Acocks Green Recreation Ground
This was one of several pieces of land donated to Yardley Rural District Council by the Yardley Charity Estates in October 1898. The deeds were transferred on 10th October 1900, and the grounds were opened formally on 26th June 1902 to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII. Although they were given on condition that they were for the use of children, in subsequent years adults made use of them, and also wartime issues made other uses necessary. In 1946 the Governors of the Charities Estates challenged the City about this, but no one could find the deeds to check what any 'legal' position might be.
Despite such protests to the City, which had absorbed Yardley in 1911, a wider range of uses now prevails, including for travelling funfairs, and of course, the Acocks Green Carnival. Roy Hattersley, in his 2009 book In search of England, said of Acocks Green's carnival:
"the crowd is...offered delights as diverse and diverting as a caged-bird show in the billiard room of the 'Sons of Rest' pavilion and a tug-of-war competition in which local public houses heave away for the coveted 'Hattersley Shield'. There, real ale is on sale for all the afternoon and most of the evening, the streets are closed to traffic, and children ride on donkeys so recently brought from the seaside that they still have sand between their toes."
The Recreation Ground, in common with many parks, had a Sons of Rest pavilion. This movement started in Handsworth around 1930, and gave retired men a place to go and socialise. There were also public toilets at the north end for many years.
As Council funding has declined, management of the recreation grounds has become progressively less effective, and what should be pleasant pieces of land can often be litter-strewn, abused, and sites for anti-social behaviour of various kinds. To combat this scenario, local people wish to form a Friends of Acocks Green Recreation Ground group. There is also a Facebook page.
The following extracts are from the Birmingham Weekly Post of 12 July 1902.