An appeal has been issued for wartime memories of Wicksteed Park as part of a historical project to mark this year’s key World War Two anniversaries.
The park’s famous Edwardian Pavilion has hosted dances, parties and shows for generations of Northamptonshire families since it was opened in 1923.
But it was also used as a wartime base for American and other soldiers as well as providing accommodation for evacuees.
Now the park is appealing for people with any memories, momentoes or photographs from that time to get in touch.
The World War Two memories appeal is part of a wider archive project to preserve the history of the park for future generations, launched as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund-backed lake restoration scheme.
Photographs, letters and other items will be carefully recorded or copied and shared with the public through exhibitions and in other ways.
As well as the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the start of the war in September and the 100th anniversary of the First World War in August.
Wicksteed Park community link manager Charlotte Widgery said: “The Pavilion is an iconic building and continues to be a major part of what goes on at the park, particularly since it has been refurbished and restored to its former glory.
“Generations of people have fond memories of attending dances and events there but we sometimes forget it played a key role in the local war effort.
“We would love to hear from anyone who was either stationed there or knew someone who was – and from people with memories or connections to the evacuees who stayed there.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Charlotte by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01536 512475 ext. 235.
The park will have a wartime theme this weekend (June 14 and 15), when Wicksteed At War, the Midlands’ premier military history show for the whole family will be held.
This year will be the event’s fourth year and there are plans to entertain the thousands of families with a bigger and better family day out.
The show is dedicated to displaying military vehicles and providing realistic re-enactments re-enactor groups.
Among the attractions planned for this year are a fly over by a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster Bomber (Saturday) and Hurricane (Sunday), a Fire engine display, amphibious vehicles in the lake, a tank display team, tanks crushing caravans, World War Two battle re-enactments and vehicle displays.
There will also be a 1940s Blitz Ball in the park’s Pavilion on the Saturday as well as a beer festival.
For the first time this year, the event will also include a firepower demonstration, showing the crowd the difference in noise between a pistol and a tank gun and everything in between.
For further information, got to www.wicksteedatwar.co.uk
Founded by Charles Wicksteed, the inventor of modern day play equipment such as the slide and the swing, Wicksteed Park also combines the tranquility of an historic Grade II listed country park with a nature reserve run by the Wildlife Trust.