Friends of Monkey Park - A community group helping improve Chester Street Park (a.k.a. Monkey Park)

About the Park

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“Monkey Park” (known by the local authority as “Chester Street Recreation Area”) was preserved as local green space approximately 100 years ago. Why it is colloquially known as the “Monkey Park” in the local community is a source of some discussion - there are two Monkey Parks in the town & both are a bit of a mystery. There are three main theories suggested by local residents:

1) It’s due to the monkey bars on the play equipment (although these have only been there since the 1980s)
2) There used to be a monkey puzzle tree in the area (although no-one remembers where it was or when it was cut down, and there are no photos of the park with it)
3) It’s related to an Edwardian courtship practice called “Monkey Strutting” - where men strutted around the park trying to attract the eye of local ladies who might “walk out” with them.

In the past, it had lovely railings around it, a drinking water fountain etc. There’s a stream running along the whole length, but you’d no longer know that unless you looked hard.
Now it’s an area of bounded grass with some old swings & a slide. The railings are rusty and haven’t been painted since the 1980s; the kids’ play equipment is tired, with broken flooring under it; there’s dog dirt on the park. Until Pocket Parks work started, the area felt run down & unloved. This is where the Friends of Monkey Park comes in...

If anyone has any old photographs of the park, we would love to see them and add them to our website. Please send us a message with details and we will get in touch!