Belle Vue Park - in World War Two

The 1939-45 world war had a number of impacts on the park. Starting in September 1939, trenches were dug in a number of Newport parks, including in Belle Vue Park, as a civil defence measure recommended by the Home Office.[1] The Parks Committee decided that the trench(es) in Belle Vue Park would be camouflaged and protected by planting shrubs and flower borders around them.[2] The Parks Superintendent reported in January 1940 that the areas around the ARP trenches would shortly be planted with shrubs, and rustic screens would be erected near the entrances.[3] In January 1941 the Parks Committee agreed to a request from the Home Guard that trenches be dug in Belle Vue Park and on the adjoining Belle Vue Court allotments.[4] In March a representative of the military authority notified the Council that a formal requisition would soon be issued for the sites of these trenches to be dug.[5

There were air raid shelters in the park near Cardiff Road and the Council authorised the Emergency Committee to open a third entrance off Cardiff Road to improve access to these. At the same meeting the Council considered removal of railings from Newport's parks and open spaces and deferred a decision.[6][7] Another impact of the war was the use of the park for food production. As early as December 1939 the Parks Superintendent reported that vegetables had been planted in the nurseries at Belle Vue and Beechwood Parks to assist the National Food Production Scheme.[8] In the summer of 1940 he reported that considerable quantities of produce were being sold to the Education Department's school dining centres and other Council catering facilities.[9]

In September 1940 the Parks Committee approved the maintenance of demonstration allotment plots in Belle Vue and Beechwood Parks for the duration of the war. The Superintendent had seen such demonstration plots in Cardiff parks and recommended that the produce could be used by the school feeding centres.[10] The demonstation plot in Belle Vue Park was reported to be "just behind the Dahlia border and rustic screen". At the same meeting in December 1940 the Parks Committee heard that the winter crop of tomatoes grown at Belle Vue Park nursery was proving on the whole to be a success.[11]

Sources of Information

  1. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 29th September 1938
  2. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th November 1938
  3. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th January 1940
  4. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 17th January 1941
  5. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 21st March 1941
  6. Western Mail and South Wales News Wednesday September 11th 1940 page 6
  7. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 20th September 1940
  8. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 11th December 1939
  9. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 21st June 1940 and 19th July 1940
  10. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 20th September 1940
  11. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 20th December 1940