Stanley Park is situated off Western Way, Gomer Lane and also Stokes Bay Road. This tranquil and serene area is Gosport's largest formal park and is well know locally for its splendid floral displays. Located near to the Seafront, Stanley Park is extremely popular in the summer months where families come to picnic and spend time enjoying the sunshine.
The History of this area begins in 1838 when Alexander Baring (Lord Ashburton) employed the services of architect Decimus Burton to build a summer residence in Stokes Bay, he named this summer house Ashburton House, which later became known as Bay House.
In 1842, Lord Ashburton convinced his friend John Croker, British Statesman and author, to purchase the land next to Ashburton House to build his home. This was Alver House, which later became The Alverbank Hotel. The grounds consisted of a large garden which extended from the rear of Alver House where fruit and vegetables were grown all year round. Alver House was also home to a geometrical style Italianate Garden up until the late 19th Century.
This Italianate Garden, along with Ashburton House's Pinetum, are both thought to have been designed by, English gardener and architect, Sir Joseph Paxton, who is most famously remembered for designing The Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Evidence of the Pinetum can still be seen in the park today.
From 1870 to 1943, little had changed since the initial building of both of the houses. The main difference was that the foliage in the area had now grown up around the grounds. In 1943, the area was sold to Gosport Borough Council and became a base for the Royal Engineers during the war.
In 1949, having completed its war efforts, the buildings and grounds were updated, repaired and extended to take on it's new role as part of Gosport County Grammar School which subsequently became Bay House School.
In July of 1971, Osborn Gardens, situated within the park, was opened and named in honour of Alderman Charles Barnard Osborn who had been responsible for the design and layout of the Borough's public gardens and the provision of flower beds at roadsides and street corners. This memorial garden is an appropriate lasting tribute to the initiatives that Alderman Osborn took, providing a place for reflection, peace and relaxation.
Today sees many memorial trees planted around Stanley Park and provides a wonderful, peaceful setting for people to remember their loved ones as well as providing a fantastic location for families to enjoy a good, old fashioned summer's day spent in the park.
The Friends of Stanley Park formed in 2018 and their mission statement is to: "Make Stanley Park more inclusive and used by a wider spectrum of the Community."
The group include local residents, Councillors, Youth Group representatives and representatives from The Alverbank Hotel, Bay House School and the Alverstoke WI (Women's Institute).
The Friends can be contacted via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/178021019791801/ .