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Inventory Site Record

Millfields Park (Hackney)

Brief Description

Millfields Park is former Lammas land in the Manor of Hackney, the name arising from a C14th corn mill on the river Lee/Lea in use until the late C18th. A second mill was built in 1443 at which time the names North Mill Field and South Mill Field came into use. They comprised strips held by tenants of the Manor until at least the mid C18th. The Millfields were saved from development following a petition to preserve 180 acres of common land in Hackney for public use. Millfields Recreation Grounds were laid out and opened in 1884, the LCC having acquired 23.25 acres of Mill Field North and 34.25 acres of Mill Field South. There was a sports stadium in the park from 1894-1913, but this was demolished in 1980 when Millfields Estate was built.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
North Millfields and South Millfields; South Millfields; North and South Millfields Recreation Grounds
Site location:
Leabridge Road/Chatsworth Road
Postcode:
E5 0AR
What 3 Words:
unfair.facing.sleeps
Type of site:
Public Park
Borough:
Hackney
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Play area (north area); tennis courts, football pitch (south area), cricket pitch, basketball, trim trail, athletics track (seasonal).
Events:
Various
Public transport:
Rail: Clapton. Bus: 38. 48. 55, 56, 242, 253, 254, 393, S2
Research updated:
01/09/2010
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Now known as Millfields Park, the former Millfields Recreation Grounds were previously Lammas land, which was laid out as a park in C19th and opened to the public in 1884, the LCC having acquired 23.25 acres of Mill Field North and 34.25 acres of Mill Field South. There have been various archaeological finds in the park. The land here became known as the Mill Field after a famous corn mill on the river Lee/Lea built in 1381 that ground corn and flour for the country and London until the end of the C18th. A second mill was built in 1443 at which time the names North Mill Field and South Mill Field came into use. Lea Bridge Road, formerly Mill Lane, was known as Mill Field Lane from the 1580s until the Lea Valley Bridge was built in 1745, when the road was given its present name. The area was developed in the C18th and C19th with the advent of the railways, Clapton Station opening in 1872 and Chatsworth Road cutting the Mill Fields into 3 sections in the late 1860s.

The Mill Fields were divided into strips and held by tenants of the Manor of Hackney until at least the mid C18th, and later were saved from development as a result of a successful petition to enclose and conserve 180 acres of common land in Hackney for public use, and acquired under the Metropolitan Commons Supplemental Act 1872. Common rights were extinguished by an Act of Parliament 1884. There was a sports stadium in the park in 1894 to 1913, but this was demolished in 1980 when Millfields Estate was built. During WWII crops were grown here. Various sports facilities were proposed over the years, such as a gymnasium, refreshment kiosk and paddling pool for North Millfields in 1937/38, and dressing room accommodation and tennis courts in the 1930s in South Millfields. The open character of the park is framed by avenues of mature London plane and elm trees. The Lea Navigation borders the park and links it to Springfield Park (q.v.) to the north and Hackney Marshes (q.v.) to the south. In time there will also be links to the Olympic Park to the south of the park.

The park today consists of three areas of flat green open space either side of Lea Bridge Road, the south area bisected by Chatsworth Road, which are largely grassed with mature perimeter trees such as London plane, and traversed by paths, some of which are flanked by avenues of trees. A small area of ornamental garden with seats is fenced off, and a children's playground is in North Millfields Recreation Ground. There are railings around most of the spaces.

In 2010 National Grid undertook a consultation to explore the possibility of a new access route to the Millfields Substation through Millfields Park and the results are awaited. Biodiversity improvements are due to be implemented in the park.

Sources consulted:

Information sheet on park board; Lieut. Col J J Sexby, 'The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Space of London (their History and Associations', (Elliott Stock, London, 1895; 1905 edition); Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ353865/TQ356864 (535272,186453)
Size in hectares:
North: 9.94; South: 14.99
Site ownership:
LB Hackney (part registered under the Land Registration Acts)
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service; Millfields User Group
Date(s):
1884
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:

Yes: Common (CL21 & CL22)
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:
Yes - Borough Importance II
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Landscape Character
Other LA designation:
Green Link; Open Space

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.