The historic importance of Worcester’s Gheluvelt Park, built in memory of local soldiers who lost their lives in securing victory at one of the early battles of the First World War, has been recognised with Listed status.
Historic England (formerly English Heritage) has given Grade II Listed status to buildings and structures in the park – including the bandstand and the park’s arch – and has also placed the park itself on the official Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
Worcester City Council and the Worcester Civic Society have worked together to secure these listings.
David Sutton, the council’s service manager for a Cleaner and Greener City, said: “Gheluvelt is a much loved park in Worcester, offering something for everyone. Mixing formal gardens with the Splashpad play area and a striking World War One feature, it’s a park that has already been awarded a Green Flag status. I am delighted its importance and appeal has now been recognised with Listed status.”
Phil Douce, Chairman of Worcester Civic Society, said: “We are very pleased to see that the importance and beauty of Gheluvelt Park and its environment has been recognised. We hope this will ensure this lovely part of Worcester will continue to be enjoyed by many generations to come.”
The 12 houses built within the park for disabled servicemen, now operated by Haig Housing, have been Listed. The foundation stone for the houses was laid by Field Marshal Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff during World War One, on 15 January 1919. The houses are the work of prominent local architect Arthur Hill Parker, who also designed the park’s arch, gates and railings, which have been granted the same Grade II status.
The park’s Bandstand, which has sat on an island in a large pond since it was built in 1924, has also been Listed. A new season of concerts at the bandstand is due to start on May 10.
Gheluvelt Park itself has been given a Grade II listing on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens because it is considered a rare example of a war memorial park which successfully combines leisure, sport and commemorative functions, as well as incorporating the houses for disabled servicemen.
Built between 1919 and 1924, the park was established as a commemoration of the Battle of Gheluvelt. Fought in Belgium on 31 October 1914, the battle saw the Worcestershire Regiment act with great courage to win a significant victory.
Worcestershire is commemorating the role the county had in the Great War though a four-year programme of events and activities under the banner Worcestershire World War One Hundred. For further information visit www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk.
The Listed status of the houses, the bandstand and the arch, gates and railings mean that no alterations can be made to them unless Listed Building Consent is granted.
The park’s inclusion on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens means that its status needs to be considered if development in the area is proposed.