History of Whitwick

Whitwick Park - A King George V Field

Whitwick Park on North Street began as a sports field and playground. At least two very successful football teams and one cricket team played on the field, often attracting large crowds. In the early 1930s, discussions began between the Whitwick Colliery Welfare Fund, Coalville Urban District Council and James Shipstone & Sons, the brewery that owned both the Duke of Newcastle Hotel on North Street and the land behind it, with the aim of providing a park for the village.

By 1936, everything was settled for the creation of two tennis courts; a bowling green; park area with seats, children’s swings and slides; access and an entrance. Flower beds and trees were planted later.

In 1953, Whitwick Park was officially named as a “King George V Field”. A King George Field is a public open space “used for the purpose of outdoor games, sports and pastimes” dedicated to the memory of King George V. In 1936, after the King’s death, the King George’s Fields Foundation (KGFF) was set up to promote and assist the establishment of playing fields for the use and enjoyment of the people, a marvellous living memorial. Since 1965, all the King George Playing Fields have been legally protected by “Fields in Trust” and managed locally, in Whitwick’s case by Whitwick Parish Council.

Throughout the UK, 471 King George V Fields were established. The stone panels on the pillars either side of the Park entrance identify the park as one of this special group. All the parks nationwide which were supported by the KGFF have the same panels designed by George Kruger Gray: on the left, a lion holding a royal shield and, on the right, a unicorn holds a similar shield.

Whitwick Park

Whitwick Park on a spring afternoon