The Canch Park / Memorial Avenue Gardens
The Park is known by both names and is
situated to the east of Worksop town centre. It is bordered
by Memorial Avenue and Priorswell Road and is the main Park for
residents and visitors to Worksop.
The Park is easily accessible to visitors on
foot and car parking is available on both Memorial Avenue (next to
the Library) and on Priorswell Road.
Over the road from the Park is the
Worksop Priory which is
nationally acclaimed and was completed in 1103.
The Park is owned and managed by Bassetlaw
District Council. It is open from 9.00am to 8.00pm or
Highlights of 2011/2012 included:-
In June 2011 the official opening of the Skatepark with
skatepark competitions, demonstrations, live music, children's
entertainment and face painting.
In August 2011 the official opening of the playground - included
children's entertainment, bouncy castle and 5-a-side football.
In April the Bunny Hop in conjunction with the Aurora Wellbeing
Centre. A range of children's activities.
In June the Jubilee celebrations - 600 balloon release,
skatepark activities, children's activities and live
In July 'Love Parks Week'. Skatepark activities, KMX
Karting, climbing wall and rodeo bull.
In October - Half Term Fun - Skatepark activities, karting, body
zorbs, paintball targets, children's entertainment, live music and
Look out for more events in 2013.
Features and Facilities
The original gardens are situated around the
Carnegie Library, which was opened in 1938 by Colonel
Mitchell. This area offers a quiet area set amongst seasonal
bedding displays. A plaque commemorates those who died in the
First World War.
Priorswell entrance area.
This area was renovated and replanted in
2011. It now includes new paving, benches and a variety of
trees and shrubs which provides a quiet area with all year round
The sensory gardens replaced the disused lido
in the 1990’s and with its built up beds, pergolas, trellis and
plants chosen for their texture and smell provides a stimulating
experience for all visitors.
This is probably one of the best facilities
for children and young people in the County. A new ‘traditional’
play area was installed in 2011. This went alongside a moving
water play area, new skateboard park and Adidas Sports Zone.
All in all there is enough to keep children and young people
occupied all day.
The Canch, Skate Park
In the ideas stage at the moment are the
planting of an arboretum, a wildlife area and an education
A brief history
The name of The Canch was mentioned in the
Church Wardens Accounts for the Priory Church as far back as 1644
which shows that funding of 1 shilling (5p) for a new bridge at The
Canch but it is still unclear where the name originates.
One explanation is a mining term, referring to the 'upper canch'
and 'lower canch', these being the sections dug out above and below
the mineral/coal seam. It would appear that the long and
straight mill pond created n c1820 would have acquired this
The actual date or public facilities being
provided in the Park are unclear but it seems that in 1912 the
Mill, which was situated on land at the corner of Memorial Avenue
and Priorswell Road, was destroyed by fire.
and in the same year a lido was opened
As well as the lido there were toilets, an aquarium, play
equipment (which included an actual World War I tank and
special light shows along the River Ryton with bands playing.
The Memorial Avenue gardens were built in remembrance of the men
of Worksop who died in the First World War. Memorial Avenue
was opened by King George V and Queen Mary on 9th July 1928.
The Carnegie Library was opened 10 years later.
Worksop Borough Council approved the design
for the layout of the Memorial Avenue Gardens in August 1937 with
£113 being provided for their development. Of the budget
£12.17.5 (£12.87) was allocated for 287 bush roses, £28.2.11
(£28.15) for trees and shrubs from James Smith Nurseries
(Scotland), £33.0.0 for wrought iron gates and fencing and 16.6d
(0.88) for 6 ‘Please keep of the grass’ metal plates.
The Memorial Avenue gardens were designed without any prepared
plans by Mr Charles
Haslehurst who had considerable experience including working at
Shadwell Court in Norfolk and the Royal Gardens at Buscot
Park. He became Worksop Corporations first Parks
Following the completion of Memorial Avenue
Gardens plans were requested by the Council in December 1938 to
develop an area known as the Canch - with the commencement of
the Second World War the scheme was not completed until after the
We would like to know about the history of the
Park. If you have any information or pictures we would love
to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
contact the Parks Unit on 01909 534525.
Memories, recollections and photographs
ARNOLD TOPLEY (Born 1922):
I was one of six children born in Creswell and my father was a
miner. We moved to Manton in the early 1930's and I went to
Lincoln Street Infants School.
We didn't use the swimming pool because it was too expensive but
we played on the swings on the way home from school and during the
school holidays. I also remember paddling in the River
Ryton. There was also a World War I tank that had no doors in
it so you could climb in and play. It was removed for scrap
and we were told that it would be replaced but it never was.
On the River there were lights put on the islands in the shape
When it was cold we made 'winter warmers' which were made from
clay collected from the field opposite the park. They were
made so that you could put your hands in them. The clay would
then be heated up and it would keep you warm on cold days.
FRED FOSTER (Born 1932):
As a small child in 1937, Coronation year, I recall walking down
Memorial Avenue with my mother, with our backs to the Priory
Church. On Coronation day all the children got a free ice
cream cornet. I think they were from Manfredi's.
On the right there was an aquarium which was a wooden building
with rows of glass tanks filled with large fish and the sight and
sound of bubbles. I learned later that the aquarium was a
financial disaster and had to close, Further down was the
newly built library with its shiny green dome. Even as a
child I thought it was a beautiful building.
You could use the lido for 2d (approximately 1p) for 2 hours on
a Saturday morning. There were changing cabins around the
pool and then at the end of each row were communal rooms that we
called monkey cabins.
I remember the paddling pool being built sometime in the early
1940's. It's on the same site where the new water feature is
Across the road was a small park alongside Victoria Hospital
where there was a display of nursery rhyme characters in
lights. My favourite was Three Blind Mice, they ran in a
circle round the farmers wife and the moving lights gave the effect
of the carving knife gong up and down.
On The Canch there were two elongated islands with poplar trees
down the centre like ship masts. These were dressed overall
and the lights alongside gave the effect of ships in motion.
In the middle of one island was a paved circular area where bands
used to play. The swans, Billy and Nancy, seemed to raise a
family every year.
There was a Park Attendant in the 1940's called Joe Tupling who
was about 4' 6" tall and walked like Charlie Chaplin with his toes
pointing outwards. He would give us conkers when they fell
from the trees.
Iron railings went the full length of The Canch walk and
Nasturtiums were planted at the river's edge. The bridge
crossed into the cattle market, but that's another story!
ROSE LACEY (Born 1926):
I remember the open swimming pool which I would visit every week
with my school. There were wooden huts around the pool to get
changed in and I think it cost either 1/2d or 1d. Outside of
school time I would only visit the Park if I went with my parents
or older children.
Near to the swimming pool there were swings and a slide that we
called the 'banana slide' that we loved to play on. There was
also a tank from World War I which you could climb in.
Along the River Ryton there were two islands which used to have
fairy lights put on them and bands would also play. I
particularly remember the Salvation Army Band playing. Two
swans called Billy and Annie (others think one of the swans was
called Nancy) swam along the river and every year they hatched
There were two tramps called Ned and Flo who regularly visited
the Park and were well known by people visiting the Park.
PAULINE BARRATT (Born 1933):
My recollections are before the Second World War. I
remember lights hung along the River Ryton shaped like swans.
The lido was very popular and was always crowded. The
schools visited every week.
I can also remember the tennis courts and the nursery.
VERA WHITEHOUSE (Born 1924):
I went to the Abbey School which is next to the Priory Church
and over the road from The Canch.
The school would take children to the park and we would do
dancing and displays. I can remember doing the Sailors
Hornpipe (1934) and Sir Walter Raleigh in 1937.
In the Park I can remember a light display being put on the
island. I think it was in 1934 and celebrated Worksop
becoming a Borough.
There was gentlemen called Mr Ansell who looked after the
swimming pool and he had a son called Roy who helped him.
In 1937 I stood on Memorial Avenue along with other children to
welcome King George V who came to open the new Avenue.
He drove along the Avenue, waved but didn't stop.
Life Saving Club
Park in 1950's
Nursery in 1950's
If you cannot find the information you are looking for on this
web site, or you are an organisation who would like to hold an
event within the gardens or on the recreation land between
Priorswell Road and High Hoe Road, please contact our Parks and
Open Spaces Team on:-
Tel: 01909 534525 or email: email@example.com
Last Updated - 01/05/2013