History of Eastfield Park from 1923 to the present

In 1923 Weston Favell House, its grounds, and the entire Manfield holdings in the area (1500 acres) was put up for auction in 62 lots. Lot 62 included the grounds of the present Eastfield Park, Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Manfield Grange but, with some other lots, remained unsold. A second auction (of 541 acres in 30 lots) was held in 1924 but the house remained unsold. Manfield therefore donated it (with 15 acres of land) to become a hospital for crippled children. For many years the Grade 2 listed mansion served as Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital but it has now been converted into private residences known as Manfield Grange. The present park has an area of 52 acres (21 hectares).

During the break-up of the Manfield Estate, Major Arthur Ray (an Honorary Major in the Territorial Army and Mayor of Northampton in 1928) acquired part of the grounds of Weston Favell House including the lake, the ornamental gardens, and much of the present park. He built Eastfield House on the land in 1924 and died in 1944.

By 1950, the site was on the edge of Northampton’s rapidly expanding residential area and the land was acquired by Northampton Borough Council. Much of it had been allowed to go wild. There are reports that the boathouse was in a ruinous condition, the lily ponds were choked and the ornamental gardens overgrown.

The Eastfield Estate was built on the southern part of the land during the following years, thus giving the park more or less its current outline. In 1957, an article in the Chronicle & Echo suggested that the new Eastfield Estate had a ‘rural setting’ with a beautiful park nearby. However, local residents complained about the lack of safe facilities for children.

As time progressed, dangerous buildings were removed and some of the ponds filled in for safety reasons. Eventually, the land that had not been built on was opened to the public as the present Eastfield Park.

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