Park History

History of Wickford Memorial Park

In 1946 the idea of a Memorial Park was suggested, which would be a War memorial for the losses of Wickford lives during World War II. In January 1947 the organisers of the War Memorial Fund Committee purchased land, via public fund-raising, from the council at the Runwell Road end.

In 1949 the Park officially became known as the Wickford War Memorial Park and the Avenue of Remembrance was planted. Each tree as a plaque for a fallen solider. The Memorial Gates were added in 1951; a flag pole and formal flower beds a few years later. A further 36 acres were donated and added to the park to provide an area for camping, playing fields and for special needs children.

In the 1970s a bowling green was added; in 1975 a brick built pavilion; 1978 the crazy golf added. In November 1976, a former Nurses Home was demolished where the War Memorial tablets had been mounted. The tablets were transferred to just inside the main gates. By 2004 the plaques were deteriorating and the Wickford War Memorial Association was formed and were successful in campaigning for a new memorial. This was unveiled on November 4, 2011. In early 2012 a ‘Heroes Arboretum’ of trees was added, recording all the Theatres of Operations where Wickford men were killed

Wickford now has a war memorial it can be proud of, but still the work goes on to improve other parts of the park that relate to its heritage as a war memorial park, which can be followed on the websites www.wickfordmemorial.com and www.wickfordhistory.org.uk.

Wickford’s ‘Home Front Garden’ and restored ‘Avenue of Remembrance’

On the 29th May 2014, the newly-restored Avenue of Remembrance and the new Home Front Garden were officially opened by Lord Petre, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex. This work was sponsored by Essex Environment Trust and Veolia, Pitsea Marshes Trust.

The Wickford Memorial Association replaced dead and diseased trees and designed and planted ‘The Home Front Garden’, adding a further eleven trees, representing Wickford civilians killed during the Second World War, the youngest was only 10 years old.

Each of these trees has a name plate, with, where possible, a photo or the regimental badge and the name of the remembered.
The Home Front Garden has seating and flower beds, and is somewhere to relax and reflect.”

Sadly, since 2014, the Home Front Garden became overgrown and neglected. In October 2019 this was noticed by a group of concerned residents who wanted to help restore it to its former glory.

In February 2020 a new ‘Friends of the Wickford Memorial Park’ group was constituted and work began on the Home Front Garden, this was stalled during the pandemic lockdown but was replanted in October 2020. Work is still continuing.