In February 1887, a meeting of Chesterfield's prominent inhabitants agreed to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee by raising funds for a public recreation ground for the people of Chesterfield. It was six years before the vision became a reality.
By August sufficient money had been promised for the scheme to go ahead. An agreement was made to purchase a 17 acre field to the south of the River Hipper.
On 21st September 1887, a 'Monster Procession', almost a mile long, wended its way through the town from the Market Place to Queen's Park. A service of dedication was held in the park and a commemorative tree planted.
Two years later, an adjacent 5 acre field was purchased almost wholly due the efforts of the ladies of the town who held a five day bazaar to raise £1000.
A design competition was held. Despite his death, aged 85, shortly after the plans were submitted, William Barron's was the design chosen; his son oversaw the work.
At long last, everything was ready and on 2nd August 1893 the Chesterfield Horticultural Society held a flower show and sports. More than four thousand people paid for admission and Queen's Park immediately became an important part of town life.
In 1894 there were facilities for cricket, football, tennis, bowls, cycling and rowing on the lake. There was also a much loved children's playground. Events in the park have included flower shows, cricket matches, cycling and athletics, Sunday School gatherings and fund raising for the Royal Hospital.
During the war, an ambitious series of entertainments was organised, including concerts by the leading bands of the day. There were also sports and military parades. Athletics events were transferred to the Park Annexe in 1963.
A popular addition to the park in the 1970’s was the miniature railway around the lake.
In the early 1990s ground maintenance became the responsibility of external contractors. Increasingly the buildings showed their age. The cost of restoration was too high for the Council alone.
The Heritage Lottery Fund gave a life-line to public parks. A successful application for lottery funding enabled restoration to begin in 2004 and the park has been brought back to it's former glory as it is now, a central jewel befitting our ancient Market town of Chesterfield.
The little girl depicted by the statue was Alice Evelyn Sybil Lee. The statue was carved by her father Herbert Lee when he caught her picking a rose from his favorite bush. He gifted it to the borough in 1909 stipulating it should stand in the Queen’s Park in perpetuity.
The statue is currently displayed in the conservatory on the south side of the park.