Inventory Site Record

Clapton Pond (Hackney)

Brief Description

Clapton Pond today consists of two small enclosures divided by Newick Road, the south side laid out with a bridged pond purportedly dug in the C17th. The pond, once the heart of the village of Clapton, was used as a reservoir for water supplied to the village in the early C18th and then between 1760-1833, the water brought via pipes from the River Lee. In 1898 Hackney District Board acquired Clapton Pond for public gardens. They were re-landscaped in 1977-79 retaining the bridge and most of the trees including a number of semi-mature Willows, the gardens particularly replanted with shrubs.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Lower Clapton Gardens
Site location:
Lower Clapton Road/Newick Road
E5 0QA
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk (summer 9.30pm, winter 4pm).
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 5 times, most recently in 2011.
Special conditions:
Has participated in OGSW
Public transport:
Rail: Clapton. Bus: 38, 48, 55, 106, 253, 254, S2.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk/clapton-pond.htm; www.claptonpond.org

Full Site Description

Clapton Pond today consists of two small garden enclosures divided by Newick Road, the south side laid out with a bridged pond purportedly dug in the C17th. The pond was the heart of the village of Clapton, the name meaning the 'Farm on the Hill' in Anglo Saxon. From c.1707/9 the pond became a reservoir to supply the locality with water, which was brought up via pipes or wooden conduits from a weir at Jeremy's Ferry, north of Lee Bridge on the River Lee. These waterworks had been set up under the auspices of the lord of the manor, Francis Tyssen II, but fell into disrepair after the death of Tyssen's son in 1717. Although the water system was then taken over by John Ward, a speculator with plans to expand it, these did not come to fruition since in 1724 he was convicted of forgery. The pond was later restored as a reservoir in 1760 and it continued to supply water to the area until 1833, when a new canal was cut to take water to Old Ford and Hackney's supply was re-routed, making Clapton Pond redundant as a reservoir. Hackney District Board later acquired Clapton Pond in 1898 as a public garden. The gardens were re-landscaped in 1977-79 by Hackney Council, retaining the bridge, most of the trees which included a number of semi-mature Willows, and replanting particularly with shrubs. The Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group was set up to conserve and improve the gardens.

Pond House built in c.1800 overlooks the garden, and nearby are the Bishop Wood's Almshouses, built in 1665 under the provisions of the will of Thomas Wood, the Bishop of Lichfield who came from Hackney. The almshouses provided for 10 widows of over 60 years old and Wood's will also provided the expenses for a twice-weekly chaplain. The chapel seating 10 people is reputedly Britain's smallest chapel. The six one-storey almshouses were restored in 1888 and again in 1930; they were requisitioned during war-time and re-opened in 1948.

In 2004 funds were successfully raised by the Clapton Pond User Group, which had formed in 2002, to implement modern improvements to this historic space. As a result of the restoration project, Clapton Pond has become a vibrant and well used community park.

Sources consulted:

Parks and Open Spaces in Hackney, A Report by the Hackney Society, London 1980; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Victoria County History; David Mander, Strength in the Tower, an Illustrated History of Hackney (Sutton) 1998

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ349859 (534938,185932)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service; Clapton Pond User Group
1660s onwards; C19th; 1977-79
Listed structures:
LBII*: Pond House (162 Lower Clapton Road). LBII: left forecourt walls and stable building to north of Pond House; Bishop Wood's Almshouses, Nos. 158 & 160 Lower Clapton Road
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:
Conservation Area name:
Clapton Pond
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Open Space; Green Link

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.