Sidney Park gave Park Gardens to the town in 1927 – details of this can be found elsewhere on site/ This was given in memory of his son Herbert Sidney Park
Park died on October 9 1928. obituary with photograph appeared in Stroud Journal on October 12 1928
The Late Mr Sidney Benyon Park
A Useful Public Servant and Benefactor to Stroud
It is with much regret that we record the death of Mr S. B. Park of Highmead, Stroud. To most of our readers in the town and the district the announcement of the sad event occassioned suprise, for it was known only to a few that he lay in a precarious state, occassioning anxiety to the family. For a considerable time Mr Park's health has left much to be desired. Suffering from heart affection, he on various occassions was confined to the house, and when able to attend at his place of business and take part in the numerous branches of public work with which he was associatied had to exercise caution and discretion. Concientious in everything he undertook to do, nothing but ill health prevented him responding to the call of duty. Twenty years ago he had to submit to a severe operation, which impaired his strengh, and death which took place on Tuesday afternoon was due to a complication of causes. A fortnight ago, dating from the day he died, he went to Weston-super-Mare for a week's holiday, motoring as was his custom. Since his return he had been under medical treatment.
The deceased gentlemen, who was 68 years of age, was a native of Walsall, being the son of Mr John Park, of that place. He married Miss Birt three years after coming to Stroud in March 1889.
Mr Park came to Stroud in 1886 , to join the late Mr Opie Rodway, then carring on business in premises situated at the corner of George Street. In a few years Mr. Park succeeded Mr Rodway as sole proprietor and continued until disposing of the shop to the Midland Banking Company. He had acquired a shopt in the High Street formerly in the occupation of Mr. Birt, his father in law, and later by Mr J R Yeats, both of whom sold tailors trimmings. Mr Yeats became manager for Mr. Park and remained in that position for some years. With one shop less on his hands, Mr Park was able ot devote more time to public affairs, and when be became possessed of a motor car, to explore the county in whose charms he delighted, and to travle farther afield in quest of recreation. He was a keen automobilist, interested in the various makes of cars, and ever ready to talk upon the subject. Many are the people who have enjoyed a ride with him, this priviledge being frequently extended to those in his employ. When, with the coming of motor buses and other petrol driven machines the streets of Stroud became congested, Mr Park as a member of the Urban Council, gave attention to the question of traffic regulation and the parking of cars and brought his expert knowledge to bear in other directions.
Mr Park always took a keen interest in town affairs, and proved himself to be a very useful member of the Stroud Urban District Council during the seven years in which he served on that body. For the past three years he was Chairman of the Streets and Lighting Committee, and took an active part in carrying out the road widening and other improvements which have recently been made in George Street, King Street Parade, Wallbridge and Merrywalks. His name will always be remembered in Stroud for his generous gift last year of Park Gardens, in the Slad Road, as a memorial to his only son, who was killed in the Great War. In addition to the gift of the land, which is about two acres in extent. Mr Park also gave the handsome gates, the fencing, a memorial tablet to his son, and £200 towards the laying out of the gardens. On March 24th of this year he formally handed over the deeds to the Urban Council and the gardens were declared open to the public by Sir Frank Nelson MP, whilst Mrs Park unveiled the memorial tablet to her boy. Mr Park worked hard in his efforts obtain subscriptions towards the cost of preparing and making the gardens, and although hew was not spared to see them completed he had the satisfaction of seeing the paths made and the memorial seats erected in various parts of the grounds. Although he was unable to be present at the last meeting of the Urban Council when it was announced that Mr J Mills had given an adjoining strip of land in order to extend the Gardens to the top of Uplands Pitch, no doubt the news was conveyed to him, and we are sure that no man in Stroud was more delighted to hear of this generous gift than Mr. Park. He was one of the Council's representatives on the Stroud Joint Burial Committeee and the Stroud Joint Hospital Board. As a member of the Stroud Free Library Committee for many years he did much good work. For several years he was an overseer of the poor.
The deceased was proud of the town in which he had lived for so long and was always anxious to do everything to increase its status as a shopping centre. He was one of the founders of the Stroud and District Traders Association, an organisation he was greatly interested in.
