Corporation Oaks was officially opened by a tree planting on 11 February 1850. This was attended by members of the Town Council, the Town Clerk and the Clerk to the Justices.
One of the Councillors, William Parsons, who attended the planting with his son, Fred, reports in his diary that:
Mr Richard Birkin the Mayor planted the first Tree on the East side of the Walk at the Top, and Wm Hannay planted the one below the “Mayors Oak”; the next Tree at the top & on the Western side of the walk was planted by Mr J H Ashwell the Sheriff, immediately below the “Sheriffs oak” and on the same side Wm Felkin planted his which he designated by the name of the poet “John Milton” and next to that, being third from the top and next but one to the Sheriffs Oak on the same side Fred and I planted our Oak which I propose calling “Lord Byron” .
After the ceremony, the group walked down to St Anne’s Well Road and, because it was a rainy day, then took cabs to the George IV where they had an evening of ‘unalloyed enjoyment’.
Parsons later reports that members of the Council who had not named a tree were asked to provide names but ‘… the nomenclature of many of them appeared so very ridiculous I declined bestowing any other name upon the Oak planted by Fred … it is therefore recorded by the Corporation Surveyor as “Parson’s Oak”’.
The diary is held by the University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections. This extract from Volume 5: MS489/5