Horden Welfare Park
Landscape Horden County Durham

Horden Welfare Park

Landscape In Horden, County Durham

A jewel of a Welfare Park in Horden.

Horden was a huge mining concern starting in the 1900s and at one time there were over 4,000 people employed at the colliery.

Horden Park was given lottery funding and had a refurbishment in 2004.

None other than Fabulous North's Mr. Andrew Gardener had some involvement as he explains,

"We basically produced a submission document on behalf of the Council to the Heritage Lottery Fund setting out the history of the park, why it should be restored and what we would do as part of that restoration, all costed out etc. This helped to secure £1.37 million pounds of funding from the HLF. We then took the designs through the construction phase and managed the restoration of the Park" .

Here is some further information from Andrew

". it was built in 1929 as a Miner's Welfare Park, using money from the Miner's Welfare Fund. It was unusual in that most Miner's Welfare Parks were just set up to be sporting facilities, pitches etc but Horden was set up to be more of a showpiece with ornamental features. As part of the restoration we repaired footpaths, introduced new planting, restored the bandstand and park gates.

There is a life-size corten steel sculpture near the Bandstand. The unmistakable work of Ray Lonsdale. Although not a commissioned piece it was purchased and installed in 2015.

Affectionately called Marra, but originally given the name from a 1965 Bob Dylan song

'I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More'

There were politics aplenty,

there were rights and wrongs,

Speeches, marches, and defiant songs,

Where the heart of the pit village stood.

The mine is long gone but the spirit stays,

We just lace up our boots for different work days,

And the coal dust remains in our blood.

The miner has a ripped hole where his heart is, depicting the heart has been taken out. It certainly resonates with the community.

Further down there is an art installation by the artist William Pym with the aid of the community. It is called Dahlia and is in memory of the miners who kept allotments and enjoyed being in the sunshine after being down the mine.

The artist has other works in the north east, which some people have been unkind to refer to his beehive as kebab. Dahlia though is recognisable, and has mining terms inscribed below the leaves.

You could say another Bob Dylan connection is at the football ground with Turn Turn Turn as it has one of the last remaining turnstiles patented by William Elison.

The park has kept the sporting theme going with a few football pitches and floodlights. There are basketball courts and a bowling green too.

The platform benches in the park are aesthetically pleasing with the detail of serpents/snakes incorporated in their legs.

I am reliably informed by Mo of the Horden Heritage Center that it is because the Heritage Center used to be a garage for the ambulance used by the Colliery Medical Center. A Serpent is depicted in the ambulance emblem (and in many medical corps/organisations worldwide).

This is a reference to the Greek/Roman God of medicine Asclepius who holds a staff with a non-venomous snake wrapped around it. The snake represents wisdom, healing, and regeneration from the shedding of its skin.

Be sure to have a cuppa and snack or lunch in the fine vintage tea rooms.

Please visit the Heritage Center upstairs. Only 50p and there is much to catch the eye.

My favourite items were the signal bells and yes of course I had a go. They tintinnabulated nicely.

If you would like to read more about the mining in the area, have a butchers at Warren House Gill.

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How To Find Horden Welfare Park

Where Is Horden Welfare Park?

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54.767047, -1.319561

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Where To Park For Horden Welfare Park?

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54.767047, 54.767047

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On street park outside the Welfare Park on Park Road.

Contributed by Rosalind Parker

Thanks for reading through and getting to the end of this post. I enjoy exploring the Fabulous North (Especially as a Southerner residing up North). I like 'snippets' of information, and more so, if they are obscure, amusing or meaningful. The photographs are taken on a mobile phone, without any enhancements.

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Rosalind Parker

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Horden Welfare Park was listed in Landscape // County Durham // Horden