Pearson Park

Pearson Park, originally known as the People's Park is a park in the west of Kingston upon Hull, England. It is situated about 1 mile (1.5 km) north-west of the city centre of Hull with its main entrance on Beverley Road and its western boundary adjoining Princes Avenue.[1]

Pearson Park
Pearson Park.jpg
The entrance to Pearson Park
LocationKingston upon Hull
Coordinates53°45′31″N 0°21′11″W / 53.758740°N 0.353000°W / 53.758740; -0.353000Coordinates: 53°45′31″N 0°21′11″W / 53.758740°N 0.353000°W / 53.758740; -0.353000
Area20 acres (8 ha)[1]
Operated byHull City Council
StatusOpen all year

The park was established in 1862 through the gift of land by Zachariah Pearson, and was the first public park in the city.


Formal gardens within park (2009)

During the Victorian period the lack of or need for public spaces for working classes to exercise, or otherwise enjoy themselves became a public cause; in 1833 a parliamentary select committee on Public Walks published a paper which promoted the need for open green spaces in cities.[2][note 1] An early proposal in Hull was for a 4.5 mi (7.2 km) walk around the town from Humber bank to Humber bank; this re-appeared as the Grand Victoria Promenade Company in 1845, which proposed a wide road and tree lined walk; the scheme did not go ahead, and the Victoria Dock Branch Line (c. 1853) was built along a similar route.[5] In the late 1850s an attempt was made to gain the rights to the use of the land of the former Hull Citadel for use as a public space, leading to an unsuccessful suit in the Court of Chancery in 1861 made by the Corporation of Hull against the Government.[6]

In 1860 the then Mayor, Zachariah Pearson, donated a 27-acre (11 ha) plot to the board of health on the proviso it would be developed as a park. He retained 10 acres (4.0 ha) on three sides of the park, and constructed a road to the land.[7] At this time the land lay outside the urban growth of the town, close to the hamlet of Stepney.[8]

On 28 August 1860 the park was inaugurated. The event was organised by Enderby Jackson; a procession starting at Mansion House to the park took place, the whole train over 2 miles long.[note 2] According to Sheahan (1864) around 30,000 visitors came to Hull by railway to observe the proceedings. A ceremony involving the deed of conveyance took place, and the Mayor, Zachariah Pearson then planted a tree, a Wellingtonia Gigantea. Celebrations were continued at the Station Hotel, with a dinner and fireworks display, and to the next day, with further ceremonial tree planting.[10]

At the opening ceremony Pearson noted the intention of providing open spaces for the good health of the working population, also noting that the aim of constructing high status houses around the park was to keep the wealthy citizens of Hull living within Hull.[11]

The original park design was by J. C. Niven; in 1864 the park included a cricket ground, a folly The Ruins, statues of Queen Victoria and of Ceres, the goddess, as well as a lake. Other areas were set aside for a bowling green, archery, and gymnastics. In addition a road had been built around the park, along which high quality 'villa' residences were under construction. The main entrance, from Beverley Road, 50 by 29 12 ft (15.2 by 9.0 m) wide by high, was an ornamental gateway by Young and Pool,[12][13][note 3] iron gates by Thompson and Stather of Hull formed the Princess Avenue entrance.[17] The east entrance lodge, c. 1870 (1861?[16]) is now listed.[18]

Other early features surviving included a cast iron drinking fountain (1861),[19][note 4] and statues of Queen Victoria (installed 1861) and Prince Albert (installed 1868), both by Thomas Earle.[22][23]

Typical large Pearson Park house (2008)

Housing development on the surrounding road took place throughout the latter part of the 19th century; by 1890 much the road had been developed, all substantial houses;[24] F. W. Hagen was architect for many of them,[25] numbers 43, 50 and 54, all from the early 1860s are listed buildings.[26][27][28]

A memorial to Pearson was added in 1897, as a marble relief, fixed to an ironstone monolith.[note 5][30]

A bandstand was installed in 1908.[31] In 1912 a cupola rescued from Cuthbert Brodrick's Hull town hall was installed in the park.[32] In around 1930 a Victorian style conservatory was built near the lake.[33]

During the Second World War the park housed nissen huts and air raid shelters, which were removed in 1954; part of the park's serpentine path system was lost during these modifications. An iron bridge across the lake, and the bandstand were also removed after the Second World War.[34]

