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Inventory Site Record

Hackney Road Recreation Ground (Hackney)

Brief Description

Hackney Road Recreation Ground was the site of a former burial ground in the C18th, Shoreditch Burying Ground, superseded in the C19th by a range of almshouses. The site still contains one memorial stone marking the grave of Thomas Fairchild (d.1729), a leading nurseryman and botanist. Fairchild's Nursery in Shoreditch existed from 1691 to 1740 and specialised in flowering plants. His tomb here was restored by The Gardeners Company in 1846, 1891 and again in 1949. The site became a recreation ground in the C20th, providing tennis courts and a planted area with paths, seating and shrubs in timber planters, and a number of mature plane trees.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Shoreditch Old Burial Ground
Site location:
Hackney Road
Postcode:
E2
What 3 Words:
bunny.long.joined
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Hackney
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Tennis court, ping pong table
Events:
Public transport:
London Overground: Shoreditch High Street. Bus: 56, 48, 55
Research updated:
01/07/2009
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk/hackney-road-recreation-ground.htm

Full Site Description

Hackney Road Recreation Ground was formerly the site of Shoreditch Burying Ground in the C18th, which was superseded in the C19th by a range of almshouses. The site still contains one memorial stone marking the grave of Thomas Fairchild (d.1729) who, according to the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, was buried 'by his own request in the furthest corner of the churchyard of the Parish of St Leonard in Shoreditch [q.v.], where the poor were usually buried, some 200 yards from the church'. His tomb was restored by The Gardeners Company in 1846, 1891 and again in 1949. Fairchild was a leading early C18th nurseryman and botanist, and first publicist of London Town Gardening with his publication of 'The City Gardener' in 1722 in which he described all the plants that would thrive in the polluted air of the capital. In c.1717 Fairchild crossed the Carnation with the Sweet William to create 'Fairchild's Mule'. He was head of the London Society of Gardeners, which published the first union-catalogue of stock in 1730. Fairchild's Nursery was in Shoreditch from 1691 - 1740 and specialised in flowering plants.

Writing in 1896, Mrs Basil Homes referred to an 'ancient watch-house' in the burial ground that was later used as a cholera hospital. In 1892 it was laid out by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association as a public playground and was maintained by the Shoreditch Burial Ground. It later provided tennis courts and a planted area with paths, seating and shrubs in timber planters, and now has a ping pong table. The site is bordered on Hackney Road by iron railings with a gateway featuring a sunburst above it. The Recreation Ground is currently home to artist Tom Wolseley, who is exhibiting his Cabin/et exhibition. His artwork occupies a recycled shipping container, and changes on a monthly basis.

Sources consulted:

John Harvey 'The Nursery Garden' (Museum of London) 1990; Mrs Basil Holmes 'The London Burial Grounds', London 1896

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ335828 (533572,182855)
Size in hectares:
0.2025
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service; Friends of Hackney Road Recreation Ground
Date(s):
C18th, C19th; 1892
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:
No
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.