Sites and Monument Record: Crownest Park - Lido (SMR 2115)
A public park located to the south of Stenhousemuir Town centre containing an ornamental pond, paths and football field.
In 1934 Stirlingshire Eastern No 1 District Council secured a 21 year lease of the field from the Carron Company and in 1938 engaged an Edinburgh firm for three weeks to level the ground, leaving a shallow pond in the centre. The Council then planted 300-400 trees on the south side, which soon disappeared. The paddling pond was ready for the hot dry summer of 1939 and became known as the Lido, a popular name in the 1930s for a public outdoor swimming pool and surrounding facilities (lido is an Italian word for beach).
The war put an end to further improvements, but in 1945 Carron Company agreed to a 99 year lease. During the war allotments had been formed in the SW and NE corners of the area and these remained for some time. The decontamination centre that had been constructed during the war was converted into a sports pavilion. Over the following years a playing field with tennis courts, putting green, swings and an ornamental lake were laid out. A memorial gateway at the lower end of Park Drive commemorated the reconstruction, which had been part-funded by the National Playing Fields Association and the King George V Trust. The new park was officially opened on 2 June 1953 by Arthur Fair, the convenor of the Council. The all-weather tennis courts had actually already been opened in July 1951 specifically for girls. Constructed to the west of the pavilion by Sportworks Ltd of Glasgow they had cost £900.
The eastern side of the park remained relatively empty until the mid-1960s, when a N/S path was led across it and a children’s miniature traffic area constructed to the east. This recreated major and minor roads, a fly-over and a fly-under, traffic lights and road signs – a layout put together by pupils of Larbert High School and the Police. The cost was kept down by doing most of the work in-house. Bicycles and tricycles were available for hire and the layout became a test ground for the National Cycling Proficiency Scheme. It was part-funded by a Physical Training & Education Grant. The official opening was in May 1966 by Chief Constable David Gray. The annual revenue from the tennis courts, putting green, paddle boats and bicycle hire was more than sufficient to hire summer staff for the park.
In 2006-10 the main shopping centre at Stenhousemuir was redeveloped and a large section of the park was engulfed by car parking and retail units. The miniature traffic area was removed, the contours remoulded in gentle mounds and reseeded with grass. The dilapidated sports pavilion was demolished and new paths laid out. The most dramatic change was to the configuration of the pond, which was reduced in size. A constriction provided an opportunity for a bridge across the narrow neck of land. However, its former natural appearance was subsumed in a semi-urban setting. The open water provides a tranquil setting for the smart new library building opened in 2008 (SMR 1771). For a more natural water course walkers can now go along the Lade to Carron Dams.