Late 20th century modifications include installation of fountains in the lake, construction of a children's playground on the west edge of the park (replacing tennis courts, and originally a bowling green).[35] The 150th anniversary of the park opening was celebrated on 29 August 2010, as part of the celebrations another Wellingtonia gigantea tree was planted.[36]

In summer 2017 £3 million was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration work on the park.[37] Work got underway in December 2018 with the dismantling of the entrance archway.[38] Restoration of the archway took a year and was officially reopened on 19 December 2019.[39]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ There was also 'Botanic Gardens' (1811), initially private, opened to the public a decade later. Also a 'Zoological gardens' (1840),[3] both relatively short lived, closing in 1890 and 1862 respectively.[4]
  2. ^ The spade for the tree planting ceremony led the procession, followed by the park committee and other officials with the deeds of the park, followed by Hull's volunteer force (around 1600), the Lord Mayor's carriage and the Sheriff's carriage, as well as other officials including the dock directors, the Lord Mayor of York and other Lord Mayors, members of the Corporation and of the Trinity Hose, foreign consuls, and representatives of various guilds and organisations, actors, musical bands, and so on.[9]
  3. ^ The entrance was decorated with various symbolic insignia and emblems: including emblems of the Corporation, the Trinity House, and the Pearson's own crest.[14] It may have been inspired by the gateway to Syon House.[15] Its gates were removed 1901.[16]
  4. ^ Restored in 2008 with plans proposed for further restoration work in 2016.[20][21]
  5. ^ The monolith was gift of Bolckow Vaughan & Co. and is made of ironstone from the Cleveland district of North Yorkshire.[29]


  1. ^ a b "Pearson Park" (PDF). January 2001. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  2. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, pp. 5–6.
  3. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, p. 6.
  4. ^ Allison, K.J., ed. (1969). "Parks and Gardens". Public services. A History of the County of York East Riding. 1: The City of Kingston upon Hull. pp. 371–386.
  5. ^ Sheahan 1864, p. 559.
  6. ^ Sheahan 1864, pp. 268–270.
  7. ^ Sheahan 1864, p. 560.
  8. ^ Ordnance Survey. 1855–6. 1:10560
  9. ^ Sheahan 1864, pp. 560–561.
  10. ^ Sheahan 1864, pp. 560–564.
  11. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, p. 11.
  12. ^ Sheahan 1864, pp. 565–567.
  13. ^ Historic England. "Gateway to Pearson Park (1197713)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  14. ^ Sheahan 1864, p. 566.
  15. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, p. 9.
  16. ^ a b Pearson Park (Historic England)
  17. ^ Sheahan 1864, p. 567.
  18. ^ Historic England. "East Lodge (1291855)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  19. ^ Historic England. "Drinking fountain 330 metres south-west of entrance (Pearson Park) (1197715)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Historic water fountain restoration proposals submitted". Hull City Plan. Hull City Council. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Pearson Park Fountain". T.H. Dick & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  22. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Queen Victoria (1291831)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  23. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Prince Albert (1283109)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  24. ^ Ordnance Survey. 1:2500. 1893
  25. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, p. 32.
  26. ^ Historic England. "Studley House. 43, Pearson Park (1283108)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  27. ^ Historic England. "50, Pearson Park (1218702)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  28. ^ Historic England. "54, Pearson Park (1197714)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  29. ^ Barwick et al. 1989, p. 8.
  30. ^ Historic England. "Pearson memorial (1218716)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  31. ^ Pearson Park (Hull City Council, 2001), p.2
  32. ^ Historic England. "Cupola from Old Town Hall on west side of park (1218709)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  33. ^ Pearson Park (Hull City Council, 2001), pp. 2–3
  34. ^ Pearson Park (Hull City Council, 2001), p. 2
  35. ^ Pearson Park (Hull City Council, 2001), p. 3
  36. ^ "Zachariah Pearson's descendants from around at park's 150th". This is Hull and East Riding. Northcliffe Media Ltd. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  37. ^ "Pearson Park restoration". Hull City Council. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Part of the iconic Pearson Park arch has been taken down - but it's for a very good reason". Hull Daily Mail. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Pearson Park archway to be reopened this week". Hull City Council. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  40. ^ Swarbrick, Andrew (15 July 1997). Out of Reach: The Poetry of Philip Larkin. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-312-17452-1.


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