Jubilee Recreation Ground, Meltham
As part of the wider celebrations for Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887, Edward Brook (1825-1904) donated land between Meltham and Helme to be used as a recreation ground.
The Meltham Local Board had resolved to open a small recreational ground as part of the national Jubilee celebrations and began collection subscriptions towards the cost of purchasing land. By the time around £80 had been collected, committee members approached Brook to see if he would be willing to also donate — reportedly Brook told them that, "if they wanted a really wanted a recreation ground, he would give them one."
Once suitable land had been identified below Helme Lane, Brook purchased approximately 13 acres, of which around 2 acres was to be let for rent to help generate an income to maintain the grounds. As part of the transfer, Brook requested the following stipulations for the recreation ground:
- it was to be used for a playground and for no other purpose
- other than shelters, no buildings were to be erected
- the ground was to be used for games and sports, and not to be laid out as an ornamental park or as pleasure grounds
- it was not to be used by organised clubs, "which could well afford to pay for their own ground", but was to be "free for the children of Meltham to run wild over as they liked"
- the grounds could not be used for any meetings, including political or religious gatherings
- no games should be allowed on Sundays
- the grounds should always be open for "anyone to walk about in an orderly and quiet manner"
The opening ceremony took place on Saturday 8 September 1888 as part of the annual Meltham Feast. As with the subsequent opening of the Town Hall a decade later, Edward Brook deputised his son, Charles, to attend in his place.