The Bowling Club has been in existence since before the park was opened, previously playing in part of the Lache Estate. Since moving to the park, the club thrived, with a certain amount of success on the greens. One of its most notable past members was Arthur Robinson, in whose memory two competitions are played every year, one organised by Chester Over 60’s League. Recently membership has dwindled to about 30 but we still achieve some individual success and our newly re-formed night league team has just won division C of the Chester & District League. We have two teams in the Over 60’s league who manage to hold their own without spectacular success! These play matches every Tuesday and Friday afternoons from mid-April to early September, playing 6 members per team against the other 19 teams in the league as well as each other. We are hopeful of shortly having a new pavilion which will be shared with the Croquet club.
The club is very friendly and would welcome any prospective new members at whatever level of competence. Most afternoons there are members playing who would gladly offer help and guidance to those who need it. It only costs £3 per year to join the club and current green fees are £25 (over 60’s £12) for the summer season and a reduced fee for the winter season, when there is normally one green open for play when in suitable condition. Those people wishing to be registered to play for the club need to hold National and County cards which cost a one-off fee of £8.
Anyone interested, please contact the Secretary, details below:
Martin Fraser, 27 St. Mark’s Road, Chester, CH4 8DE
Telephone: (01244) 683847, Mobile: 07966 334293
For many years prior to the 1920s the area now covered by the Lache estate and Westminster Park comprised fields and farmlands belonging to the Duke of Westminster. Land for an estate at Buddicom Park was acquired by Chester City Council in 1913 but development did not start until the early 1920s as a result of a national push for ‘Homes for Heroes’ after the First World War. In 1925 The Royal Agricultural Show returned to Chester on a site of some 160 acres in fields between Lache Lane, Hough Green and Cavendish Road. The larger Lache estate commenced in 1931 and the area where Westminster Park is today remained as fields while the Lache Park estate developed on its westerly boundary.
On the 1st May 1946 the Duke of Westminster leased these fields to Chester City Council for a term of 999 years at a peppercorn rent of 5 shillings (25 pence) per annum. The lease stipulated that the land should be used only as a public park, pleasure ground, playing field or recreation ground. Apart from sports pavilions, lodges and greenhouses, no other buildings were allowed. The lease also stated that no fair, political or other public, religious, sectarian trade association or auction were to be held, assemble or meet in the park.
In 1949 two bowling greens were opened and a municipal plant nursery was established including greenhouses, cold frames, a boiler house and an office block.
During the 1950s several sports groups requested that playing fields should be laid out in Westminster Park to serve the city south of the river. Grand plans for the park were proposed during the 1960-1970s period including a sports centre, athletic track and swimming pool though the terms of the lease did not allow such developments. One scheme that did come to fruition was a par 3 nine hole golf course which was opened by Earl Grosvenor on 15th May 1976. The lack of a refreshment facility was highlighted and the Council raised money to build the cafe, changing rooms and toilets. Two croquet lawns adjacent to the bowling greens were laid out in 1981.
After these initial developments, no real improvements to the park took place until the Friends of Westminster Park were formed in 2001 to represent the views and contributions of local residents and organisations. By this time the park had degenerated into a somewhat run down state, football matches were rarely played because the ground was often boggy and waterlogged, the nursery was closed and derelict, and the general appearance of the area was unappealing.
The Friends prepared a ‘wish list’ of works and improvements to make the park a more attractive place for community and family sports and leisure activities. Over the next three years continuous representations were made to Chester City Council to progress the first item on the list, the installation of a drainage system for the two main playingfield areas, which was essential if football was to be played regularly through the winter months. Inevitably, a major impediment was the Council’s lack of funds. In the event, money was raised from the Football Federation to complete the drainage system and over the next five years a total of around £450,000.00 was raised from a variety of sources, principally the National Lottery, to develop Westminster Park into the first class facility that it is today.
The privately owned Glan Aber Tennis Club relocated from Hough Green to the park in 2001 and tennis is also available on two public courts. The park is also home to the local junior football club with 200 players between the ages of 5 and 16 years of age and cricket returned to the park in 2009 with the formation of a new club, Westminster Park Cricket Club, following the installation of a properly graded cricket wicket.
In addition to these sports facilities, the park now has excellent play areas for both toddlers and juniors, recreation facilities for teenagers, a multi-use games area (MUGA) and a highly popular BMX track. The initial plantings of trees offer an impressive variety of mature species across the whole of the park and more recently a wildflower area and some 1500 additional trees and shrubs have been planted, mainly in the former nursery area, bird boxes installed around the park to attract more wildlife, and 1000s of bulbs planted within the park and at both entrances to create colourful spring displays.
The majority of the Friends’ initial plans have now been completed and the croquet and bowls clubs are currently looking forward to completion of a new pavilion to replace a temporary portacabin that was installed after a previous wooden pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1996. Further smaller improvements are being planned and the primary aim now is to sustain Westminster Park at as high a standard as possible and to retain the prestigious national Green Flag award which was achieved in July 2010.
Senior Football:- Teams from local football leagues use the two pitches located within the boundaries of the Park.
