February 12, 2012

THERE IS ONLY ONE WOODHOUSE MOOR

Filed under: General — Bill @ 7:39 pm

Letter sent today to the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Some people mistakenly refer to Woodhouse Moor as Hyde Park. This is very common amongst newcomers to the city who are unfamiliar with the area. Even the Yorkshire Evening Post in a recent article twice referred to the Moor as Hyde Park (“Park Life Runner ‘snaps’ views” – YEP 9.2.12). When mistakes like this appear in print, it encourages others to call the park “Hyde Park.” It legitimises a practice which, left unchecked, could ultimately lead to the loss of the name Woodhouse Moor, a name which evokes history and adds to the park’s character.

The name “Woodhouse Moor” dates back hundreds of years. The first part of the name is “Woodhouse” because the Moor was situated in the administrative area called Woodhouse which in former times included all of Hyde Park, North Hyde Park, Woodhouse, Little Woodhouse and Little London, i.e. all the land between the city centre and Headingley. The second part of the name is “Moor” because in those days Woodhouse Moor was a real moor covered in gorse. Like the other Leeds moors, it was common land, which meant that local people could use it for grazing their animals.

The name “Hyde Park” refers to the residential area to the north of Woodhouse Moor. One story is that the name originated in the early 1800s when a local farmer re-named his farm “Hyde Park Corner” to commemorate a visit he’d made to London. Another is that it dates from 1865 when the parish of St Augustine at Wrangthorn was formed. It’s said that following a walk along the new parish boundary, a parishioner remarked that the area looked just like Hyde Park in London, and the name stuck.

Over the years, local residents have successfully resisted numerous attempts to encroach on the Moor, and on each occasion, received invaluable assistance in the form of coverage in the Yorkshire Evening Post. Now we need the paper’s help again. By referring to the park only as Woodhouse Moor, the paper can ensure the continued use of that historic name, and prevent the disconnection of the park from its past. It would be a real shame if, after so many hundreds of years as Woodhouse Moor, the park were to be re-named now as a result of the carelessness of this generation. Whilst many cities have parks called Hyde Park, there is only one Woodhouse Moor.

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