Victorians descend on Cannon Hill Park for 150th anniversary celebrations

Cannon Hill Park was transported back in time Credit: ITV Central

Penny Farthings, swings and traditional games were the order of the day at Cannon Hill Park as part of a special Victorian event to celebrate 150 years of the site.

It was staged to celebrate how philanthropist Louisa Ryland’s gift of 57 acres of meadowland created one of the city’s most popular parks.

A range of performances and activities took place across the day, linked to key events in the 1870s, including tightrope workshops - inspired by Charles Blondin's spectacular feat of crossing Edgbaston Reservoir.

Caroline Davis, event organiser, said: "Cannon Hill is a really fond place in the city's heart. It's a really popular park, not only with Midlands Art Centre, but for people to come and do park runs.

Victorians returned to celebrate Cannon Hill Park's 150th anniversary

"it's just a really important space that we've got to protect and make sure that it's here for another 150 years.

"I'm really pleased to be here today, it's great to see so many families enjoying the sunshine and enjoying the free activities."

The park was created over a century-and-a-half ago after Louisa Ryland donated much of her family home’s land to Birmingham Corporation, which resulted in the park being opened to the public on 1 September 1873.

On that day every visitor received a card stating that Cannon Hill Park was for the use of the people of Birmingham for ‘healthful recreation’ who will ‘aid the protection and preservation of what is now their own’.

Jugglers entertain the crowds

Commemorative cards were gifted to visitors at the event, which took place from 11am until 4.30pm.

There was also an opportunity for the public to get involved with the Friends of Cannon Hill Park community group initiated by Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.

Cllr Majid Mahmood, cabinet member for Environment, said: “Birmingham has more than 600 parks and green spaces, with Cannon Hill Park being one of the most popular with our city’s residents and visitors.

“This anniversary shows how integral this park is to the local community for their health and wellbeing and recreation – we must thank Louisa Ryland for having the foresight in donating land which has become so much more to Birmingham over the past 150 years.”

Storytellers also entertained the visitors

Cannon Hill Park was designed by Mr T J Gibson, who also created Battersea Park in London.

Many of the seeds and plants used in the creation of the ornamental gardens were supplied by Kew Gardens.

The city council’s gold-medal Chelsea Flower Show display – which celebrates Birmingham’s parks – will be officially reopened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Chaman Lal, to mark the park’s 150th anniversary.