Inventory Site Record

Markfield Park (Haringey)

Brief Description

The name Markfields from which Markfield Park takes its name appears to date back to the Middle Ages and the fields were in the Manor of Tottenham. In 1798 William Hobson built Markfield House here, whose grounds included lawns, kitchen gardens, orchard and wooded parkland. John Constable is known to have been a visitor, painting the local area. In 1879 the estate was sold to developers, and the house demolished. In 1929 18 acres of the former estate were compulsorily purchased by Tottenham Borough Council to safeguard it from development. School playing fields were created on part of the land, with the remainder laid out as a recreation ground; some funding was received from the King George's Fields Foundation. To the north the park abuts land that was once sewage works on which the Markfield Road Pumping Station still stands, now restored as part of restoration works in the park completed in 2010.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Markfield Recreation Ground including King George's Field
Site location:
Gladesmore Road/Crowland Road, Tottenham
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
dawn to dusk
Special conditions:
playing fields, playground, bowling green; café
Public transport:
London Overground: South Tottenham. Bus 318
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.haringey.gov.uk; www.markfieldpark.org.uk

Full Site Description

The name Markfields from which the Recreation Ground takes its name appears to date back to the Middle Ages, the fields so-named due to their proximity to the parish boundary markers. 1619 is the earliest recorded date when Markfields, 18 acres of pasture, were leased to Edward Barkham by the Lord of the Manor of Tottenham, Earl of Dorset. The land were still part of the manor in 1793 when William Hobson (1752-1840), a wealthy building contractor then living in Southwark, leased Markfields and built Markfield House in 1798. At that time Tottenham was a fashionable rural village. Hobson probably purchased the freehold in c.1805 following the sale of the manors to Sir William Curtis who then sold the land to raise capital. Hobson also bought the nearby Hillfield estate, and his property here was c.37 acres. He was reputed to have been involved in building London docks, and in 1804 was contracted to build the network of Martello Towers along the country's south and east coasts as a defence against feared invasion by the French. Although a Quaker, Hobson, his wife and their family of 16 children were time and again in some conflict with the Quaker movement, due to their liking for hunting, opera, music, dancing and other 'diversions'. The grounds of Markfield House included lawns, kitchen gardens, orchard and wooded parkland. The then little known painter John Constable is known to have stayed at Markfield House in 1806, and he painted the domestic life of the household as well as the surrounding area; a painting of All Hallows Church Tottenham (q.v.) now in New York may date from this period.

After William Hobson's death, there were various tenants and owners until 1879 when the estate was sold to developers. The house was demolished in 1880 to make way for new housing; its site had been between Lealand and Gladesmore Roads to the east of Fairview Road. In 1929 18 acres of the former estate lands, which were at that time allotments, were compulsorily purchased by Tottenham Borough Council in order to safeguard it from building development. School playing fields were created on 4.5 acres with the remainder to be used to create the recreation ground. The Council paid £12,141 for the land and received a further £6,071 from Middlesex County Council. Laying out the park cost a further £13,916, with a £2,000 grant from King George's Fields Foundation. At the main entrance off Crowland Road the gate piers have a stone plaque on either side, commemorating King George V. King George's Fields Foundation, set up following King George's death in 1936, provided funding for the creation or improvement of a great many playing fields.

The first facilities to be provided here were 3 football pitches, 2 cricket tables and a playground, and subsequently 6 tennis courts, a bowling green, putting green and a garden of rest, this latter 'for those not wishing to participate in active sports', which remains as a rose garden. Markfield Recreation Ground - King George's Field was opened on 25 July 1938 by the Mayor of Tottenham as part of the National Memorial to King George V. A plaque on the pavilion records the opening on 21 June 1975 of an Astrid-Turf Cricket Pitch, funded by the National and Greater London Playing Fields Associations, King George's Fields Maintenance Fund and the Lord's Taverners.

To the north the Recreation Ground abuts land that was once sewage works on which the Markfield Road Pumping Station still stands. This historic building houses a 100 HP Woolf compound beam engine with unusual riveted beam, dated 1886 and made by Wood Bros.. It was last in use in 1964, and is preserved by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and Industrial Archaeology Group. The building next door was converted in 1986 into a children's play centre, the Markfield Project, and the former sludge settlement tanks dating from the 1850s were converted to various play areas, adventure playgrounds and gardens, now derelict. The tennis courts to the south of the bowling green became the car park for a sports centre; the bowling green was later overgrown and the pavilion closed.

Since 2006 the park has undergone a complete £3.8m refurbishment funded through a number of sources including HLF, Football Foundation, DCLG and Big Lottery Fund. The refurbishment was completed in 2010, with an official opening event on 13 June. It included the construction of a new café and park toilets, improved sports pavilion, new playground, restoration of the Markfield Beam Engine, heritage building works to the Markfield Museum and general landscape improvements throughout the park.

Sources consulted:

Ian Murray, Markfield House, Tottenham (article, source unknown/no date - ?Hornsey Historical Society); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ342886 (534304,188713)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Haringey
Site management:
Parks Service (Tottenham Hale Neighbourhood)/ Friends of Markfield Recreation Ground
Borough Engineer
Listed structures:
LBII: Pumping Station building + Engine (to check listing)
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:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character
Other LA designation:

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.