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Salute to the man behind Chippenham's John Coles park
11:00am Saturday 5th May 2012 in Chippenham
THE legacy of former mayor and benefactor John Coles was commemorated on Thursday when a blue plaque saluting him was unveiled in the Chippenham park that bears his name.
Present mayor David Powell unveiled the plaque at a ceremony in the park, and he said he was delighted to be a part of the proceedings.
“It is absolutely wonderful to see the park honoured in this way,” he said.
“When I started my year in office I was keen to make sure that alderman and former mayor John Coles was duly recognised for his service to the town and particularly for his legacy which allowed the borough council in 1921 to acquire land for the park. It gives me great pleasure to be involved in the unveiling of this blue plaque in conjunction with the Chippenham Civic Society, which recognises his great efforts and keeps John Coles’ memory alive.”
John Coles was born in 1842 and died in 1916 at his home, 25 Market Place, Chippenham.
He is buried at the London Road Cemetery.
Coles was a chemist, businessman and benefactor whose legacy enabled the purchase of 14 acres of land to create John Coles Park which first opened on May 23, 1923.
He was also an initiator and financier of the technical college in Cocklebury Road and for 21 years chairman of the governing body from its inception until his death.
Coles was also a county magistrate, councillor, alderman and three times mayor of Chippenham.
Roger Backway of the Chippenham Civic Society said: “The plaque is the latest in the continuing series of blue plaques in Chippenham erected by the society to commemorate important events, people and buildings in the history of the town.”
Other blue plaques in the town include one on the front door of the Jubilee Building in the Market Place, as the building was erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, and adjacent to the front door of the Angel Hotel, which was an important 18th century coaching inn on the busy London to Bristol route.
Adrian Jones, head of service delivery at the town council, said: “I am sure John Coles would appreciate the park as it is today, as we appreciate his legacy which enabled the park to be provided for the people of Chippen-ham.
“The plaque is in recognition of this.”