Stratford Park (Newham)
West Ham Lane Recreation Ground opened in stages between 1899 and 1912 as the Borough Council acquired parcels of land for its new park. The 1st section next to Whalebone Lane was once part of the grounds of a grand house that had belonged to the Archdeacon of Essex and the estate included land and houses on the west side of West Ham Lane. The freehold was sold to West Ham Council in 1899. The recreation ground was probably the last in the series of parks created in West Ham in the 1890s as part of an initiative to provide public open space as the area was developed for housing. The park was renamed Stratford Park in the late 1990s. A number of the early features remain, including its layout of paths, mature trees, park buildings such as toilets, park shelter, and ornamental fountain, although the bandstand no longer exists, a new performance structure erected on the site in recent years. Bedding displays continue to be a feature of the park.
- Previous / Other name:
- West Ham Lane Recreation Ground
- Site location:
- West Ham Lane/Densham Road, Stratford
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Public Park
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- dawn to dusk
- Special conditions:
- Children's play area, tennis, netball and basketball courts, paddling pool, bowling green, multi-use games court
- Public transport:
- London Overground/DLR/Rail/Tube (Central, Jubilee): Stratford. Bus: 69, 104, 238, 241, 262, 473.
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.newham.gov.uk/EntertainmentandLeisure/ParksInNewham/ParksA-Z
Full Site Description
Until 1998/9 Stratford Park was known as West Ham Lane Recreation Ground, the land for which was acquired by West Ham Borough Council in four lots moving from north to south. It was laid out between 1899 and 1912, although the overall design was prepared in 1899. The park opened in stages from 1899 as work was completed, although prior to opening it was used for occasional events such as circuses and fairs. The section of the park that abuts Whalebone Lane was formerly part of the grounds of a grand house named 'Senables' or 'Sanables', which had belonged by rights of office to the Archdeacon of Essex from the C15th to C18th. By the second half of the C19th the house had gone but the estate was still in the possession of the Archdeacon, and included land and houses on the western side of West Ham Lane. The freehold was conveyed to West Ham Council in 1899. The Borough Survey was asked to submit plans and costs for railings, a bandstand, toilets, a gymnasium, 2 drinking fountains and a refreshment room, and work commenced in September when railings were erected and a dwarf wall built to the north. The 2nd parcel of land was purchased in 1902 and included Eastern Road and adjoining houses. The bandstand, playground, ornamental fountain, sand pit, concert facilities and paths were laid out soon afterwards. The final parcels of land were purchased to the south in 1912, and after 1916 tennis courts, bowling green and a pavilion were provided here, on the area later laid out as floodlit games areas.
The original layout of West Ham Lane Recreation Ground of 1899 has similarities with the earlier Canning Town Recreation Ground (q.v.), which was designed by the landscape gardener of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (Fanny Wilkinson), and so it may have had the same designer. The layout was based around a broad central axis across the park in the middle of which was the bandstand in a circular paved area. A number of curving paths radiated from the bandstand, some of which remain, and a path flanked by trees ran around most of the perimeter of the park. The bandstand is no longer there but most of the trees that surrounded it remain and a central bed of conifers marked its position until 2004/5 when a new performance space was constructed. Just inside the main entrance was a single tier fountain in a raised pool, which has since been replaced by a three tier granite fountain in a pool at ground level, now restored and with modern cast iron railings around it. Paths radiate from the fountain, and the wide walkway leading to the bandstand site has flowering and evergreen shrubs and trees.
The early provision of a playground in the north corner and sports areas in the south, both screened by trees and shrubs, is reflected in the current provision in these locations with some extensions and a modern pavilion added to the north of the tennis courts. In later years the park was extended in the south-east corner, and in 1973 a scented Garden for the Blind was opened. Restoration work was carried out in the 1990s when the park was renamed Stratford Park following public consultation. Near the eastern boundary a black-painted iron post commemorates the Carpenters Company, which had a school in Stratford from 1891-1905 and subsequently offered evening classes with a gym and swimming pool facilities, later existing as the Building Crafts College.
Improvements were made to the children's play area, paddling pool and the floodlit sports area, and an original park shelter was refurbished. The park is situated in a prominent position on West Ham Lane and there are clear views into the park from the main road. Parkside Gardening Project helps out 3 days a week at the park as part of Heritage Care Group's garden project for people with learning and physical disabilities.
LB Newham Parks Archive (Newham Parks Review 1998/99; Landscape Design Associates Report on Heritage Value of 9 Parks, for LB Newham, July 1997; LB Newham Parks: Stratford Park Report (c.2006)
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ393840 (539350,184050)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Newham
- Site management:
- Parks Service; Parkside Gardening Project
- 1899 - 1912
- West Ham Borough Surveyor, possibly with input from MPGA landscape gardener
- 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:
- Green Space to be Protected
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.