Zetland Park (Part 1)
“in the mid-1920s the park became an ideal recreation centre”
Zetland Park was for many decades simply known as the Public Park. It now covers 18.5ha (45.8 acres) of land on the east side of the Grange Burn to the east of Grangemouth town centre. The ground here is quite flat and the raised flood bank of the burn is a prominent feature. The southern half of the park is open with large areas of sports fields served by a pavilion. This contrasts with the formality of the northernmost tip which contains the massive cenotaph and its associated gate piers, paved piazza and monumental fountain. Between the two are clearly defined activity areas with tennis courts, a bowling green, pavilion, paddling pool (remnant) and children’s play area. Tree-lined paths follow the perimeter of the park and provide axial routes through it.
3.4ha (8.5 acres) of land was offered to the burgh in 1880 by the Earl of Zetland for use as a public park. Although well to the east of the town at the time, it was realised that the urban area was rapidly expanding and would soon engulf the area.
Illus: Medallion struck to commemorate the official opening of the park and new dock at Grangemouth.
The burgh then spent £350, raised by public subscription, on laying it out. Seats and a flagpole surmounted by a model ship were donated by local firms and on 3rd June 1882 the Public Park was officially opened in typically Grangemouth style - on the same day as the Carron Dock. Medallions were produced to commemorate the event. The main entrance to the park was at its northern tip, which lay nearest to the town. A footbridge crossed the Grange Burn from Kerse Road to Dalratho Road. Here an ornamental cast iron drinking fountain was placed, having been donated by the chief magistrate, Hugh Macpherson, the owner of a local woodyard (see Grangemouth War Memorial). Despite its avowed purpose of being functional as well as decorative, the fountain was soon railed off from the public.
Along the west side of the park the Grange Burn had already been straightened and large flood banks erected. These banks were used as footpaths via Bowhouse Planks to Beancross and provided the only other entrance to the park at this time. Until the 1970s this was the core path taking Portonians into the countryside. A new formal path was placed alongside the bank within the park and trees planted between them. It was continued around the perimeter of the park with another avenue of trees on the east side. The fields to the east and south were part of Abbotsgrange Farm. The former used for arable and grazing cows, and the latter, with its earthworks, for sheep.
Read on: Zetland Park (Part 2)