So what makes a bad bandstand? My love for them is undoubted I hope. But there are bad ones out there. I have categorized them into three areas:-
- Poor or dull designs (this includes all Ollerton models as well as most modern ones);
- Poor condition (a virtually derelict bandstand is of no use to anyone no matter how historic or important - if its knackered, its a bad bandstand); and
- Poor maintenance and restoration (restored badly, maintained badly, doesn't get a lick of paint...really?)
- Horsforth Hall Park, Leeds. Well done guys.
- Parliament Hill, City of London - much improved.
- Cassiobury Park, Watford - stunning.
- Victoria Park, Ilkeston - back to its original state.
- Blake Gardens, Bridgwater - had a paint job.
- Town Centre, Hemel Hempstead - a new one in place.
Castle Park - Bristol
Owned by Bristol City Council. I am struggling to find anything I like about this. Quite like the blue - actually no, I don't even like that.
Brigg, North Lincolnshire
Owned by Brigg Town Council - an Ollerton bandstand, lovely condition but just dull, so very dull.
Christchurch Quay - Christchurch, Dorset
Owned by Christchurch Borough Council. A stunning Scottish Lion Foundry bandstand actually being painted when I was there.... but black. Its all black and look at the opportunities with the detail in those baluster panels.
Myrtle Park, Bingley, West Yorkshire
Owned by Bradford City Council.
A lovely MacFarlane model right behind the Bradford and Bingley Building Society HQ - I am sure they have a few quid to spare to restore this mess. And those railings? were they spare ones they found in the highways depot? absolutely no class whatsover.
Small Heath Park (Victoria Park), Birmingham
Owned by Birmingham City Council. I tried so hard with the energetic Friends of Small Heath Park Park to get this one restored and used more but sadly HLF West Midlands did not support. It is such an interesting model - probably a Yates and Haywood model from Rotherham with a double row of columns rarely seen and it is desperately crying out for restoration in this very important local park.
Sparke Evans Park, Bristol
Owned by Bristol City Council. Another one in the historic city of Bristol. With so many lost in Bristol too you think they would preserve what they had left. Not according to this one in Sparke Evans Park.
Ryelands Park, Lancaster, Lancashire
Owned by Lancaster City Council. The Council haven't even included this in their restoration plans and ignore my emails. It seems to have slipped through or just been ignored. Maybe they don't even know it exists. Certainly the pigeons love it as the roof was full of them. It has to be the worst one I have seen and deserves better. Utterly disgraceful.
UPDATE: NOW DEMOLISHED IN 2017
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
Owned and managed by De La Warr Pavilion - an RIBA Award winning bandstand installed in 2001. I just don't like it. It just doesn't fit its surroundings and yet I do like modern architecture. Frankly I look at this and look at what "design" there was during Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times and this is the best we can do?? really??? It looks like a handkerchief lost momentarily in the wind.
Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil
Owned by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough - a poor photo as my camera failed so was taken on a blackberry but probably just as well as the roof is appalling and its just lost sat in this lovely hillside park.
Owned by Fenland District Council. Just dull. Another Ollerton. Enough said.
Filey, North Yorkshire
Owned by Filey Town Council, with a wonderful summer events programme, but its another very dull design. At least Stefan is enjoying it but he doesn't know any better.
Overtoun Park, Rutherglen, near Glasgow
Owned and managed by South Lanarkshire Council, this rotting Macfarlane bandstand is one of the few left in the area and with the Scottish legacy bandstands, why is it left like this???
Bothwell Road Public Park, Hamilton
Owned by South Lanarkshire Council, this poor yet listed Macfarlane 279 erected in 1912 is a disgrace and yet its origins are only a few miles away and it deserves this???
Owned by Swanage Town Council. This picture doesn't even tell half the story. The Town Council have now removed the roof as its no longer safe while they try and obtain the funding to replace it. This incredibly important bandstand is one of the few remaining Macfarlane 224 bandstands left in the country (Leamington Spa, Sevenoaks and Uxbridge being the others). Flabbergasted that the Council have not been proactive in sorting this out before. Get an HLF bid in and call Yvonne Richardson from the Friends of North Lodge Park in Darlington who sorted out the £200,000+ restoration of their bandstand.