Do you have stories to share about Rowntree Park?

Whether they’re tales from 80 years ago, or just memories from last year, the Friends of Rowntree Park want to hear from you.

They have launched a history project focused on uncovering the lesser known stories of the ‘people of the park’ – and say any memories and photographs to help build up a rich archive of the park’s social history will be welcome.

People have already been coming forward with memories – but the project takes a step forward this week with drop-in sessions at the York Explore Cafe in Rowntree Park, on Thursday April 25 from 1-3pm and Saturday April 27 from 10-12pm.

The project is part of York Trailblazers, a citywide initiative led by Make it York and York Civic Trust, and supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund.

Together with various community groups, the aim is to unveil the hidden histories of York in the coming months.

Stories already shared about Rowntree Park include accounts of what the park has meant to people during the course of their lives.

York Press: The Rowntree Park swimming bathsThe Rowntree Park swimming baths (Image: Friends of Rowntree Park)

Carol Williams remembered the park’s outdoor swimming baths.

She said: “I lived in Nunthorpe Avenue as a child and was a season ticket holder for the outdoor swimming baths.

“I would go as many evenings as I could after school. I can recall one winter the lake was frozen and we were skating. This was probably around 1966.”

Lynn Lea first visited the park when she was just three days old, in 1953.

“It was a short walk from Caroline Street to the park,” she said.

“I remember playing in the bandstand and my cousins would paddle me round the lake on a boat, they were named and numbered.

York Press: Boating at Rowntree ParkBoating at Rowntree Park (Image: Friends of Rowntree Park)

“My Nan and Mum would watch the tennis and bowls, Nan always took her knitting too.

“We'd sit on the long green benches and enjoy the sunshine and gardens.

“You had to be careful with the green fold up chairs by the bandstand, they were dangerous for fingers.

“My Mum is 92 now and has her happy memories too. Happy, innocent, carefree days”.

Local man Matt Lightfoot, meanwhile, said he found ‘his tribe’ whilst studying A Levels at York College. He was introduced to the Rowntree Park basketball courts.

It became a regular hangout for him, and he met a range of people from different backgrounds.

York Press: Enjoying a sit-down at Rowntree ParkEnjoying a sit-down at Rowntree Park (Image: Friends of Rowntree Park)

Abigail Gaines, the charity manager of the Friends of Rowntree Park, said: "Hearing the stories of what the park has meant to people over the years brings everything to life, and is valuable social history that will be shared with future generations."

Among other activities organised as part of the project, the Friends of Rowntree Park have hosted evening talks exploring various facets of the park's history.

A collaboration with Knavesmire Primary School, meanwhile, aims to engage children and their families in preserving the park's legacy and capturing their own memories.

Children who are budding artists, meanwhile, can enter the art competition and depict their vision of Rowntree Park's future in 50 years.

For further details on the history project and how to participate, visit the Friends of Rowntree Park website