When you meander around Queen’s Park try if you can, to imagine what this site used to look like. Because this 12-acre, parkland sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Swindon town centre grew phoenix-like from a brownfield site. The ponds, the flower beds and the trees all belie the park’s industrial past as the site of Thomas Turner’s (1839- 1911) brick works.
Queen’s Park Swindon – Grade II listed park
Nowadays, the once derelict claypit is a Grade II listed park, developed between 1947 and 1962. In 1950, the Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) opened the park’s first phase – a Garden of Remembrance to the fallen of WWII. Later, in 1953, Sir Noel Arkell, in his capacity of Sheriff of Wiltshire, opened the second phase.
Queen’s Park continues as a place of remembrance via the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden opened by the then Mayor, Stan Pajak in 2003. Mesothelioma is otherwise known as the ‘Swindon Disease’, caused as it was by exposure to the asbestos in the GWR Works.
The long-time resident gorilla sculpture, by Tom Gleeson, took up his post in Queen’s Park in 1994, following a tenure in Theatre Square in the mid 1980s.
Close to Swindon town centre
A mere hop, skip and jump from the town centre, Queen’s Park has several entrances. There are entrances off Groundwell Road and at the bottom of Durham Street. But the park’s main entrances lie off York Road and Drove Road.
See also this blog on Born Again Swindonian about the park: queens-park-swindon/ and about the Turtle Storm sculpture in Queen’s Park: turtle-storm-sculpture-swindon/