Weston Park is set to be nominated as a Centenary Field, as part of a national initiative to commemorate the centenary of World War One.
Forming part of a scheme being led by the Fields in Trust and the Royal British Legion, the Centenary Fields programme aims to designate and protect at least one green space in every local authority area across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
First opened in 1875, Weston Park was one of the first municipal parks in Sheffield. It has recently benefited from an extensive restoration project and has been granted national Green Flag Award status.
Members of Sheffield City Council’s cabinet are set to nominate Weston Park as the city’s Centenary Field site, not only due to its landscape and its status as a visitor destination, but also due to the siting of the York and Lancaster Regiment memorial within the park, which commemorates the loss of more than 8,800 soldiers during World War One.
Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “We have proposed designating Weston Park as part of this scheme as a city commemoration of all the men and women of our city who gave their lives during the First World War, and all the others whose lives were changed for ever by the conflict.
“In this period of reflection it is fitting to link this beautiful city park to our commemoration of events 100 years ago.”
The Centenary Fields project was launched by the Duke of Cambridge, who is president of Fields in Trust, in July this year.
At that launch event he said: “I encourage local authorities to support this cause and to safeguard these living spaces of remembrance for generations to come.”
Each Centenary Field across the UK will be provided with signage to indicate its designated status, while such designation will also ensure that the park will remain available for current and future generations to use and enjoy.
Weston Park was acquired by the city of Sheffield in the 19th century and Robert Marnock, one of the leading park and garden designers of his day, was commissioned to design the grounds.
He also designed Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens, High Hazels Park and Regents Park in London.
Since its opening in 1875, Weston Park has substantially evolved and developed. It contains many Grade Two-listed features and monuments, including two war memorials.
These are the York and Lancaster Regiment memorial, unveiled in 1923, and the Transvaal War Memorial, which commemorates the Boer War and was moved to Weston Park in 1957 from its original site on the forecourt of the Sheffield Cathedral.
Weston Park is being selected as the preferred city flagship site for Centenary Field designation due to its significant local heritage, its World War One links, its visitor appeal, its quality and its profile as an outstanding historic park of national significance and value.
If the nomination is accepted, Weston Park would be formally dedicated as a Centenary Field during a ceremony at some point next year.
Cabinet members are being recommended to approve Weston Park’s nomination at a meeting next Wednesday, 12 November, at Sheffield Town Hall.