dates the start of the Park. The Council was also then negotiating for the purchase of 90 acres of land nearby, including Clough Hall Lake and the Leg o’Mutton pool. The Miners’ Welfare Committee, in 1939 donated £100 for the entrance gates and the railings. (so if they are still the same ones, they’ve lasted quite well)!!
In 1943 Council Minutes noted that ‘the park had not yet been completely laid out.’ I think, though I’m not sure, that parts of it were used for growing vegetables during the war, and the Pavilion (with bandstand at the rear) must have been built, because it was used as a Clinic and Welfare Centre. The Park was still being used for charity carnivals – there was a Whit Monday Civil Defence Carnival in 1944, and the Park was the venue for the V.E. Day celebrations in 1945, with Band Concerts and an open air dance.
In 1951, four band concerts and community sing songs were held for the Festival of Britain, the bands based on the amphitheatre being the pavilion. There were also school sports days and a firework display. I can recall playing in the park in the 1950’s – swings, including a ‘china swing’, a big slide, a roundabout and I think seesaws. There was a paddling pool at one time and the flower beds were fully kept up. (some nice photos of these in the library.)
There is a complete photographic record of a carnival in the early 1950’s taken by Neville Fisher, amongst the library photos.”