History of Gatty Park
Gatty Park is named after the Gatty family that lived in Elmfield Hall. Miss M. C. E. Gatty of London officially opened Gatty Park on 26 June, 1920. Elmfield Hall and its grounds were donated by the Gatty family to Church Urban District Council along with the sum of £500 for the maintenance of the park as a gift for the people of Church. The gift by the Gatty family of Elmfield Hall and its grounds to the people of Church ensured the preservation of open space for recreation by local people.
The Gatty family
The Gatty family amassed considerable wealth during the industrial revolution. Mr F. A. Gatty improved the process of dyeing Turkey Red and more famously Khaki which replaced Turkey Red uniforms during the Boer War.
Elmfield Hall was originally a farm and the woodland nearby was known as Steiner Park before being acquired by the Gatty family. Elmfield Hall was extended at least twice; the last time being in the 1850’s when the now familiar front wing with its classical facade was added by F. A. Gatty. During the Gatty families time at the Hall, as the industrial revolution gained momentum, the setting of Elmfield Hall changed from one of rural character as the developing town of Church hemmed it in.
Since occupation by the Gatty family, Elmfield Hall has had a variety of uses. During the First World War it was used as an army hospital, after the war the park became the setting for a memorial to the men of Church who died during the war. During the Second World War the Hall was used for the storage of civil defence equipment and following the end of the war in 1948 part of the building was adapted for use as flats.
A well was recently discovered in the centre of the courtyard behind Elmfield Hall and may have been used for early experiments connected with dyeing fabrics. This would require research by an industrial archaeologist to verify, but may shed some further light on the history of the Gatty Family.
Designed by Church born sculpture Walter Marsden who served in the first world war.