Today we give a shout out to William Edmund Davies. He didn't run today, indeed, he has the excuse of having died in 1879 as reason to never having run a parkrun (his loss).
He did, however, leave a sum of money in his will to the Brighton Corporation to buy (and landscape) some of the estate belonging to Preston Manor that was to become Preston Park.
Looking at old photos of the park, it looks like not a huge amount has changed, our beloved cafe looks pretty much as it does today (above), so does the Rotunda cafe (or 'the other cafe' in parkrun parlance).
Probably the biggest difference was the fence running round the park and the rather grand entrances:
As a city park, it can't be said to be doing too badly. The home, start (Brighton Marathon) and end (pride) of many major events. Clock tower, rose garden, tennis courts, walled garden, bowling greens, Britney, Kylie (soon!), and the oldest working velodrome in the world.
I like to think that old William, towards the end of his years, dreamt of hundreds of Brightonians, Hovians, and Visitorians, meeting together at 9 am each Saturday, in clothing of colours that he would probably described as most unbecoming, to jog, walk and run. Without forgetting their barcode. Or ducking the funnel.
Which brings me to the actual run report...
Lovely day today. Great turnout, and everything ran smoothly - thanks to our volunteers and co-operation of all our runners.
Numbers fans (and who isn't): Preston park parkrun number 315 had 530 runners, 33 volunteers, 40 first timers (welcome!) and 67 PB's!
There were 33 volunteers today doing all sorts of things. Have you done it recently? We do sometimes struggle to get the number needed to make it all go smoothly, do consider dropping us an email, or replying to a facebook message.
We hope you all enjoyed the event and would love to see you again soon!
Liked the history and photos above?
I'd liked to say this was extensively researched from a variety of primary sources, but actually was knocked up in a few minutes grabbing a few facts from google and wikipedia.
However there are some great sites online if you are interested in the history and photos of Preston park and Brighton.
- Brighton and Hove Museums and Archives have a large collection of historic photos online. (The Keep website might also be of interest)
- My Brighton and Hove is a community run website first launched in 2000 with historic content, and contributions from those who have lived in the city. (see their page on the park, and page was some more history)
- Somewhat of a hidden gem, the University of Sussex host an online collection of 1940's aerial photos of Sussex
- The James Gray Collection website also has a large number of Brighton photos. A good starting point is the 200 odd photos in Volume 18 which covers Preston, such as the cafe and entrance.
See you all soon,