More than 100 years ago, on 28th June 1902, Towneley Park was opened to the public by Margaret Thornber – the 18-year-old daughter of the Mayor, Thomas Thornber.
The Mayor was due to open the park but was unable to be present.
Councillor Thomas Smith, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Grounds Committee, gave a speech. He lived at a house called Fir Grove on Todmorden Road.
Queen’s Park was Burnley’s first park. It opened in 1893. Scott Park was opened in 1895. Towneley Park was the third park to be opened in Burnley.
On the same day that Margaret Thornber opened Towneley Park her sister Ada Thornber laid a foundation stone at Jubilee Methodist Chapel in Padiham Road.
The following year, Towneley Hall was opened to the public as a museum and art gallery by Lord Rosebery.
The verandah is where a courtyard used to be, and in front of the courtyard was a large building. This was used as the stables until 1902.
Incorporated into this building was an archway which gave access to and from the courtyard. The building was demolished in 1951. The cafe is the former cart and coach house.
Part of the building has been used as an ice cream shop ever since 1903. The rest of the building was not used from 1902 until 1935.
For a few years after 1935 this part was used as football changing rooms. In 1951 it was converted to a cafe, which 10 years later featured in the film “Whistle Down The Wind” with actress Hayley Mills.
The war memorial in the park was unveiled in 1926. It was created by Walter Gilbert. Until about 1965 there was a pond in front of the war memorial. The war memorial was unveiled by Lord Derby.
The nearby bowling green opened in 1903 on a site called Chapel Lea. The two other bowling greens in the park and the tennis courts opened in 1924.
The pitch and putt golf course opened in July 1967. It is situated in what was called High Royd Field. The Massey Music Pavilion was on the edge of High Royd Field. Band concerts and other musical performances took place in the music pavilion. It was opened in 1929.
Before this bands performed on a make-shift bandstand on a piece of land at the back of Towneley Hall.
The Massey Music Pavilion was partly demolished after a fire in 1963. The nearby terraces and some remains of the building existed until the late 1990s.
High Royd field was a popular picnic area before it became a pitch and putt golf course. Also rallies and demonstrations occurred here.
The pathway near the main golf course features a few disused gas lamps. These lamps were actually functioning from 1920 until about 1968.
One of the roles of the gamekeepers in the 19th Century was to escort female servants of Towneley along this footpath as there was a fear that the servants might be attacked. Only certain people were allowed on the paths in the woods before 1902.
Until 1929 there were several buildings by the side of Towneley Hall. One of them used to be the dairy. There was also a two-storey house that was built in about 1875. The last occupant of this house was the head gardener George Minshall. The house was unoccupied from about 1925. The house, the dairy and one or two other buildings were demolished in 1929. They stood on part of the site of the new extension of Towneley Hall.
In 1902 the Folds Cross was situated at the bottom of a footpath and was only a few yards away from the hall. In 1911 the Folds Cross was moved to the top of the footpath and that is where it is now.
In 1960 the fountain in the lake was installed.
Towneley Park was considerably enlarged in August, 1931 when Thanet Lee Wood, situated near the war memorial, was opened to the public by the Mayor Henry Nuttall.