Inventory Site Record

Southall Park (Ealing)

Brief Description

Southall Park opened to the public in 1909, the land having been acquired by Southall-Norwood UDC in c.1908. In the C17th it was part of the estate of Christopher Merrick, 2nd largest landowner in the area, whose mansion was originally called Shepherds Haw. In the C19th Southall Park was used as a school and then as a private asylum. In 1883 Southall Park House burnt down with the loss of 6 lives including that of proprietor Dr Boyd, a catastrophe that led to the establishment of Southall Fire Brigade. The Council laid out the grounds with new footpaths and a circular walk, a bandstand, tennis courts, bowling green and play area, a boating lake added in 1922, now a dell. There was formal bedding along principal walks with annual planting of some 40,000 plants from the park's small nursery, and a secluded rose garden. Concerts and garden parties were regularly held and it was the venue for celebrations such as Southall Charter Day in 1936.

Practical Information
Site location:
Uxbridge Road/Park Avenue/Green Drive/Boyd Avenue, Southall
Postcode:
UB1
What 3 Words:
human.aura.squad
Type of site:
Public Park
Borough:
Ealing
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Playground and play centre, multi-use games area, adult exercise area, toilets
Events:
Variety of events take place in the park
Public transport:
Rail: Southall. Bus: 95, 105, 120, 195, 207, 427, 482, 607, H32, E5
Research updated:
01/10/2010
Last minor changes:
14/07/2022

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.ealing.gov.uk/services/environment/parks_and_open_spaces

Full Site Description

Southall Park was opened by the Chairman of Middlesex County Council in 1909, the land having been acquired by Southall - Norwood Urban District Council in c.1908. Prior to this it had formed the grounds of the C19th private asylum of Dr Robert Boyd. In the C17th it was part of Southall Park, the estate of Christopher Merrick, the second largest landowner in the area at the time. In 1698 a charter was obtained by his nephew Francis Merrick to hold a weekly livestock market on his land, which is still held although no longer on part of the park today. The mansion was originally called Shepherds Haw, the name later changed to Southall Park. In the early C19th the estate was owned by Lord Jersey and from 1809-24 Southall Park was used as a school run by a Dr John Collins catering for foreign Roman Catholic boys. By 1855 it had become a private lunatic asylum, which was first owned by Sir Williams Ellis, who had been the first superintendent of the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum from 1831-38, followed by Lady Ellis, before it was owned by Dr Robert Boyd. On 14 August 1883 Southall Park House burnt down, with the loss of 6 lives including that of Dr Boyd and his son William; the tennis courts near Boyd Avenue are on its former site. As a result of this catastrophe Southall Fire Brigade was established.

Southall was a rural area until the arrival of the railways, following which factories and industries built up, such as the Otto Monsted Margarine Works, which by 1900 was producing 500 tons of margarine a week. When the Council laid out the park, it constructed new footpaths and a circular walk within the former grounds, provided a bandstand and later a boating lake, as well as tennis courts, bowling green and play area, and a pavilion. The boating lake and canal were constructed in 1922, fed by water siphoned from a well near the entrance to the rose gardens; there was also a children's paddling pool.

The north part of the park today is dominated by playing fields, but there are some mature trees including oak, horse chestnut and lime along the walks that lead to a central grass circle with flower bed. In the south are yew and holm oak, a group of lime trees, as well as young Cedar, laurel, yew and holly around a dell, which was formerly the elaborate boating lake and canal. To the west of the dell was the site of the bandstand.

The Bowling Green was established after WWI and the Southall Bowls Club, founded in 1901, held annual matches until WWII, resuming after the war in 1957. Tennis proved very popular with 13,000 players recorded using the courts in 1934/5. Concerts and garden parties were regularly staged and the park was also used for Horticultural Exhibitions, as well as local celebrations such as Silver Jubilee Celebrations for King George in 1935 and Southall's Charter Day on 24 September 1936 when sports, a historical pageant, tea for the old and fireworks were part of the proceedings. Formal bedding was laid out along the principal walks, with annual planting of some 40,000 plants, the park having its own small nursery, and there was a rose garden in a secluded part of the park.

In 1965 when Southall Borough Council became part of the new London Borough of Ealing under the Local Government Act, responsibility for the park transferred to the new authority and the features listed in the transfer included the Park Keeper's Lodge near the north entrance gates, 14 hard tennis courts, Bowling Green with 6 rinks, 2 Putting Greens, 2 football pitches and sports pavilion, children's playground, Bandstand and the Boating Lake. The lodge with barge-boards is now surrounded by hedging. In the south-west corner are brick gate piers with fragments of wall on the eastern pier; the north-west corner has brick gate piers and lodge. In 2003 a nature conservation area was created in the south, adjacent to which a pond was restored and new planting of a cornflower meadow and planted copse was laid out. In 2007 a woodland walk with hoggin paths, birch copse and holly and yew hedge was created.

Sources consulted:

Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); LB Ealing Southall Park Heritage information on website; T F T Baker, J S Cockburn, R B Pugh (Eds), Diane K Bolton, H P F King, Gillian Wyld, D C Yaxley, 'A History of the County of Middlesex: Vol 4: Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood with Southall, Hillingdon with Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow with Pinner' (Victoria County History, 1971); Jonathan Oates, 'Images of England: Southall' (Tempus, 2001, 2003 ed)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ132802 (513243,180221)
Size in hectares:
10.83
Site ownership:
LB Ealing
Site management:
Leisure & Parks Service; West Ranger Team
Date(s):
1908/09
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
None
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
No
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
None

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.