The Times, 06 Feb 1871; p.6, col. D
RECREATION GROUNDS for the PEOPLE
At the request of Mr. John Stuart MILL we insert the following appeal: -
"Sir, - I feel it to be my duty, as the only independent person in this place,
to try to aid my parishioners in their efforts to preserve their village green,
looking upon it as a valuable means of promoting their happiness, health, and
long life, as well as their moral and spiritual good. Upon this open green,
which constituted one of the charms of this little seaside village of Flimby,
near Maryport, in Cumberland, the inhabitants claim an uninterrupted right of
recreation from time immemorial. Lord LONSDALE, however, who lately bought an
additional property in the village, with a portion of the green attached to it,
applied in 1867, through his tenant, for an injunction to prevent the
parishioners from playing at the game of croquet on the green. The result has
been a sort of tacit compromise, by which this game, which had been introduced
by the clergyman of the parish among the colliers, and had been popular among
them, has been resigned in favour of cricket, &c.
"Unfortunately, a new encroachment on the rights of the parishioners has now
been begun by another landowner, who has sold a portion of the green across
which are two paths, and which has been one of the most frequented parts of the
green, for the purpose of enclosing it, and building a house, with iron
furnaces, with their accompanying chimneys, &c., to follow. Part of the green
having been railed off for this purpose, the villagers, indignant at what they
believed to be an infringement of their immemorial rights, followed the example
of Mr. Augustus SMITH and others, by assembling and breaking down the railing.
For this proceeding a prosecution has been commenced against the leaders; but
they are confident that they can sustain the legality as well as the justice of
their cause, respecting which they have received highly favourable legal
"I venture, therefore, to make this appeal to all who sympathize with the
working classes, and the blessing of a free, open space which has come down to
them from former times for their innocent recreation, but with the loss of which
they are now threatened. I hope that some will be found to help us with their
subscriptions in sustaining the legal expenses which will be necessary to enable
my parishioners to maintain their rights in their village green, and they shall
be thankfully acknowledged if forwarded to the vicar.
"Your obedient servant,
"A. F. SHEPPARD."
"Parsonage, Flimby, Maryport, Cumberland."