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Winton Recreation Ground has an interesting and varied history with developments occurring throughout the life of the site. The possibility of providing a public recreation facility at Winton Recreation Ground was originally raised in 1902. However, it was not until 1904 that land totalling 5.75 hectares was conveyed to Bournemouth Borough Council from the Earl of Malmesbury. This was on the understanding that it would be laid out as a Public Recreation Ground to serve local properties being built at that time.
The official opening of Winton Recreation Ground took place on Wednesday, 27 th September 1906. An extract from the Bournemouth Graphic reads –
"Yesterday (26 th ) was a notable day. The Earl and Countess of Malmesbury opened the new Recreation Ground at Winton, consisting of 14 acres (5.75 ha) and was generously presented by the Earl of Malmesbury. The bowling green at one corner had already been opened; there has now been laid out a cricket ground surrounding which is a very goof racing track for sports, and close by is a football ground, a children’s playground is to follow.”
Plans for a Bowling Green Pavilion at Winton Recreation Ground were submitted on the 11 th October 1906, with subsequent construction being undertaken in 1907. However, the Bowling Green Pavilion was already found to be too small at that time and it was extended in 1912 by another 12 ft. It was recommended in 1919 that two new tennis courts should be provided, east of the existing ones and the cricket pitch improved. During the 19020’s a new playground was laid out in its present location. In 1922, following a deputation from the Bournemouth Football Association the number of football pitches was extended to 2. These were replaced with the American football pitch in the 1990’s. The pitch was subsequently removed in March 1998 as a result of the club ceasing to operate.
In 1935 a new bowling green was laid out and opened on Thursday, 25 th July 1935, celebrated with a match played between members of the club and a Council team.
During the Second World War, various parts of Winton Recreation Ground were used for shelters, A.R.P. warden posts and temporary cleaning centres in the event of emergencies. In 1956, the tennis courts were re-surfaced and set out in their present locations. The playscheme building was constructed in 1980 to provide facilities for pre-school children.
The site includes traditional shrub planting and pine plantations providing a screening of facilities at the periphery of the site. Following the storms of October 1987and January 1990, much tree and shrubbery planting has been undertaken within the site with a major replanting being undertaken in the 1988/9 planting season.
Today, the site, set on two levels, is surrounded on all sides by high-density housing. Being the largest area of open space for at least ½ mile (the nearest site involves crossing major roads) it is a focal point for many activities i.e. walking, tennis, bowls, cricket and an area for young people’s recreation. There is also a cycle track enclosing the cricket out field.
At the present time the cricket pavilion, approximately 90 years old and extended in 1962, is being refurbished in order to provide new facilities and accommodation.
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