Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Victoria Park

Several days ago I paid a visit to Victoria Park in east Belfast.

There's a footbridge at the Sydenham railway halt, which is particularly useful for pedestrian access to Belfast City Airport and the Park.

I occasionally manhandle my bike over the footbridge if I'm going to the airport for a flight.

Though its official address is given as Park Avenue, Victoria Park stands directly beside the Sydenham by-pass and Belfast City Airport.

East Belfast Yacht Club, renowned for its concrete boats, is at the north-east of the Park.

According to my 1974 street directory, the Park comprises sixty-three acres, and was formed from land reclaimed from the eastern shores of Belfast Lough.

In 1974 it contained a salt-water boating lake some twenty acres in extent.

Click to Enlarge

A bowling green and football pitches - seven within the inner island -  remain, though there was also a putting green.

There were formerly cricket pitches, tennis courts, and an open-air swimming-pool at the north-western end.

An open-air theatre was added in 1969, though has recently been demolished.

Victoria Park also has a cycling and BMX track, and two walking trails that surround the lake.

The Sam Thompson Bridge, which links the Park to Belfast Harbour Estate (at Shorts' head office) was officially opened in 2014, and a splendid feature it is.

I use it quite regularly to cycle into the city centre.

2020 Map of Victoria Park

Belfast City Council explains that the idea of creating a public park near the river Connswater was first suggested by the Harbour Commissioners in 1854.

Progress was slow because the land was very marshy, inaccessible to the public and generally unsuitable for a public park.

After many meetings, surveyors' reports and drainage schemes, the idea was approved and Victoria Park opened in 1906.

It was landscaped by Charles McKimm, who also built the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens.


Irishlad said...

Tim,we seem to share a few similarities: we are roughly the same age AND you have a 1974 BSD and I have a 1976 one! I refer to it quite a lot, the information contained in them is amazing.
As recently as 1976 there was a judge living on the Glen road in West Belfast beside the Bass factory Judge McConnell I think his name was.

Timothy Belmont said...

Thank goodness I have mine.