On 10th September 1932, the Ruddington Parish Council Recreation Ground (also known as Elms Park or Carter’s Recreation Ground) was offically opened by Samuel Carter.
Samuel was born in Ruddington in 1859, in a cottage that apparently stood where the current library is today. In 1880, he moved to Guelph in Ontario, Canada where he was a very successful hosiery manufacturer and also served as Mayor from 1913 to 1914. He died there in 1944.
In the early 1930s, Samuel offered to fund a new recreation ground and swimming baths for his native village of Ruddington. At this time, public baths often also included washing facilities for the use of residents who did not have such facilities in their own homes.
The proposal was to erect the baths on the Green, but this met with opposition due to concerns around the effect of the Rights of Common Act, and also who would ultimately fund their operation. After a couple of years of debate about costs, location of site and so on, the idea was abandoned and the emphasis was placed on the recreation ground instead.
To build this, land was acquired on Loughborough Road, levelled and turfed. A pavilion, tennis courts, bowling green and a cricket area were ultimately established. The costs were met from Samuel’s gift to the village of £1,000, plus an endowment of £1,000. Further funds were raised by selling off the frontage of the land for housing development.
Samuel Carter returned to Ruddington in 1932 to officially open the facility, and a plaque on the main entrance to the recreation ground on Loughborough Road acknowledges his generosity. Elms Park is still a popular facility 85 years later – and all thanks to a gentleman who never forgot his Ruddington roots.