Glossop Heritage Trust

The Manor Park Paddle-boats


Providing paddle boats for Manor Park might appear to be a simple matter on the face of it but it was not without controversy.

The Chronicle of 9 May 1947 reported that the chief topic of discussion at the latest Glossop Town Council meeting (which lasted ninety minutes) was the provision of paddle boats in Manor Park. This arose from the granting, by the Finance Committee, of a supplementary amount of £215 to the Baths, Parks and Cemeteries Committee for the purchase of ten boats for Manor Park.
Alderman Doyle was, apparently, surprised that money was available. He had said for years that the Borough Treasurer had "3d. or 4d. up his sleeve in respect of rates and this is now proved." It seemed that the Finance Committee could find money when it required but had recently said that there was no extra money for anything. He called for a very thorough examination and costing before the Corporation proceeded. A proper mooring stage would be needed and shrubs must be moved near the lake to make it safe for children. Councillor Toole objected to Alderman Doyle's remarks because Alderman Doyle was himself a member of the Finance Committee. Other councillors pointed out that schemes which had not received support would have needed more resource and would have cost more. Councillor Platt, chairman of the Parks Committee said it was not true to say that the boats would cost nothing, but it wouldn't cost much. No extra staff would have to be employed and little money would go to a landing stage and on storage of the boats. It was suggested that timber from demolished shelters could be used to make a mooring stage.
Alderman Sellers thought that it was essential to have the boats. The council wanted want more life in Glossop and they would bring people into the town.
The questions of safety and liability for accidents occurring on the lake were discussed. The Parks chairman assured councillors that the boats would be safe. Most of the lake was railed round so there was no danger from that direction. A lot of shrubbery had been cut down. Water in the lake would be only 18 inches deep and it seemed as though some members were losing sight of the fact that the paddle boats would help to keep children off the street which was much more dangerous.

The scheme obviously did go ahead, our photos are taken from a Chronicle report of 25 July 1947.
Manor Park paddle-boats
The children (young and old) revelled in the new delight.
Manor Park paddle-boats
The Mayor (Coun. J. W. Wilde) lends a helping hand as Coun. S. Platt (chairman, Baths, Parks and Cemetery Committee) steps out of a paddle-boat at the new pool. Looking on are members of Glossop Town Council, with Alderman R. Sellers wondering if he “dare risk it!” He did—and enjoyed it.

The report itself read:
Stay-at-home holiday makers found the gaiety of a seaside resort in Manor Park, Glossop. on Wakes Saturday for flags flew, a crowd assembled and kiddies jumped for joy.
The reason? After surviving the vicissitudes of the council chamber and several months' criticism Councillor S. Platt's scheme for the provision of children's paddle boats in the park materialised,
The paddle-boat pool — cleaned out and containing water only 18 inches deep was officially opened by the Mayor (Councillor J. W. Wilde) witnessed by delighted youngsters who started queueing long before the opening time. Children could not take their eves off the ten silver-painted paddle boats, still on the leaf - strewn waters.
Councillor Platt, chairman of the Baths. Parks and Cemetery Committee of Glossop Council, introducing the Mayor said: “We are gathered here to Introduce In Manor Park, a new venture which has been a topic of conversation for many years.” He was glad that they could now say the much-talked-of paddle boats were “ready for action” on water that was once a fishing-pond. Councillor Platt reminded his listeners that it was twenty years since the corporation acquired Manor Park grounds which were opened at the time by the Mayor as public recreation grounds. During the same year four hard tennis courts were laid, together with a memorial tablet. In 1931 two bowling greens were opened and the following year a pavilion was erected along with conveniences. Following this progress new gates were erected to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V and opened on Jubilee Day. May 6th 1935. In addition there was the children's section, including various amusements and the putting-green had recently become a popular feature. While the pool was not elaborate Councillor Platt was sure the paddle boats would provide pleasure for the children and amusement for the parents.
Saying that he considered the opening of the boating-pool “a very auspicious occasion,” the Mayor was certain it would be a great attraction for Glossop. Not only would it give pleasure to the youngsters but it would also draw many visitors from neighbouring districts. The beautiful natural surroundings added to the attraction of the pool and then he said he hoped the paddle boats would be taken care of. “They have cost money and the ratepayers who have had to foot the bill don’t want to see them damaged.” he said.
Amid a round of applause the Mayor declared the pool open.
Proposing a vote of thanks, Councillor J. H. Cuthbert congratulated Councillor Platt on attaining his objective in getting the paddle-boat scheme going and described him as “a virile chairman.” He hoped the Mayor would be the first “to take the water.” Councillor H. Hadfield, seconding, said Councillor Platt had “stuck to his guns” despite criticism of the scheme and hoped that in the future he would devote as much energy to providing a swimming pool in the park. It might not be quite opportune for this now, but the idea ought to be borne in mind.
The Mayor then clambered into a paddle-boat and was quickly followed by other excited children who were allowed five minutes free sail each. After a few minutes energetic paddling, the Mayor returned to the landing stage and soon all ten paddle-boats were full of youngsters. Twelve-year-old Ronald Beckwith, 101, High-street East. Glossop. was the first to use a paddle-boat after the Mayor, and with two other passengers in boat no. 2 had no trouble in manipulating the paddles. Said Ronald afterwards: “I enjoyed it a lot and I'm going to go on again as soon as I get the chance even though my arms do ache a bit.”
An obviously expert paddler was Alderman R. Sellers who was soon taking two delighted youngsters round the pool in fine style. Several other Councillors were present and agreed that the paddle-boat scheme had got off to a good start. Councillor Platt after his turn in a boat said he was well-satisfied with them.
The pool is open every day and the charge will be 6d. per person. Attendants in the park look like being busy for the next few weeks to judge by the glistening eyes of children on Saturday.

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Page last updated: 25 September 2017.
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