John Frederick Cheetham, the eldest son of John Cheetham, was born in Stalybridge in 1835 into a family made prosperous by the cotton manufacturing industry. The family business had been started by George Cheetham at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and was based in mills on Castle Street, Stalybridge.
John Frederick Cheetham generously supported the town throughout his life and this generosity continued upon his death in 1916, when he left his home, Eastwood House, to the town along with the extensive grounds and gardens that surrounded the property. He also bequeathed his remarkable art collection, known as The Astley Cheetham Collection, to the town of Stalybridge. All these passed into public ownership in 1932 on the death of his sister Agnes, and Cheetham Park was opened soon after.
John Frederick Cheetham was ahead of his time in his concern for the environment. He directed that the woodland on either side of the stream, which fed the mill reservoir, should become a nature reserve, one of the earliest in Britain, and he left enduring legacies to the common society and the National Trust.
- Buggy Fit
- During the 1960’s an educational walk was created through the park. This walk was known as The Cheetham Park Trail and took visitors past various points of interest, including rare and unusual plant and tree species that could be found in the park at the time.
- One of the more popular attractions in the park is the children’s play area. The play area was installed in 2005 following extensive consultation and at a cost more than £132,000. There are two distinct and separate areas of play equipment. The enclosed area alongside the main pathway through the park is equipment for children aged up to 5 years old and the equipment for children aged 5-14 is ranged up a small hillside giving views over the park and towards Stalybridge town centre. There are picnic benches inside and overlooking the enclosed play area to cater for parents.