When Mr Park first came to Stroupd he associated himself with the Congregational cause at the Old Chapel, where for a number of years he was a deacon and church secretary. Later he joined the Congregational Church at Bedford Street, becoming a member of th diaconate, and right up to the time of this death he was an active and valued worker at this church. He was a local preacher and had occupied the pulpits at most of the Nonconformist churches and chapels in the town and district. For several years he was mainly responsible for organising the week of united Free Church services held at the commencement of the New Year, and was a member and ardent supporter of the Free Church Council. Of recent years he had beenb one of the delegates to the meetings of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Congregational Union. He was chairman and hon treasurer of the Cheltenham and Gloucester District of the Union, and relinquished the former position (having held it for one year only a fortnight ago at the annual meeting held at Tewkesbury. He was a supporter of the the Brotherhood movement and was one of the vice-presidents of the Stroud organisation. Mr Park was a member of the Stroud District Christian Welfare Centres of which he was at one time treasurer, and also the Stroud branch of the League of Nations Union. Mr Park was a life-long teetotaller and non-smoker.
To his wifer and daughter, we join our readers in extending heartfelt sympathy in their great loss.
The funeral service will be held at Bedford St. Congregational Church at 2.30pm tomorrow (Saturday). No flowers by request.
In 1928 Park stood for re-election to the Urban District Council
23 rd March 1928 The Journal included pen portraits of the 27 candidates (inc photograph)
Mr Sidney Beynon Park of “Highmead” Field Road, Stroud has been a member of the Council for six years and during the past two years has given valuable service to the toan as chairman of the Streets and Lighting Committee. His name has been before the public recently in connection with his gift to the town of Park Gardens, a piece of land, two acres in extent, in Slad Road, which is to be transformed into a pleasaure garden. The gift is in memory of Mr. Park's only son who was killed in the War. For many years Mr. Park has been actively associatied with the public life of the town, boides with which he is closely connected including Bedford Congregational Church, the Free Church Council, the League of Nations Union and the Traders Association.He is one of the founder members of the latter organisation.
Sidney Benyon Park was born in Walsall, Staffordshire and is recorded in the 1871 census (aged 10) as living with his father John Park (aged 45) and mother Annie (aged 40) and 2 brothers and his Aunt Esther Park (shown as unmarried aged 49). John Park was a draper and as well as the family 5 staff lived with the family (1 shopwoman, 1 shopman and 3 apprentices). John Park is stated as having been born in Kingswood, Wiltshire (this is Kingswood nr Wotton U Edge which was a detached parish physically in Gloucestershire but adminstratively in Wiltshire). Annie or Ann or Anna Park (nee Herbert) was John's second wife and originally came from Blockley in Worcestershire and their first children two children Morleyand Arthur were born in Blockley, with Sidney being the first born in Walsall. Annie is recorded in the 1851 census as a draper and head of the household aged 28
Sidney married Ellen Birt in 1889 in Stroud and is recorded in the 1891 census as living at 25 and 26 King Street with his wife (aged 38) and 4 staff working in the drapers shop and 1 house servant. In 1901 they are recorded as living at 21 Lansdown with their two children Herbert S Park (aged 6) and Margaret E Park (aged 9). At the time of Sidney Park's death Sidney, Margaret and their daughter were living at Highmead, Field Road, Stroud
Ellen Birt was born in Stroud and was the daughter of Hezekiah Birt who in the 1881 census is recorded as a retired draper living at Prospect Place with his daughter shown as “no occupation”.
Hezekiah Birt is recorded in the 1861 census records his as being a linen draper at 6 High Street, Stroud with his wife Harriet and daughters Ellen and Mary. By the time of the 1871 census Ellen is recorded as being an “assistant in the business” this has amended later to read “drapers assistant in the business”. At this time they are shown as living in the High Street. There are no staff recorded as living with them.
At the time of the 1841 census Hezekiah was shown aged 25, living in a drapers shop, operated by Hester Sutton (aged 50) in the High Street his occupation is drapers shopman
Harriet is not included in census returns after 1871. The death of a Harriet Birt (aged 62) is recorded in Oct/Dec Quarter of 1875 in the Stroud Registration District (vol 6a page 249).