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Inventory Site Record

Springfield Park * (Hackney)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Springfield Park was created on a hilly site that until the C18th was part meadows and part used for commercial purposes. By mid/late C19th three houses and their grounds were here: The Chestnuts, Springfield House and Spring House. Pulham & Co are known to have undertaken some work for C Jacomb at Springfield Park in 1871. In 1904/5 all 3 houses were purchased by the LCC and a new public park laid out, retaining much of the C19th landscaping. Springfield House, known as White Lodge, remains as do C19th stables, but other buildings were demolished. The park was laid out with numerous paths, areas of woodland, shrubberies, open lawn and grassland, a bandstand and bowling green. Tennis courts were added in the 1930s. There is a fine collection of mature trees. The eastern edge abuts a path along the River Lea, beyond which are Walthamstow Marshes.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
The Chestnuts; Springfield House; Spring House
Site location:
Springfield/Spring Hill
Postcode:
E5 9EF
What 3 Words:
wider.create.edit
Type of site:
Public Park
Borough:
Hackney
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
7.30am-4.30pm (winter)/9.30pm (summer). Café open daily 10am-6pm (summer season).
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Toilets, Springfield Park Café; 2 play areas; ping pong table, football/cricket pitches, tennis courts, outdoor chessboards, seasonal athletics track
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Manor House (Piccadilly) then bus. Rail: Clapton. Bus: 253, 254, 318, 393.
Research updated:
01/07/2021
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

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

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

Springfield Park was created on land which until the C18th was partly meadows and partly used for various commercial purposes including tile making, calico manufacture, and a varnish factory. These enterprises were served by Giles's Dock, a channel of water where barges were loaded and which led to the River Lea. By the mid/late C18th three houses and their grounds were laid out on the site; the 1868 OS map indicates that the gardens were typical villa gardens of this period. In what became the central area of the park was The Chestnuts, an C18th house served by a lodge to the north on Spring Hill. Springfield House, now known as White Lodge and used as a park café and offices, and Spring House, both C19th villas, occupied the south-west and north-west corners of the park respectively. Pulham & Co are known to have undertaken some work for C Jacomb at Springfield Park in 1871.

In 1904/5 all 3 houses were purchased by the London County Council and the new park was laid out by J J Sexby, Chief Officer of the LCC Parks Department, retaining much of the C19th layout of these grounds although Spring House, The Chestnuts and a number of cottages were demolished; the park was opened to the public on 5 August 1905, the former entrances to Spring House and The Chestnuts remaining as entrances to the new park. After 1905 Spring Lane, which ran north / south through the middle of the park, was diverted but since then the park has remained largely unchanged. The main entrance has a shrub-lined driveway that leads to lawns with flower beds and the White Lodge; to the east of the Lodge is a pond with wooded island, which was enlarged after 1905 from an earlier pond. The C19th stables, now offices, still stand to the north of the drive, with a late C20th greenhouse on the site of the C19th glasshouses and frameyard, which now houses tropical plants and a visitor centre.

The park was laid out with numerous paths running through its areas of woodland, shrubberies and more open area of lawn and grassland. Throughout are numerous mature trees of a variety of species, many of which are labelled, including foxglove tree, tulip tree, swamp cypress, holm oak, beech, hornbeam, walnut, and many more. A circular bandstand is found to the north-east of the wooded area, and a bowling green is in the south east corner, both of which date from the early C20th. New facilities were added including toilet facilities in 1906 and tennis courts in the 1930s. Trees line the eastern edge of the park that abuts a path along the River Lea.

Funding has been secured to undertake restoration works to the White House and Stable Block and the existing glasshouse will be replaced as it is no longer fit for purpose and public access to the new glasshouse will be improved.

The walled garden area in Springfield Park is the site of one of Growing Communities' urban market gardens, joining those at Allens Gardens (q.v.) and Clissold Park (q.v.), where the project began in 1996. The market gardens at Allens Gardens and Springfield Park are now the project's main growing sites. Growing Communities is a community-led organisation based in Hackney. All three of the market gardens are certified by the Soil Association and were the first organically certified food growing land in London. The project specialises in salad leaves and is the only London box scheme to include organic salad grown in Hackney in its vegetable bags. They employ a part-time Grower and an Assistant Grower, who are assisted by two Apprentice Growers and a volunteer work team.

Sources consulted:

NHLE: see register bibliography. LCC booklet, 'Opening of Springfield Park, Upper Clapton, 5th August 1905'; early C20th notes by Florence Bagust in Hackney Archives.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ345875 (534614,187533)
Size in hectares:
16
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service; Springfield Park User Group
Date(s):
1905
Designer(s):
J J Sexby
Listed structures:
LBII: White Lodge, C19th Lodge
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Yes
NHLE grade:
Grade II
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:
Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Landscape Interest
Other LA designation:
Local nature reserve; 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.