How Blakers Park began ...

Mayor and Mayoress of Brighton, 1895: Alderman J.G. Blaker and his wife when Mayor and Mayoress. Cover page of a supplement to Brighton Gazette 21st December 1895. Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Councilr

Alderman John George Blaker had done very nicely during his municipal career in the late 19th century. He became Mayor of Brighton three times and even received, by the age of 43, a Knighthood. Then he built a substantial house at 79 Stanford Avenue and while he was Chairman of Brighton Council’s Works Committee – a particularly influential position in relation to local developments. Not surprisingly, he also owned several parcels of land in the area, some of which he sold to builders.

By giving the land now known as Blakers Park to the people of the town in 1894, he enhanced the area where he lived. It was certainly a generous act but not entirely without self-interest. It meant there was an open space around the corner from his home, rather than more rows of houses.

The small Burgundy Book of the Corporation of Brighton manual for 1894/5 states: ‘The Blaker recreation ground is a piece of land situated between Stanford Avenue and Preston Drove, containing 4 acres, 1 rod, 1112 poles, generously presented to the Corporation by Mr. Alderman J.G. Blaker in 1893, for the free use-and enjoyment of the inhabitants and visitors of Brighton for the purposes of recreation.’