British parks are one of the finest legacies of the Victorian age. Designed and bequeathed to the masses as part of a movement encouraging green spaces and recreation, the public park came to symbolise one of the greatest contributions of the era. Opened in increasing numbers in the industrious nineteenth century, by the end of the twentieth century many of these parks had become sadly neglected. With the collaboration of organisations including Keep Britain Tidy and the Heritage Lottery Fund, a vast project of regeneration was initiated. Today they remain outdoor places for everyone to enjoy, acting as children's play areas, sports grounds and even concert venues. Great British Parks explores some of these outstanding public spaces, of interest to anyone who uses and appreciates them. It pays tribute to the many park teams, local authorities, grant-giving bodies and individuals who have managed, maintained, restored and looked after our public parks – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Paul Rabbitts has over twenty years of experience in designing, managing and restoring urban parks across the UK. As a qualified Landscape Architect and current Head of Parks for a SE Local Authority, he is also a published author and regular contributor to journals and periodicals. Currently head of parks for Watford Borough Council, he is also project director for the £6.5 million restoration of Cassiobury Park, as well as an author on books on Regent's Park, Richmond Park, the royal parks and bandstands, on which he is acknowledged as a UK expert. He lives in Leighton Buzzard.