Inventory Site Record

Sir Francis Barker Recreation Ground (Kingston)

Brief Description

The recreation ground is named after Sir Francis Barker (d.1922) who had lived at Burnt Stub, a mansion house built between 1906-1911, and he later lived at Barwell Court to the west of the Recreation Ground. Barker gave land for the recreation ground on Leatherhead Road and for relaunching Chessington Cricket Club in 1919, which still has its home here. The recreation ground is largely grassed with some planting of hedges and conifers as boundaries to sports facilities and is bounded by housing to the north with open landscape rising to Winey Hill to the west. The playground was refurbished in 2004 and in 2021 new facilities were added.

Practical Information
Site location:
Leatherhead Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Children's playground, cricket, football pitches, tennis courts
Public transport:
Rail: Chessington South. Bus: 465, 467, K4
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.kingston.gov.uk/browse/environment/parks/recreation_sites

Full Site Description

The earliest record of the Barker family is that of William Barker, who was baptised in 1510 at the village of Claverly, Shropshire. Francis Barker's great-grandfather was William Barker (1738-1825), known as William Barker of Smyrna, who at the age of 21 went to Smyrna (now Izmir), second city of Turkey. He became a Turkey Merchant, having paid the fee that gave him entry to the Levant Company, which had been established by the English Crown in 1581 in order to promote trade with the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. This branch of the Barker family remained in the Middle East, Francis's parents, Alfred James Frederick and Evelina Julia Charnaud eventually returning to England in 1895.

Sir Francis Barker is described as 'one of the foremost international traders of the period' (Davison) and built strong links with Russia, helping Russian refugees including Prince Vladimir Galitzine who came to live at Chessington Hall. He was a director of Vickers Ltd. and a chairman of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. He married Aimee Grace Vere de Vere who was known as ‘Lady Barker’, and lived at Burnt Stub, a mansion that later became the site of Chessington Zoo. In 1919 he gave land for the recreation ground on Leatherhead Road that became the home of Chessington Cricket Club. The Recreation Ground is leased to the Sir Francis Barker Management Committee who manages the land on the Council’s behalf.

Through Kingston's Community Parks Programme improvements and new facilities were completed in the children's play area in 2021, following community consultation in 2020. These have provided for toddler multi-play, trampolining and a new climbing frame.

Sources consulted:

Mark Davison 'Chessington Remembered', 1999; Peter Barker, 'The Barkers of Bakewell and the Middle East', in  Bakewell & District Historical Society, Journal 2019, No. 46

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ175630 (517550,163050)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kingston
Site management:
Sir Francis Barker Management Committee
early C20th?
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:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
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.