Handsworth Park lies in the centre of Handsworth and is a welcome oasis for the many people who visit. The park reflects
the many different and varied cultures in staff and users of the park. It has a wonderfully maintained landscape, children's
play area and a modern leisure centre located within the grounds where toilet facilities and vending machines are available.
Victoria Park, or Handsworth Park as we know it today, occupies over 63 acres. It was largely created in two parts, the
first opened on June 20 1888, the second added in 1895. In fact, during its early years, the land was acquired piece by piece.
Over twenty acres, which once formed part of the Grove estate, were initially purchased in 1887 from the Birmingham and Midland
Bank Ltd for £7500. A further 9000 square yards were leased for 999 years from June 1890 from William Mayner; a slice was
added in March 1895, sold by Philip Williams and in March 1895 sixteen acres were purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
in November 1901 a second strip of land to Hinstock Road was purchased from the Williams', the majority of this being added
to the park and a small piece being retained for the construction of public baths. Despite this rather piecemeal approach
the landscape has a remarkable unity of design - a testament to the quality of the plans prepared for the first twenty acres
by R.H. Vertegans.
Although Handsworth had perhaps 1200 years of independent history before it became part of Birmingham in 1911, its development
was slow and patchy. Except in the Tame Valley, much of the area is covered by glacial drift deposits and the soil is porous
and acidic. This meant that the land was mainly heath with some light woodland unsuitable for agriculture.
When People Come Together
In 1994 a group of local people began to campaign against a plan to build on the site of an old swimming pool and the sale
and development of the Victoria Jubilee Allotments site next to the park, the original public recreation ground before the
park was established, most of which had never been built on.
The group renamed itself the 'Handsworth Park Association', when it became clear that the park was to be improved and cared
In 1999 Birmingham City Council published its Parks Strategy document, formally marking the end of a long period of neglect
of many local parks. At the begining of a long list of objectives the document says the strategy will ensure that "a network
of high quality parks and other green spaces are provided for Birmingham's citizens and visitors".