Inventory Site Record

Harrow Recreation Ground

Harrow Recreation Ground (Harrow)

Brief Description

Harrow Recreation Ground opened in 1885, the land purchased as a result of fund-raising initiated by one of the Masters at Harrow School. Laid out with facilities for sports clubs and 4 areas for public recreation, the park has long been associated with Harrow St Mary's Sports Club and Harrow Bowls Club, the latter founded in 1902. Original wrought iron gates are found at a number of entrances. An avenue of oak trees were planted along a central path by outgoing Mayors of the borough from 1989-2004.

Practical Information
Site location:
Greenhill Way/Pinner Road, Harrow
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Football pitches, cricket squares, bowling green, children's play area, tennis courts, basketball court, car park
Various events organised by Harrow Recreation Ground Users Association
Public transport:
Tube/Rail: Harrow on the Hill (Metropolitan). Bus: 183, H14, H18, H19

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.;

Full Site Description

Harrow Recreation Ground was created as a result of fund-raising initiated by Charles Colbeck, who was Assistant Headmaster at Harrow School. Backed by the Recreation Ground Committee set up for the purpose, the necessary funds were raised to purchase a field of some 14 acres, now the area at the top of the current park. The impetus came from the desire to provide the population of Harrow with space for sport and recreation at a time when the area was beginning to be developed and the open land built over for housing. The cost of the Recreation Ground was £3000 and when it was opened on 9 May 1885 there was still a deficit to raise. The opening ceremony included a large parade and procession headed by the Town Brass Band. Among those participating were boys and masters from Harrow School and John Lyon Lower School, local sports clubs, as well as the fire brigade and Middlesex Rifle Volunteers. Dignitaries included the Earl of Bessborough, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. In his concluding speech Mr Roundell spoke of '. . . the pleasure of seeing dedicated to the use of the inhabitants of Harrow this spacious ground, where old English games of healthful recreation will flourish for all time to come.' In 1889, further areas of land were conveyed by the parish of Harrow to enlarge the park and the last enlargement of over 6 acres was the result of the purchase of a field between Beresford Road and Cunningham Park from Major F S Winkley, overseer of the poor of Harrow on the Hill.

The recreation ground was predominantly created for sports with much of the area reserved for use by various local sports clubs. Those with an early association with the recreation ground included Harrow St Mary's Sports Club, whose timber pavilion was erected in 1886 near the entrance at Greenhill Way/Pinner Road, where a drinking fountain is located. The club's original pavilion was rebuilt in 1994 following an arson attack; a plaque on the small brick pavilion records the origins of the park. In 1902 Harrow Bowls Club was founded by Thomas Dell, and in 1907, at the request of Harrow Athletic Club, a rifle range was opened on 19 October by General Sir John French. Records in 1911 list use of the park by 4 cricket clubs, 5 football clubs, 29 tennis clubs and a bowling club.

The wrought iron gates at the Pinner Road entrance to the park were installed in 1910 to commemorate the Coronation of George V. The entrance at Cunningham Road was initially a 10 foot wide private right of way, which Harrow UDC purchased in 1911 for £60 from Pinner Parish Council, although this led to many complaints by the immediate residents. A new park entrance was made in Roxborough Road in 1925, at the request of the various sports clubs.

The park's original layout included a number of timber seating shelters, some of which remain and have been refurbished in recent years. The brick building now used for storage by the Club was formerly a gents toilet. Over the decades the facilities provided in the recreation ground have reflected changing sports needs and fashions, with the original grass tennis courts later used for croquet and more recently football, and the putting green now a children's play area. In the 1960s the Hazard Golf Course was created, but has since been removed, and at one time hockey was popular. A new playground in the park has state of the art equipment, including a roundabout accessible to wheelchair users, and there is a sensory garden, which was created in 2002 on the site of the former tennis pavilion that burnt down in the 1980s. A number of recent improvements in the park have been enabled by the proceeds from selling the Ladies Bowling Green in Salisbury Road in 1988.

The park is planted throughout with trees, including evergreens and conifers, with shrubs around the park's perimeter. The eastern boundary has mature lime trees, with horse chestnuts and oaks on the western boundary that date from the original planting. Within the park are a number of field oaks and other trees that predate the park, when it was in use for agricultural purposes. The Mayoral Oak Avenue was instituted in 1989 by the then Mayor Councillor Cripps, and from then until 2004 each outgoing Mayor planted a pedunculate oak tree to complete the avenue. Harrow Recreation Ground Users Association was formed in 1990.

Sources consulted:

LB Harrow, 'Harrow Recreation Ground Management and Improvement Plan 2006-2011', 2009

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ147885 (514770,188560)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Harrow
Site management:
Environmental Services, Parks Services; Harrow Recreation Ground Users Association
Listed structures:
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:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Open Space

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