Canton Common, the land which became Jubilee Park, was purchased by the Council in 1889 at the same time as Ely Common, on which Victoria Park was built. The Council acquired these Commons specifically to provide space for public recreation, but in both cases less than half the area was actually used for that purpose. Plans for laying out Canton Common as a recreation ground were slow to progress owing to differing views in the Council about the amount of recreational space needed and the amount that could be allocated for buildings. In the event, only the land between Sloper Road and Leckwith Road (some 6.5 acres - less than a quarter of the area of Canton Common) became Jubilee Park. Fencing was erected around this portion early in 1890. Much of the remaining space became garden allotments.
In September 1895 the Borough Engineer reported to the Parks Committee that the central portion of Canton Common, between Leckwith Road and Sloper Road, had been levelled. The Committee agreed that the ground be prepared for cricket and other sports. The layout for Victoria Park, proceeding at the same time, left no space for football and cricket, so the plan was that the Canton Recreation Ground (or Jubilee Park) would provide this. In February 1896, the Parks Superintendent reported to the Parks Committee that several cricket pitches had been laid during the previous month. Later that year other parts of the ground were being sown with grass seed, and meanwhile football clubs were not permitted to play there. At this time the ground was known as Canton Park, Canton Recreation Ground, and Jubilee Park. A.A. Pettigrew stated that there was no formal decision as to its name, and that Jubilee Park came into common usage after the ground was so called by the first watchman appointed there. There is no record of a formal opening, but the ground was available for public use in Diamond Jubilee week, June 1897. In the early 1900s there were three cricket pitches and three football pitches in use at Jubilee Park.
During the 1914-1918 War much of the land in the recreation grounds was taken over for food production by means of allotments. In Jubilee Park approximately 3.5 acres, more than half of its total area, were allocated to 53 allotment holders, such that by the summer of 1917 there were no football or cricket pitches. After the war the allotment holders were permitted to remain on the land until September 1921. The ground was then gradually restored for recreational use and in February 1924 Jubilee Park again had three football pitches. This was still the case in the 1930-31 season. The cricket pitches were not replaced.
The Parks Department Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment, compiled for insurance purposes in April 1938, included the following information for Jubilee Park:
During the 1939-45 war there was an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Wardens' post in Jubilee Park, accommodation for fire watchers and a public air raid shelter. In January 1942 the Parks Committee was informed that the military authorities had requisitioned a site at Jubilee Park for search lights, and in 1943 the Committee agreed that huts for military use could be erected there.
Land in Jubilee Park was also used as wartime allotments - in December 1945 the Parks Committee requested the Small Holdings Committee to give tenants of the allotments six months notice to quit, expiring 31st October 1946.
Sources of Information
In general, the information in this section is taken from A. A. Pettigrew. The Public Parks and Recreation Grounds of Cardiff. Volumes 2 & 3.
Other sources are: