Priory Park has a long and important history but its origins as a public park start in 1918 when the site was granted to the citizens of Chichester. Before this date, the park had served as the site of a Norman castle, a Franciscan Monastery, a fashionable promenade and as a private sports ground.
9/10/17 – The First World War and Priory Park – Nicola Buckley BA (Hons). University of Chichester, MA Cultural History Student
Priory Park was essential during the First World War in maintaining a strong connection between civilians and the military. In 1915, a sporting event was held in the park which lifted morale within the city…The First World War and Priory Park – Nicola Buckley.
22/7/17 – Priory Park – the site of Chichester’s love affair with sport – Robert Pitchford, University of Chichester, BA (Hons) History Student
Priory Park has been the location of significant sporting events, both local and national, over the course of the last two centuries…Read more about sport in Priory Park.
6/7/17 – Cricket in Priory Park – Alison Jane Needham, University of Chichester, BA (Hons) Medieval and Early Modern History Student
The history of cricket in Priory Park has developed from the nineteenth century and emphasises the commercial and civic side to the game in the city…Read more about cricket in Priory Park.
24/6/17 – Raising money for the war effort in 1944
In 1944, Chichester participated in the ‘Salute the Soldier’ week. This was a national campaign to raise money for the war effort. Priory Park was the centre of activities with a fun fair held for local residents. Such activities would have both increased funds for the National Government but also helped morale amongst a public that had seen 5 long years of war.
19/6/17 – Opening of the Park in 1851 – Alison Jane Needham, University of Chichester, BA (Hons) Medieval and Early Modern History Student
The opening of Priory Park in 1851 as a subscription park was greeted with tremendous fanfare in the city…Read More Priory Park Official Opening in 1851
16/6/17 – A pastoral scene in the Georgian City. Dr Ross J. Wilson
We tend to think of Priory Park as a historical site that has remained largely the same for centuries but it is a space that has been reused and reinvented repeatedly over the centuries. Looking through old photographs, engravings or maps of the site, we can see just how many changes there have been to a place that gives the appearance of permanence.
9/6/17 – Baseball in Priory Park? Dr Ross J. Wilson
During the Second World War, baseball games played by American and Canadian troops served as a way in which the British public could be entertained and taken away from wartime privations. These games also provided a means to strengthen the connections between local people and the troops stationed in their region. Priory Park served as a location for these sporting and diplomatic events. This advert is from the Chichester Observer, 19 September 1942.
2/6/17 – Priory Park, the scene of a world record attempt? Dr Ross J. Wilson
In the summer of 1939, whilst fears were expressed about a possible war in Europe, Priory Park was the scene for a potential world record attempt by the legendary middle-distance runner, Sydney Wooderson (1914-2006). Whilst no records were broken, the level of attendance reveals how important the Park was as a sporting venue. Read more…Priory Park – the scene of a world record attempt
26/5/17 – Priory Park as a First World War Memorial, Dr Ross J. Wilson
The first memorial to the First World War in Chichester was donated to citizens whilst the war was still being fought: Priory Park. Whilst Cicestrians in France and Flanders were fighting to hold the line, Priory Park was given to the city by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. Priory Park is the city’s original and the largest war memorial but it could also have been the site of another memorial to the war. Rather than a monument of stone, many within the city after the war wanted a memorial that could be used not just looked upon. The Guildhall within the Park was selected as a site that could be a museum, a meeting place or a reading room. Read more…Priory Park – War Memorial – Dr Ross J. Wilson