What can be done to ensure a better future for Victoria Park. What’s been happening at the Fossil Grove and what’s planned now? And should The Friends of Victoria Park campaign against Council plans to grass over almost half of the formal flower beds at the end of this year?
These are three of the important topics to be discussed at this years AGM on Wednesday 16 May at 7pm in St Thomas Aquinas.
Over the past year, the Victoria Park Working Group has brought together community councils, councillors, the Friends of Victoria Park and wide range of other groups with an interest in the park to discuss how we can get organised and agree the best way forward to improve the park. Steps are now being taken to set up a SCIO - a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation that could raise funds from the Lottery and other charitable bodies to improve the park. Neil Lovelock of the Dumbarton Road Corridor Environmental Trust who has provided a lot advice and support to the group over the past year will explain what’s been happening and where we are now.
In recent months, the Friends of Victoria Park has succeeded in having the overgrown pond at the Fossil Grove cleaned out and relined in clay. This followed extensive work to clear tons of overgrown vegetation around the rock faces. Our next goal is to establish a beautiful fernery on the site - a more sustainable option than the annual planting which is no longer being carried out by Land Services. International fern experts are very excited about the proposals which reflect the fact that the tree fossils themselves were originally ferns. Funding applications are being submitted to buy the plants and equipment for volunteers to plant up the area. Former Chair of the Friends, Landscape Architect Richard East will give a short talk on what’s happening and the help we will need from you.
Finally, Glasgow City Council’s Land Services has told us they intend to grass over 27 of the seasonal flower beds totalling 374 square metres at the end of the season unless volunteers take them on. That is almost half the beds in the above photo. Removing the beds will destroy a very striking designated historic landscape and an important part of our heritage. Will you join forces with us to appeal to Glasgow City Council to continue the annual planting?
Finally, while the Friends Facebook group is followed by almost 550 people who love the park, a much smaller number are actually paid up members of the Friends. Membership has been maintained at just £5 a year per person. Please join us. All memberships bought now will be valid through to our 2019 AGM. You can join on the night or through the website here.
A project to clear and line the little pond at the Fossil Grove that got underway just before the snow storms at the start of the month is now almost complete. And the Friends of Victoria Park are delighted to report that the pond will continue to provide an ideal home for newts and frogs discovered during the clearing work.
Richard East, Chair of the Friends of Victoria Park explains: “The pond has now been drained and cleared and the most worthwhile plants were moved to improve the natural edge of the big pond. The newts discovered during the clearing work have been taken into care by the council but will be safely returned along with the frogs when the pond is refilled in a week or so.
“All the pipe work at the back of the fossil house has been jetted and is now running cleanly and the outfall to the pond from this pipework has been located and cleaned. This is also running well.
“The inner clay liner will be laid this week and thereafter the contractor will tidy up and complete some path repairs. A large stone has also been moved out of the gorge."
The project was funded by grants made to the Friends of Victoria Park through the Victoria Park Area Partnership Committee and the Garscadden/Scotstoun Area Partnership Committee and matched by the Council’s Land and Environmental Services.
“This is another stepping stone on our way to improving the land around the fossil grove that began with major clearance work to expose the overgrown rock faces last year” added Richard.
FoVP's next goal is to win funding for a beautiful fernery at the Grove, reflecting the fact that the fossils themselves were tree ferns. It also hopes to reinstate the little bridge at the pond that so many people fondly remember.
Whiteinch Library is hosting a great new series of local and family history talks.
Their first event is on Wednesday 24th January when Gillian Mawdsley, one of the Friends of Victoria Park will talk about the park's history.
The talk will be from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 24 January.
You can find out more about the talks series from Whiteinch Library.
At 11am on Saturday 16 December, please join us at the Victoria Park for some Christmas Tree decorating.
We introduced this event last year and the tree close to the beautiful Oswald Clock at the small pond was a very cheerful sight over the festive period.
We have sprayed some pine cones and have ribbons ready to hang them up but we would also welcome any spare decorations or even better, some home made ones. If we have too many - we might do up two trees to really put us all in a festive mood.
