IN the l880s, the grounds of Clissold Park and the adjacent Newington Common were threatened with development. Two prominent campaigners, Joseph Beck of the City of London and John Runtz of the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW), persuaded the board of the MBW to buy the land and create a public park.
On 24 July 1889, Clissold Park was opened by the newly-formed London County Council (LCC). The two ponds of the park are named the Beckmere and the Runtzmere in honour of the two principal founders.
Clissold Mansion, a Grade-II-listed building, dates back to the 1790s, when it was built for Jonathan Hoare, a local Quaker. In 1811 the house passed into the ownership of the Crawshay family, one of whose daughters was courted by the Reverend Augustus Clissold, who, on acquiring the ownership of the estate after marriage, changed the name to Clissold Place.
The short stretch of water in front of Clissold House was once part of the New River, which ran from twenty miles outside London, supplying drinking water to the capital.
Clissold Park in LB Hackney has won a £339,000 development grant to kick-start regeneration plans. The grant has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund's £160m 'Parks for People' initiative.
Hackney Council will use the money to further work up an £8 million scheme to regenerate this much-loved park, recently voted the 'Heart of Hackney'. LB Hackney is looking for £4.5m in grants and will itself contribute £2.5m.
Sue Bowers, HLF Manager for London said: "We're delighted that Hackney has been given the green light to develop their plans for Clissold Park. The proposed work will ensure a much-improved environment for everyone who uses the park."
Like many other great London parks, Clissold was managed and maintained by the LCC until the abolition of the GLC in 1986, when it passed into the hands of Hackney Council. The 54-acre park has a very wide range of tree species, and for many years the larger pond was used as a boating lake.
The aim of the proposed restoration is to conserve and enhance the park based on its original nineteenth-century design, while making sure it caters for the needs of present day users. Local residents, schools, community organisations, and businesses were all involved in the development of the proposals and helped to shape the successful bid.
Specific aims include:
Lead consultants will be appointed by autumn 2007 and the final designs should be ready by spring 2008. Download information from Hackney council website: http:/www.hackney.gov.uk/ (in new window).
The Clissold Park User Group (CPUG) www.clissoldpark.com has been campaigning locally to improve Clissold Park for more than ten years and has been working closely with the Council on the grant application. It meets every two months on average, and meetings are open to all, usually lasting no more than an hour. If you want to participate in the CPUG go along to meetings or get in touch via the Rangers' office or by emailing: clissoldpug at yahoo,qroups.co.uk.
There will be a public meeting to discuss Sports and Events in Clissold Park - as part of the lottery-funded refurbishment - on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 from 7.30 to 9 pm, New Church Rooms, St Mary's Church, Stoke Newington Church Street.
TOTTENHAM Marshes have long been popular for leisure activities. On Bank Holiday Monday in 1877, 20,000 day- trippers travelled to Bruce Grove Station to spend the day on the Marshes and to go dancing at the Ferry Boat Inn in the evening. In the 1920s, Tottenham Marshes had tennis courts, miniature golf, cricket, football and an open-air swimming pool fed from the river. However, after the war, from 1945 the area was neglected and used for gravel extraction and as a rubbish dump.
An Act of Parliament in 1965 created the Lee Valley Park Authority and in 1972 it bought Tottenham Marshes. Artists and local schools have been involved in creating ceramic information boards and pictorial maps for the site.
Markfield Park on the Marshes contains the remains of an old sewage works, including a beam engine built in 1886, which has been restored and is now open to the public. In 2006 Markfield Project (a local charity) and local people teamed up to transform the derelict old filter beds in Markfield Park into a nature garden.
Now the park is bidding for Heritage Lottery Funding. It has been awarded £22,900 to develop its application and submit a Stage 2 application in September 2007 for the full £1.5 million it is seeking to upgrade the park. Additional funds for the scheme have already been secured from the Department for Communities & Local Government and the LB Haringey. Over the spring and summer, existing plans for the park have been developed. These will give the HLF much more detail about what the new Markfield Park will look like.
The plans can be found on the Council's web site at www.haringey.gov.uk. If you would like to participate in the future planning process, there will be a final drop-in session at Gladesmore Community School between 6 and 9pm in the main foyer from the Gladesmore Road entrance on Thursday 6 September.If you would like to make any comments before then or ask any questions please contact Jan Wilson, Senior Project Officer, on 020 8489 5717 or email jan.wilson at haringey.gov.uk.
BISHOP'S Park, Fulham, with over 13 acres of gardens, is situated just west and north of Putney Bridge, next to Fulham Palace. This is on the river, opposite where the annual Oxford & Cambridge University Boat Race begins.
At LB Hammersmith & Fulham, plans are underway for the restoration and improvement of Bishop's Park with the production and submission of a Heritage Lottery Fund Stage 1 application scheduled for 30 September 2007. Website: http://www.savebishopspark.com/ (opens in new window).