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Celebrations for loved Norwich park’s 90th birthday

PUBLISHED: 10:26 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:51 18 September 2018

Picture shows: Aerial view of Eaton Park, Norwich.
June 2005
Picture by: Mike Page

Picture shows: Aerial view of Eaton Park, Norwich. June 2005 Picture by: Mike Page

For thousands of people around Norwich, it holds a special place in their hearts.

The cutting of the cake at the celebration to mark 90 years of Eaton Park. Picture: Victoria PertusaThe cutting of the cake at the celebration to mark 90 years of Eaton Park. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Whether Eaton Park is a favourite family day out, the home of Sunday football matches or a space to enjoy some tranquillity, it is a beloved part of the city.

On Sunday, coinciding with the end of the Heritage Open Days festival, people from around Norwich came together to celebrate Eaton Park’s 90th birthday.

Friends of the popular Eaton Park gathered to celebrate its nine decades by sharing memories and a cake. Picture: Victoria PertusaFriends of the popular Eaton Park gathered to celebrate its nine decades by sharing memories and a cake. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

With a theme of through the decades, it saw the Friends of Eaton Park encourage people to take a trip back through the park’s history and share their memories of its past.

Helen Mitchell, chairman of the Friends, said the group had asked people to share their favourite memories of the park, with a flip chart for people to write some down.

And members of the group were on hand to talk to visitors about their memories.

“We also asked people to bring in photographs,” she said. “We don’t have many from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s and we’d love to see more.

Eaton Park, which is nearing its 90th birthday. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Eaton Park, which is nearing its 90th birthday. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“We are trying to build up more of a history of the park.”

The group has previously said there are gaps in their knowledge - for example, they would like to discover when the pitch and putt was installed, or when the gates stopped closing at night.

Opening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Left to right, Bryan Heading and Helen Mitchell, from Friends of Eaton Park and Martin Schmierer, Lord Mayor of Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Left to right, Bryan Heading and Helen Mitchell, from Friends of Eaton Park and Martin Schmierer, Lord Mayor of Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

In the afternoon, they came together for a cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate the 90 years.

Ms Mitchell said the honours were done by Andy Anderson, the Friends’ oldest member, and four-year-old Courtney.

Opening of the Eaton Park boules petanque.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“It’s nice to bring together some of the oldest and younger park users,” she said, “and it’s a way of putting the focus back on those people who love the park.”

She said Sunday saw the last of the rooftop tours, which gave people a chance to enjoy a birds-eye view of the park from the top its rotunda.

Opening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Left to right, Bryan Heading and Helen Mitchell, from Friends of Eaton Park and Martin Schmierer, Lord Mayor of Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Left to right, Bryan Heading and Helen Mitchell, from Friends of Eaton Park and Martin Schmierer, Lord Mayor of Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

It comes just a few days after the park celebrated the official opening of its new petanque terrains.

Work on the area started in June, with the celebration of their opening taking place on Friday.

Opening of the Eaton Park boules petanque.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the Eaton Park boules petanque. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Lord Mayor of Norwich Martin Schmierer and the Friends of Eaton Park came together to mark the occasion.

Do you have memories and photos of Eaton Park you would like to share? Email info@friendsofeatonpark.co.uk

Eaton Park: A history

Eaton Park was one of several that received government funding after the First World War.

It was designed and built by Captain A Sandys-Winsch, a landscape architect who was Norwich City Council’s parks superintendent from 1919 to 1956.

It was officially opened to the public in 1928 by the Prince of Wales.

In 1998, the park was one of three to benefit from a refurbishment programme funded by a £4.2m Heritage Lottery grant.

Today, it features crazy golf, a bowling green, miniature railway, tennis courts, a model boat pond, the bandstand, pavilion, changing rooms, toilets and café, and the new petanque areas.

It is a Grade II* listed site on the English Heritage register of parks and gardens and is one of 23 parks around Norwich.

Others created by Sandys-Winsch are Wensum, Waterloo and Heigham Parks, along with Mile Cross Gardens.

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