Alexandra Recreation Ground (Bromley)
Alexandra Recreation Ground was laid out by the local council in the late 1880s and opened in September 1891. It is named after Alexandra, wife of the future King Edward VII, who is also commemorated in Alexandra Road that borders the park in the south-east. The original area of the park was what is now north of Maitland Road, the southern part facing Lennard Road was added in 1897. A pond in the south-east corner of the original park pre-dated the recreation ground but was eventually filled in, becoming the site of a bandstand, itself no longer in place. The park was a popular venue for cricket, with Penge Cricket Club playing here.
- Site location:
- Alexandra Road/Maitland Road/Studland Road/Tarragon Grove/Lennard Road/Tannsfield Road, Penge
- SE26 5NH
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Public Park
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- unrestricted, although the playground is probably locked at dusk
- Special conditions:
- Children’s play area; paddling pool and toilets (summer holidays only); bowling green, football pitches.
- Public transport:
- Rail: Penge East. London Overground: Sydenham. Bus: 351
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.bromley.gov.uk; www.friendsofcatorandalexandra.com.
Full Site Description
When Alexandra Recreation Ground was first laid out, this part of Penge was still being developed, with tracts of open land to the east of the main centre of population adjacent to the railway line. Penge became popular after Crystal Palace opened, bringing visitors to the area. When it first opened the park was reached via a roadway between two large properties, now Studland Road, that led to the main area of the park. It consisted of an oval open space with main perimeter paths flanked by trees and other paths within areas of planting in the corners, with a pavilion on the east side and in the south a granite drinking fountain.
The drinking fountain bears the inscription that it was 'Erected by Public Subscription 1877' by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, and 'Re-erected in these Grounds September 1891'. It had originally been located near Beckenham Railway Station, the Association paying £100, with the cost of granite defrayed by local subscription through a Mr Bingham. It was removed from that location in 1891 at the request of the Railway Company and Local Board due to alterations being made to the roadway. According to the Drinking Fountains Association website, this is a Design 29 drinking fountain; it has a dog trough at the base. An extension was added to the recreation ground and opened in June 1897, also recorded in an inscription on the drinking fountain. Facing Lennard Road, this was previously open land to the south of the original park, bordered by Maitland Road to the west and the newly laid out Alexandra Road to the east.
A pond in the south-east corner of the park appears on earlier maps when the area was fields. By 1912 maps show that a central bandstand was located in this part of the park. No longer in existence, this bandstand was manufactured by McCallum & Hope, Ruchill Ironworks in Glasgow and was one of two bandstands commissioned by Beckenham UDC, the other still in existence in Croydon Road Recreation Ground (q.v.). Records show that on 30 January 1905 the UDC commissioned a surveyor to obtain designs and prices for two bandstands after examining 25 designs from 16 contractors. On 6 May a sub-committee recommended the award of the tender for the two bandstands costing £135 each to the McCallum and Hope Iron Foundry provided that the work was executed within 10 weeks. The bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground survives and was listed by Historic England in 2019.
By the early 1930s there were tennis courts in the north, with later maps showing a formally laid out garden south of the courts. By the 1930s the southern end of the original park had a bowling green with pavilion, toilets, and a bandstand on the former site of the pond, and by the 1940s a paddling pool had been added. Cricket was a popular sport played in the park.
Today Alexandra Recreation Ground is an area of relatively level grass with a children’s play area at the southern end, a bowling green to the east, a children’s paddling pool to the west and playing fields to the north. The pavilion is now painted with colourful murals showing the landscape with wild flowers, birds, insects and other wildlife, and includes an image of the former bandstand. Residential housing, partly screened by shrubs and trees on the boundary, surrounds the site. There are mature trees along the western boundary with Maitland Road, and others decorate the park and the children’s play area, which is enclosed within iron railings. Tarmac paths run around the perimeter, these connect the park with the Green Chain path system. A finger post to the south of the bowling green indicates Cator Park (q.v.) 1 mile; Beckenham Place (q.v.) 3 miles; Thamesmead Riverside (q.v.) 16.5 miles to the east and Crystal Palace Park (q.v.) 1.25 miles to the west. The main entrance is in Alexandra Road. The Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground were established in 2008 to encourage better care of both parks, and organise a variety of activities.
Alexandra Recreation Ground is now managed by idverde UK, which in June 2015 was contracted by Bromley Council for the management of the borough's parks, green spaces and countryside service, a relationship that was extended in April 2019 for a further 16 years.
Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987); Bromley Council website 2002; Bandstand: https://www.beckenhamheritagegroup.co.uk/?p=1162. Drinking fountain: http://mdfcta.co.uk/details-f/f179.html .
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ356710 (535690,170930)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Bromley
- Site management:
- idverde; Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground
- 1891; 1897
- Listed structures:
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
- Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
Local Authority Data
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
- On Local List:
- In Conservation Area:
- Tree Preservation Order:
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation:
- Urban Open Space; Green Chain Walk
Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.