Inventory Site Record

Plashet Park

Plashet Park (Newham)

Summary

Plashet Park was formerly the grounds of Wood House, a late C18th house. The land was acquired for the park in 1889 and it opened in 1891. Its original layout of paths and trees is relatively intact today although some features, including its bandstand and drinking fountains, have now gone. The bowling green and ornamental gates at the western entrance remain. New facilities were added over the years, and the plant nursery and green houses later became Plashet Zoo where birds were first kept in 1964, now closed.

Basic Details
Site location:
Plashet Grove/Woodhouse Grove/Shrewsbury Road, Forest Gate
Postcode:
E7
Type of site:
Public Park
Date(s):
1891
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII: Passmore Edwards Library
Borough:
Newham
Site ownership:
LB Newham
Site management:
Parks Service
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
dawn to dusk. Zoo: Tue-Sun 10-5pm (summer)/4pm (winter)r
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Children's play area, bowling green, cricket nets, multi-use games court, tennis courts, toilets, café. Zoo
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: East Ham (District/Hammersmith & City). Bus: 101, 104, 147, 238, 300, 325.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.newham.gov.uk/EntertainmentandLeisure/ParksInNewham/ParksA-Z

Further Information
Grid ref:
TQ419844
Size in hectares:
7.2
On EH National Register :
No
EH grade:
None
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 - Local Importance
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
None
Fuller information

Plashet was a small hamlet in the parish of East Ham first mentioned in 1560. The name means 'an enclosure in the wood' recalling that it was once in an area of forest. Plashet House, demolished in 1883, was the former home of the Quaker Fry family between 1784 and 1829, where the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry lived from 1808. Plashet Park was formerly the grounds of Wood House, a late C18th weather-boarded house situated west of High Street North; it is remembered in the name Woodhouse Grove that runs along one side of the park. In 1889 the vicar of East Ham and J H Bethell acquired the land for use as a public park with a grant of £3,000 from the City Parochial Trust towards the cost. The park opened in 1891 and its original layout is relatively intact. Surrounded by a tree-lined perimeter walk, the park was crossed by two straight east / west paths flanked by an avenue of trees as well a further avenue along a curving path across the south eastern corner where a bowling green was sited, still there today. In the centre of the park were a number of small buildings and a bandstand in a circular area surrounded by trees, which had disappeared by 1949 although the circle of trees remains. Two drinking fountains in the park are no longer there, although the original gates at the western entrance survive. Various new features were added over the years including tennis courts and a play area with paddling pool.

The plant nursery for Newham's Parks and Gardens Section previously occupied the site that later became Plashet Zoo where birds including waterfowl were first kept in 1964. Later other animals including goats, ponies, wallabies, llamas and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs were added as the zoo developed and it had a tropical aviary in a former greenhouse, and an ornamental pond with a bridge and fountain. In 1991 the Tropical Butterfly House was opened in another former greenhouse converted by one of the Park Keepers; a third greenhouse was used as a classroom. Since 1992, further improvements and new areas have been developed and a Friends of Plashet Zoo was established in 1996, with a newsletter, 'Arkives'.

The park is surrounded by modern railings but has what appear to be the original gas lamps inscribed 'Ford & Co. Regent Street. London'. There are formal displays at the entrance and a small Garden for the Blind created with the help of pupils of Woodside Comprehensive School was opened in 1976 by the Mayor, Cllr L A Wood. Adjacent to the park's south west corner is the fine red brick and stone Passmore Edwards Public Library, built in 1898-99 by Silvanus Trevail, now Newham Register Office, and the park provides a setting for weddings.

In 2011 Newham Council was consulting on a Masterplan for the park's future development, subject to funding being raised. Since then the Council has been awarded an HLF grant of £66,000 to work up these designs in more detail. After the development plans are completed, an application will be made for a grant of £1.7m to begin work on improving the park.

Sources consulted:

Landscape Design Associates Report on Heritage Value of 9 Parks, for LB Newham, July 1997; LB Newham Parks Archive; John Archer/Ian Yarham, Nature Conservation in Newham, London Ecology Unit, 1991; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Plashet Zoo leaflet.

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