• July 7, 2007
  • 12:00 am

Park100 – Saturday 7th July 2007

photograph by
David Wheatley, FoSJP photographer
Crowds flock to St.James’ Park
Wordsworth School performs
Beatles songs from the 1960s

St.James’ Park is 100 years old!

It’s 100 years since St.James’ Park was first purchased for use as a recreation ground. To mark this special anniversary, FoSJP, in partnership with Park it!, put on Park100, a fantastic day of fun events and entertainment for the people of Shirley and beyond, celebrating the Park’s history, heritage, and people.

After a week of floods, rain, and yet more rain at Wimbledon, Saturday finally brought out the sun, and the crowds with it, making it a day to remember, with a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere. From Park100‘s opening at midday to its closure at 9pm, an estimated 10,000 visitors passed through the gates to take part in this historic event.

Park100 was officially opened by the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, who started proceedings by presenting medals to the Shirley Swimming Pool club swimmers.

The stage, kindly provided by Pukaar, then hosted a continuous flow throughout the afternoon of themed musical performances from the last ten decades, including:

  • 1920s Bugsy Malone – Bellemoor School & Shirley Junior School
  • 1930s Cole Porter musical numbers – Southampton Operatic Society
  • 1960s Beatles songs – Wordsworth Infant School
  • 1990s Junk Percussion – Bellemoor School
  • 2000s Dance Group BDK – Bellemoor School

and also:

  • A 2000-style modern Keep Fit class – local gym LA Fitness
  • Shirley Junior School Choir 1995-2005
  • Bollywood Dancers

In the evening, local bands took to the stage, as the Park took on a festival atmosphere – as one visitor commented – “like Glastonbury but without the mud!”

Away from the stage, there was something for everyone. Local community groups, schools, and charities provided stalls and activities including old fashioned pull swings, face painting and crafts for children, inflatable fun, a moving climbing wall for adventurous types, tombolas, games, and period costume photographs with the Maskers Theatre Company. FoSJP itself raised over £3000 which will be put towards future Park activities, and a similar amount was raised for other charitable and local organisations.

Visitors were kept refreshed by an outdoor café and a beer tent, and elsewhere, were able to browse the FoSJP history stall to learn about the Park’s fascinating past, or to queue to sit in the cockpit of the magnificent replica Spitfire provided by Solent Sky Museum – a reminder of the Spitfire’s pride of place in Southampton’s history.

LA Fitness performs a Keep Fit routine
Reach for the Sky with Solent Sky Museum’s replica Spitfire
The Dairy Crest cow lends a hoof
Useful advice from the local ARP Warden
A happy painted face
A welcome break…
Climbing up the wall…
The FoSJP History Tent
The sun goes down on Park100

St.James’ Park was chosen from over 200 applicants to represent the South region in Park it! 2007, a national programme of events over Summer 2007 which aims to encourage people to discover the history of their parks and to celebrate their significance in the local community. Park it! was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the national Park it! programme which was organised by GreenSpace.

FoSJP would like to thank the sponsors of the Park100 St.James’ Park Centenary Celebrations:

We’d also like to thank these companies and organisations for their support:

Thank you to the more than 200 volunteers who helped to make this event happen – counting and delivering 20,000 publicity leaflets, setting up the marquee, cooking baked potatoes, preparing and serving refreshments, and researching the Park’s history, with special recognition to:

And finally, thank you to all of you who turned up to support us on the day!

This event couldn’t have happened without all your support!