Peel Park was the first public park in the United Kingdom funded entirely by the people’s subscription, to officially open. Created in 1846, it was free to use and brought all Salford residents together. Four years later in 1850, Salford opened the Royal Museum and Library, the country’s first free public lending library, now known as the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Portrait of Sir Robert Peel

The Park is named after former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, elected from 1834 to 1835 and 1841 to 1846. He’s famed for modernising the country’s social and economic policies. He particularly made a huge impact on the people of Salford through his reforms, which limited the hours that women and children could work in factories. As well as founding the police force, and repealing the Corn Laws – ensuring cheap bread for the population.

See the timeline of Peel Park

The gardeners

The first Head Gardener was Thomas Gibbons. Thanks to a descendant we have his full life story, right up to a noble but tragic end.

The second Head Gardener was Robert Petrie.  Appointed in 1852 he died unexpectedly in 1874 and was replaced by Henry Moore.  The work of Henry Moore at Peel Park and other Salford parks is recorded in journals which are held by Salford Museum and Art Gallery.  Read the head gardener’s own words

The people's park

This park belongs to you, developments have been funded by public money and volunteers have worked relentlessly to help transform the park.  Read more about your park

A home to learning

The Victorians were strong believers in self-improvement and Peel Park gave the opportunity to do just that.  Read more about how the park influenced education 

Victorians love for music

Something kinder that filled the air during the Victorian times were the musical notes that came from the brass bands that were so popular at the time.  Read more about the popularity of brass bands

Sports and fitness

Despite reforms made by Sir Robert Peel, due to the mass of the Industrial Revolution, streets during the Victorian era were cramped and polluting.  Read more about how sports improved quality of life

Inspiring art

The Park itself has been immortalised through decades of artwork, film and writings.  Read more about Peel Park through art