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Park Bandstands

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Park Bandstands

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Park Bandstands

England’s parks are something to be proud of. Green spaces to feed the ducks, play on the swings, or simply take a stroll. If you are lucky, your local park will also feature a bandstand hosting regular concerts. You can bring a picnic and sit on the grass or maybe hire a deckchair. You could hear anything from a brass band to a steel band to an amateur choir. The programme is likely to be conservative: popular classics, movie soundtracks, or ragtime and jazz, something for everyone to enjoy as they pass by, or as it floats though their window on a sunny afternoon. Shared enjoyment is key.

England’s public parks sprang up as a response to the increasingly polluted urban environments created by the industrial revolution. Parks were designed to be enjoyed by working people, and the provision of music was central to the Victorian philanthropic vision of self-improvement through exposure to culture. To read more about the history of public parks, click here.  Many of England’s bandstands have fallen into disrepair and disuse, but a rescue mission is on the way in some areas to restore them to the heart of our culture, where they belong.

Photo: George Lewin


Your comments

Parks spread across our cities in the Industrial Age and the ubiquitous symbol of the urban park is the cast iron bandstand selected by local councillors from catalogues circulated by foundries around Glasgow. When city parks began their long post-WW2 decline, bandstands suffered too, but at the start of the 21st century battered bandstands from derelict urban parks from all over the country are being sent away for restoration and re-erection in those same parks, themselves being restored to their former glory as part of the drive to recover the attractions of urban, as opposed to suburban, life in a new era.

Simon Baddeley

Park bandstands and seaside bandstands. I've always loved them. Is there a definitive list of all the bandstands in the uk? What an odyssy to visit them all and doccument them all! As a poet artist I would love to run some renga sessions (collaborative poetry sessions) on bandstands - ready made 'renga platforms'!
Paul Conneally

There is nothing that can beat listening to music in the wonderful surroundings on a nice park ...pure relaxation
Chris Worman

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry