In 2011 Spen Valley Civic Society embarked on its most challenging project, to convert a small sloping piece of waste ground at the junction of Knowler Hill and Halifax Road into a high quality mini-park. This £82,000 scheme cost just under £20,000 because the work was done by volunteers - mostly members of the Society. All the materials for this scheme were paid for by the Veolia Environmental Trust from landfill tax funds.
Why did we do this project? Well, for two reasons. First, because of funny old "Liversedge". It's part of the address of thousands of residents, but visitors can't find it! We wanted to mark the old centre of Liversedge township, which contained the most important mediaeval settlements in Spen Valley. Second, because in 2012 it was the 200th anniversary of the Luddite attack on Cartwrights Mill (about half a mile away); the attack was planned in the Shears Pub (200 yards up Halifax Road); and there was no public memorial of this important historical event.
So one landmark feature of Sparrow Park is the word "Liversedge" in large metal letters on the wall facing Halifax Road. The other is the stunning stainless steel statue of a cropper and his daughter. Funded by Kirklees Council's Spen Valley Area Committee, it was made by Xceptional Designs of Barton on Humber, following a competition. Life-size shears hold a plaque explaining the plight of croppers, and there are two information panels. One tells the history of Liversedge. The other is about children's lives in Liversedge in 1812, with artwork by pupils of High Bank School Liversedge. The park was formally opened in April 2012. A ceremony attended by local politicians, representatives from Veolia, ATA Building Supplies, and hundreds of local people was followed by a celebration in the historic Shears pub. Since then our planting scheme has matured, and the Society is very proud that Sparrow Park was a Regional Finalist in the National Civic Trust Awards 2013.