Society calls for renaming of Banbury park to commemorate town's landscape artist

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A town society has called for the renaming of a Banbury park to commemorate a pioneer landscape architect who was born in the town.

Banbury Civic Society believes Banbury Country Park, lying between the town and the M40, should be bear Dame Sylvia Crowe’s name to mark her extraordinary contribution to modern urban views.

The re-naming call comes from Peter Monk on behalf of the Banbury Civic Society, which was prompted to contact the Banbury Guardian after seeing a recent picture of MP Victoria Prentis visiting the Banbury flood defences in February.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The picture in the Banbury Guardian has prompted me to use your columns to remind people that Banbury has a lovely new country park hard alongside the site of your photograph,” he said.

A map of the Banbury Country Park, which should be re-named the Dame Sylvia Crowe Park after an influential landscape architectA map of the Banbury Country Park, which should be re-named the Dame Sylvia Crowe Park after an influential landscape architect
A map of the Banbury Country Park, which should be re-named the Dame Sylvia Crowe Park after an influential landscape architect

“For those not aware of the park, it can be accessed either by taking the footpath at the end of Gateway (not a very appealing approach, especially for the mobility impaired), or otherwise from the canal towpath, north of Grimsbury reservoir. It is a lovely space.

“The present name of the park - Banbury Country Park - is not very imaginative and a number of residents are, with the Civic Society, championing a project for the park to be named in commemoration of Dame Sylvia Crowe, pioneer landscape architect, who was born and grew up in Oxford Road, Banbury and who is buried in Southam Road cemetery, not too far from the new park.

"The family's house, which was close to the junction of South Bar and Bloxham Road, no longer exists, hence it is not possible to commemorate her achievements by way of a Blue Plaque.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Dame Sylvia (1901 - 1997) was the subject of a lovely front page article in the Banbury Guardian. Readers will recall that Dame Sylvia had a huge influence over the way our country looks today, pioneering the modern approach to the landscaping of motorways, hospitals, electricity distribution installations, nuclear power stations and reservoirs.”

A picture of one of the bridges at Banbury Country ParkA picture of one of the bridges at Banbury Country Park
A picture of one of the bridges at Banbury Country Park

Mr Monk said Dame Sylvia served as President of the Institute of Landscape Architects (1957 -59 ) and was a leading expert in that profession in the context of 20th century infrastructure in the UK and abroad. She was honoured with a CBE in1967 and further elevated to a Dame in 1973.

“Many aspects of her work are reflected in the landscaping of the new country park and so commemorating her achievements by naming the park as Dame Sylvia Country Park would be more than fitting,” he said.

Readers' wishing to learn more about Dame Sylvia Crowe and her work, or to express views and/or support for the campaign should contact the Banbury Civic Society via its website contact page.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Banbury Country Park covers 26 acres - ‘a place for action and adventure – and for play and relaxation, where people of all ages can enjoy the magnificent facilities and natural landscapes’.

Victoria Prentis MP visiting the Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme alongside Environment Agency’s thames area director, Anna Burns, and her teamVictoria Prentis MP visiting the Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme alongside Environment Agency’s thames area director, Anna Burns, and her team
Victoria Prentis MP visiting the Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme alongside Environment Agency’s thames area director, Anna Burns, and her team

Oxford Canal runs along its western edge and the River Cherwell divides the park into the two sections.

It dates back to the 1880s when butcher and town mayor Thomas Hankinson donated the land so the ‘poor people of Banbury’ could have a recreation area. He was renowned for his hand-made meatballs, known as ‘spiceballs’ and his gift became the original Spiceball Park.

There is free parking at Waterworks Car Park, OX16 3JJ.

Related topics: