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Parsloes Park Barking & Dagenham

Parsloes Park

Parsloes Park, May 1999. Photo: S Williams

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Parsloes Park derives its name from the Passelewe family, who held the land from c.1250. In 1901 part of the estate was leased to the National Trotting Horse Breeders Association for an American-style trotting track. In 1923 the London County Council acquired the estate to build the Becontree Housing Estate, whose official completion was celebrated by the opening of Parsloes Park in July 1935, the central open space of the new estate. Much of the 1930s layout remains. The northern end consisted of playing fields, with large public gardens in the south-west, and the remainder levelled as unrailed open space partly for sports but mostly ‘free for people to walk and children to play upon’.
Previous / Other name: Parsloes Manor
Site location: Gale Street/Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham, Essex
Postcode: RM9
Type of site: Public Park 
Date(s): 1935
Designer(s): G Topham Forrest, architect to the LCC for the Becontree Estate
Listed structures:
Borough: Barking & Dagenham
Site ownership: LB Barking & Dagenham
Site management: Parks & Countryside Ranger Service
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions: Charges for some sports activities
Facilities: Children's play area, football pitches, tennis courts,basketball court, bowling green, lake
Public transport: Tube: Becontree or Dagenham Heathway (District). Bus: 62, 145, 364.
Parsloes Park, View of northern area, May 1999. Photo: S Williams
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Parsloes Park, Lake, May 1999. Photo: S Williams
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2002
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

Built upon over 100 acres of grounds of the former Manor of Parsloes, Parsloes Park derives its name from the former C13th owners, the Passelewe family, who held the land from c1250. The property passed into secular hands at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and was subsequently held by three Mayors of London, the last being Sir Edward Osborne, whose grandson sold the estate to William Fanshawe of Fanshawe Gate in Derbyshire in 1619. The Fanshawes built the Manor House and lived there until the mid C19th when, having fallen into debt, they let the house out to various tenants including the family of Lord Denman, Lord Chief Justice. The Fanshawe's fine collection of portraits were presented to the borough and can be seen in Valence House (q.v.). The Manor House stood in the middle of the C18th park where a group of elms could still be seen in the 1960s. The Manor House was enlarged and given gothic treatment in c.1843 but then fell into disrepair and was a ruin by 1900; it was subsequently demolished in 1925. Two houses in Stevens Road are built from Parsloes bricks.

In 1901 the National Trotting Horse Breeders Association leased part of the estate and opened an American-style trotting track in the park, used for competitions until 1923 when the LCC acquired the estate for the Becontree Housing Estate - at over 4 square miles probably the largest housing estate in the UK; the main contract of over 25,000 dwellings was constructed between 1921-34. The official completion of the Estate was celebrated by the opening of Parsloes Park in July 1935, the central open space of the new estate, laid out at a cost of £30,000, towards which City Parochial Trust gave £5,000. The northern end was to consist of playing fields, and in the south west large public gardens, the remainder to be levelled as an open space of trees and grass without railings partly for football, cricket, and tennis but mostly ‘free for people to walk and children to play upon’. Much of the 1930s layout remains: pavilion, bowling green, today screened by Cotoneaster hedge, rose garden and formal beds, paths and trees, the large pond with islands in south-west corner of the park, children’s paddling pool. Some notable oaks and horse chestnuts on east boundary. Ownership of the park was transferred to LB Barking & Dagenham in 1980.

Sources consulted:

Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987); John G. O'Leary, 'The Book of Dagenham, A History', 3rd ed 1964; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster', (Hodder & Stoughton, 1972); James Howson 'A Brief History of Barking & Dagenham' (LBBD Libraries Dept, 6th ed 1990)
Grid ref: TQ482849
Size in hectares: 59.61
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
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: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes (part) - Borough Importance II
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Local Nature Reserve

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