Children are very welcome accompanied by an adult.
Local crafts teacher Jo Logan has made some suggestions for weatherpoof home made decorations on our Facebook page.
We can round the whole thing off with a few Christmas carols and songs.
This is at least one Christmas outing where you can have some fun and a blether with local people and you don't need to bring your purse!
See you there!!
Everyone is welcome to join the Friends of Victoria Park in a short Armistice Day service on Sunday 12 November at 2pm at the park’s beautiful cenotaph near the pond.
The Friends reintroduced the service last year in an effort to recall the lives of local people who lost their lives in war. Chair of the Friends of Victoria Park Richard East explains: “The Cenotaph is a prominent feature in the park and and last year’s service was very poignant. We are interested in the history of the park and one of our members Gillian Mawdsley recalled the lives of two soldiers from the local area who died at war - Friederick O’Beine of Broomhill who died in November 1917 in the Battle of Bourlon Wood and Alan Walker Souter, a parishioner of Balshagray Victoria Church who died on 11 September 1944.
This year in memory of Dunkirk, we will tell the story of Private Andrew Weir from Partick" who was killed in France in 1940. He was a relative of one our members. but we know hundreds of park users will have lost relatives particularly in the first and second world wars - so many that the decision was taken not to name them all individually when the monument was built.”
The cenotaph was designed in the early twenties by Yorkshire sculptor Francis William Doyle and consists of a bronze female figure with outspread wings standing on a globe and holding out a wreath with both hands - a symbol of Peace Crowning the Heroes.
The inscription reads ‘Our beloved dead - to the Glory of God and in Grateful and everlasting rememberance of the men of Partick and Whiteinch who fell in the Great War 1914 - 1918 and 1939 - 1945’ and on the base it states ‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.’
In the 1920s, thousands of people attended the Rememberance Services in the Park as you can see from this video on Youtube youtu.be/0cuCZLb_EXg
People of all ages are welcome to join in this year’s short service to hear Private Andrew Weirs story and the sounding of the last post. The Friends will lay a wreath but anyone who wants to can mark the occasion with their own poppies or flowers.
For more information on the Friends of Victoria Park or about this event, contact email@example.com
The Friends of Victoria Park have welcomed moves by Glasgow City Council to begin clearing work that will enable the rock gardens and cliffs around the Fossil Grove to be rejuvenated.
The rock garden and pond area have been neglected for some years due to ongoing budget cuts and are in a deteriorating condition. However money has now been allocated for a contract to start the clearing work.
Chair of the Friends of Victoria Park Richard East explains: We have been in discussions with the Council’s Land Services for some time about how we can improve the gardens around the Fossil Grove. We are now seeking funds to restore the pond and establish a fernery. Ferns will be easier to maintain than formal gardens and reflect the fact that the stone ‘tree trunks’ were themselves were originally tree ferns.”
After an ecological survey is completed, the Friends aim to restore the original pond which will be lined in clay, reinstate the water feed and rebuild the rustic bridge shown in the old postcard above which was a much loved feature of the grove. Quotes have already been received for this work.
But before any progress can be made, a lot of vegetation needs to be cleared from the site. This includes weeds and bushes that are now masking the rock faces of the quarry and causing deterioration in the rock faces. This will open up the area and allow the different rock strata to be seen. Organic material removed from the site will be mulched and carefully spread on the blaes pitches area.
This phase of the work is being undertaken by specialist contractors and will start on 26 September. It is scheduled to last four weeks with some ongoing maintenance over the next two years. The Grove will look worse for a while until projects to revive the pond and estabish the fernery are well underway.
Richard explains: “We appreciate that some visitors to the site may be concerned to see so much clearing taking place but it is becoming totally overgrown. The Friends have worked with the Glasgow Geology Group to do some clearing on a voluntary basis, but this new contract which was well received recently by the Victoria Park Placemaking Group will enable a great deal more to be done and we are very pleased that this first step towards improving the gardens around the Fossil Grove is now underway.”
