The Borough Council have built a new leisure/sports centre in the annexe to replace the existing one adjacent to the Queen’s Park. Construction started in October 2014 and the new centre opened in 2016.
History of the Annexe
Additional land was purchased to extend the Park as a memorial to the reign of Queen Victoria, following her death in 1901. The land was formally handed to the Council in 1905. Unfortunately, possibly because Queen’s Park was already surrounded by a brick wall, the two areas of land remained quite distinct and the construction of Boythorpe Avenue meant that they were permanently separated. After the First World War plans to erect a stadium in the Annexe for the town football club came to nothing. The Park Annexe was requisitioned during the Second World War by the military for a drill ground and later for accommodation. After the war circuses were held in the Annexe.
Athletics events were transferred to the Park Annexe in 1963 and many school sports days were held there. It also became the home of the newly-formed Chesterfield Athletics Club in 1978.
There were many protests in 1989 when the Council decided that they wanted to build an office block in the Annexe: fortunately the plans were shelved as the land is protected by restrictive covenants. Like Queen’s Park the Annexe suffered from under-investment and, following the departure of the athletics club, the track was no longer maintained.
The Friends of Queen’s Park became concerned about the decline and under-utilisation of the Park Annexe and in October 2009 a meeting was held with present users of the site and other interested bodies to see what could be done. The objectives of the Friend’s of Queen’s Park haves now been extended to include the preservation, promotion and protection of the heritage of both Queen’s Park and the Queen’s Park Annexe.
The photo below shows Steve Cram running at the Queen’s Park Annexe in 1981 in a race staged to try to break the 4 minute mile in Derbyshire for the first time.
An aerial view of the Annexe before construction of the new Leisure Centre:
The Annexe was used for the royal helicopter when Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Chesterfield: