The most useful book I found in the library was written by Hanley Park's landscape designer, Thomas H. Mawson. The book, simply titled Hanley Park, was written before the park was built and gives details of the proposed design of the park. See excerpts below:
The Public Park: It's use & beauty
"It may, however, be asked, "If planning or an arrangement of recreation grounds does not constitute a park what does? On this point there is something fascinating in the expressions of the late J.D. Sedding. He says of a garden - which is equally true of a park - " It is a man's report of earth at her best. It is earth emancipated from the commonplace... It is man's love of loveliness carried to excess. Man's craving for the ideal grown to a fine lunacy." Again he says, " So we arrive at these conclusions - a garden is made to express man's delight in beauty, and to gratify his instincts for idealisation."... Sedding's expressions may be rather too poetic, they nevertheless show that he had a very high conception of the possibilities of garden imagery."
Lawns and Plantations
"However much failure there may be in the Plantations owing to the smoke and fumes, there is no question at to the possibility of obtaining a refreshing green sward, and that is something to be thankful for."
"Respecting the Plantations I wish to repeat, that single specimen trees are out of the question altogether. It is only by planting in large masses of those things which have been proved to succeed in the neighbourhood, that anything like effect can be obtained."
"A straight row of trees or an avenue may give an effect the reverse to monotonous, and a mass of foliage may also be arranged so as to give the most pleasing variety; but it should be borne in mind that the very same ground outline may, through injudicious arrangement, give and impression analoglous to that produced by a piece of vulgar sculpture."
To be continued...