This weekend you can find out all about Victoria Park including its construction, the 19th Century benefactors who helped make it happen, the memorial to the SS Daphne and the beautiful War Memorial erected after WW1. For ninety minute heritage walks will leave from the Jubilee Gates on Victoria Park Drive North at 2pm on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September.
The walks are guided by Friends of Victoria Park as part of Doors Open Day and are free of charge and there is no need to book so please come along.
From 10am to 4pm each day you can also visit the lovely little Partick Curling Pavillion in the park, a beautiful arts and crafts building which houses a collection of old curling stones and has the old curling rink alongside. This area of the park is not usually open to the public but you can enter from Victoria Park Drive North along at the depot area next Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 September. Children can participate in curling without ice!
Meanwhile down at the Fossil Grove area, there will be geologists on hand to explain the fossils and the significance of grove and its rocks on Saturday 16th from 10am to 4pm. There will be activities for children at the Fossil Grove too. (The Fossil Grove is generally open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4pm until 22 October when it closes for the winter.)
And some advance notice for your diary! On Sunday 8 October the Scottish Geoheritage Festival will take place at the Fossil Grove from 12noon to 4pm.
Our next volunteer day at Victoria Park is on Saturday 9th September at 11am when we need you to come and help us do some late summer tidying.
There is usually a range of tasks, from litter picking to clearing vegetation and weeding.
Wear strong shoes or walking boots to protect your feet and dress for the weather. Gardening gloves can also be useful.
Children are very welcome as long as they come with an adult.
Meet our Chair Richard East between the big pond at the play park at 11am to collect tabards and equipment and agree what what we're going to tackle that day. We will work for a couple of hours but feel free to leave when you need to. It's amazing how much we can get done in a short time!
MUMS, dads, grandparents and everyone with an interest helping our children develop into emotionally and physically healthy adults should head to the Friends of Victoria Park AGM at 7pm on Thursday 15 June in St Thomas Aquinas School.
For this year’s theme focuses on children's wellbeing. Two key speakers on child health and development will provide an insight into their research and the important role parks like Victoria Park and other green spaces can play in helping us raise our children.
Sue Palmer, pictured above, is a former headteacher whose books on literacy and child development include Toxic Childhood, Detoxing Childhood, 21st Century Boys and 21st Century Girls. She is a passionate campaigner who believes less screen time and more time outdoors is critical for child development. “We are in danger of raising a generation of children who have not had the experience they need to make them resilient, socially competent people who are able to assess risks and take decisions. Real play, outdoors wherever possible and involving other children is essential when it comes to raising children.“
Bruce Whyte is the Public Health Programme Manager for the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Bruce’s current work includes the Glasgow Indicators Project which has been exploring health trends in the city's neighbourhoods. This has looked at how children’s health and social outcomes are affected by their access to green space. Parks are also important for encouraging physical activity in children and tackling obesity. Bruce is also a local resident who as one of the Park Runners on Saturdays, appreciates the benefits of having a great park on his doorstep.
Richard East, Chair of the Friends of Victoria Park explains: ‘We are looking forward to a really interesting evening. Everyone is welcome to hear the speakers at 7pm followed by questions and refreshments by 8pm. Those who wish to can then stay on for the AGM of the Friends when we’ll report on what’s been happening this year and our plans for the year ahead.”
This mummy coot who lives by the small duck pond in the park is keeping a protective eye on her three babies who are doing well.
According to the RSPB site, you can identify the coots as they are all black and larger than their cousins the moorhens and have a distinctive white beak and ‘shield’ above the beak which earns it the title of ‘bald’. The feet have distinctive lobed flats of skin on the toes which act instead of webs when swimming and coots can be quite aggressive towards others. (You can also remember there’s an R in moorhen and adult moorhens have red beaks!)
According to Susan Harris, one of the park’s keen bird enthusiasts who captured this lovely photo, the coots born on the main pond have a much lower chance of survival as they have often been picked off by the gulls. That being said, there were six babies on the main pond yesterday so fingers crossed for this year! Susan has appealed to people to take care when feeding the ducks and avoid throwing food directly at the babies as this makes them more of a target for predators.