Clement Wilson Park contains several footpaths that link to the Lagan towpath, route 9 of the National Cycle Network and nearby Barnett Demesne. A bridge, named after local artist John Luke, was installed in the park to provide better access to pedestrians and cyclists, as part of our Investment Programme.
Clement Wilson Park was originally occupied by a clog factory, which produced goods for people working in the mills and other industries.
In 1929, the factory site was bought by Wilson Management Ltd, who also purchased 25 acres of land to the north-east of Shaw's Bridge as part of the deal. Further land was added in 1943 and 1960, bringing the site to 54 acres in total.
Wilson Management Ltd decided to use the factory to produce soft fruit for canning. Some of the fruit was grown in orchards, which stood on what is now grassland belonging to the park beside Newforge Lane.
Because the company was located on the outskirts of Belfast, factory staff were unable to travel home for lunch. Instead, they spent their lunch break walking around the fields surrounding the factory.
After noticing how much his staff enjoyed using the site, company chairman Mr R Clement Wilson decided to landscape the grounds into gardens. The area became the first 'factory garden' in Northern Ireland.
The events of World War II changed Clement Wilson Park permanently. The factory closed and a water current, which began at Shaw's Bridge and fed water from the River Lagan to the site, was filled in using rubble from demolished air-raid shelters and buildings.
This covered millrace soon became a raised walkway and was known locally as Burmah Road. Today, it is the main path through the park.
In 1974, the council began negotiations with the Clement Wilson family to purchase their site. They bought 41 acres of land to turn into a public park, which was named after the company chairman following a request from the family.
Clement Wilson Park officially opened on 30 October 1975.