9 Hole golf course:- The Park has the only 9 hole par 3 golf course in Chester. Bookings can be made over the telephone or you can just turn up and hire clubs for a round from the cafe.
Dog walking:- The Park is a favourite rendezvous for dozens of local dog walkers on a daily basis. A ‘dogs on lead’ restriction applies to the mini football field and dogs are not allowed within the toddlers and juniors play area. The remainder of the park is available for dogs to run free. It is expected that dog owners will carry a bag with them to collect dog muck and deposit it in the bins provided.
Cafe, toilets and changing rooms:- A cafe is available for the purchase of snacks, drinks and ice cream, seating is provided, either, within the cafe or outside on the patio. Ladies and gents toilets are available as are changing rooms for football and cricket. The cafe will normally be open at 8am and close 30 minutes before park closing time, closing times are displayed on the notice boards at the car park and Lache Lane entrances.
Car Parking:- Parking is available for approximately cars on a hard surface marked in bays.
Young people’s facilities:- Toddlers play area, junior play area, teens play area, multi use games court (MUGA), first class BMX track, mini and junior football and public tennis courts (two)
Adult’s facilities:- Cricket, football, bowls, croquet, golf, tennis and dog walking.
The Club was formed in July 2009, after the new cricket square was laid, a letter was placed in the local press with the intention of gathering together a group of people, from the local area, who wanted to play cricket but didn’t think that they were good enough.
The club has just completed its first full season in the Chester and District Mid-week League Division 7 finishing sixth out of eight teams. During the season the club played at some delightful grounds such as Cholmondely Castle and Oakmere C C. The club also played friendly games against Northorp Irregulars and Kinnerton.
At present , a squad of sixteen players are signed on, unfortunately, not all are always available due to other commitments. We are always looking for interested players together with people to act as umpires and scorers.
Annual subs are £20.00 or £10.00 for unemployed and students. A team kit is available for new starters and next season we will have a new team shirt. At all home games we ask each player for £3.00 to cover the cost of pitch hire.
Net practice starts in January at Kings School
Westminster Park FC is based at Westminster Park, Hough Green in Chester and organises youth football teams from under 7’s to under 16’s.
Westminster Park FC is a member of the Chester and District Junior Football League. The club also offers regular training to under 6’s players and from Easter to early Summer runs a ‘Pay as you Play’ scheme for players in Reception, Year 1 and 2.
The philosophy of the club is to promote football as a positive and fun experience.
All WPFC coaches are CRB checked, hold a FA level 1 Coaching Certificate and have attended courses in First Aid and Child Protection.
Players of all abilities are welcome to join.
Summer’s coming, make the most of it!
Welcome for new members and learners
After another long and chilly winter, now’s the time to look forward to warmer days and longer evenings. Why not try your hand at croquet as an interesting and enjoyable outdoor leisure activity for the summer months? Perhaps you have played garden croquet with family or friends and would like to learn more about the game. Perhaps you have just retired and would like to try something new. Or perhaps you would like to take part in a sport which involves challenge and skill and which can be played on equal terms by men and women of all ages but which does not require the strength and stamina of more strenuous sports.
Once again Chester Croquet Club is welcoming new members and visitors of all standards from absolute beginners to more experienced players. The club meets in the pleasant surroundings of Westminster Park off Hough Green in Chester and coaching and games are provided to suit all abilities.
This year the club is offering two free taster sessions for golf croquet at 2.00 pm on Sunday afternoons on 8 and 15 May. These sessions are ideal for people who have not played croquet before and who would like to give it a try and learn more about the game. The club is also offering a more comprehensive introductory course for association croquet at 6.30 pm on Wednesday evenings for six weeks from 4 May to 8 June. This course is aimed at people who may have played some croquet before, perhaps golf croquet or garden croquet, and who would like to develop their skills and tactics for association croquet.
All equipment is provided by the club and the only requirement is that players must wear flat-soled shoes.
If you are interested in joining the taster sessions for golf croquet, please contact Mollie McBride on 01244 675108 or Pat Clare on 0151 3362606. For more information or to enroll on the introductory course for association croquet, please contact the Club Secretary, Janet Davies, on 01244 350370.
Come and join in and make the most of the summer
Chester Croquet Club was formed in 1977 and has been meeting in Westminster Park since 1981 where it now has four full lawns. The club has been going from strength to strength and membership has doubled in the last five years to a record level of 105. It is a friendly club and welcomes players of all standards from absolute beginners to more experienced players.
The club offers a wide variety of association and golf croquet games to suit all abilities throughout the normal playing season from April to September. If weather conditions are favourable, play can continue throughout the autumn through to Christmas.
The club arranges numerous internal league games and tournaments and takes part in inter-club league matches and tournaments organised by the North West Federation of Croquet Clubs. In addition to these games, the club also runs beginners’ courses every year and various coaching sessions throughout the playing season. The next beginners’ course will start towards the end of April 2011. Mark it in your diaries, tell your friends, and come along! For more information please contact the club secretary, Janet Davies, on 01244 350370.