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Springfield Park * Hackney
   

Springfield Park *

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* on EH Register of Parks & Gardens of Special Interest

Springfield Park was created on a hilly site that until the C18th was part meadows and part used for commercial purposes. By mid/late C19th three houses and their grounds were here: The Chestnuts, Springfield House and Spring House. Pulham & Co are known to have undertaken some work for C Jacomb at Springfield Park in 1871. In 1904/5 all 3 houses were purchased by the LCC and a new public park laid out, retaining much of the C19th landscaping. Springfield House, known as White Lodge, remains as do C19th stables, but other buildings were demolished. The park was laid out with numerous paths, areas of woodland, shrubberies, open lawn and grassland, a bandstand and bowling green. Tennis courts were added in the 1930s. There is a fine collection of mature trees. The eastern edge abuts a path along the River Lea, beyond which are Walthamstow Marshes.
   
Previous / Other name: The Chestnuts; Springfield House; Spring House
Site location: Springfield/Spring Hill
Postcode: E5 9EF
Type of site: Public Park 
Date(s): 1905
Designer(s): J J Sexby
Listed structures: LBII: White Lodge, C19th Lodge
Borough: Hackney
Site ownership: LB Hackney
Site management: Hackney Parks Service; Springfield Park User Group
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: 7.30am-4.30pm (winter)/9.30pm (summer). Café open daily 10am-6pm (summer season).
Special conditions:
Facilities: Toilets, Springfield Park Café; play area; ping pong table, football/cricket pitches, tennis courts, outdoor chessboards, bowling green (Springfield Park Bowls Club), seasonal athletics track
Events:
Public transport: Tube: Manor House (Piccadilly) then bus. Rail: Clapton. Bus: 253, 254, 318, 393.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk/cp-parks-springfield.htm

Fuller information:

Site on English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, for Register Entry see http://list.english-heritage.org.uk

Springfield Park was created on land which until the C18th was partly meadows and partly used for various commercial purposes including tile making, calico manufacture, and a varnish factory. These enterprises were served by Giles's Dock, a channel of water where barges were loaded and which led to the River Lea. By the mid/late C18th three houses and their grounds were laid out on the site; the 1868 OS map indicates that the gardens were typical villa gardens of this period. In what became the central area of the park was The Chestnuts, an C18th house served by a lodge to the north on Spring Hill. Springfield House, now known as White Lodge and used as a park café and offices, and Spring House, both C19th villas, occupied the south-west and north-west corners of the park respectively. Pulham & Co are known to have undertaken some work for C Jacomb at Springfield Park in 1871.

In 1904/5 all 3 houses were purchased by the London County Council and the new park was laid out by J J Sexby, Chief Officer of the LCC Parks Department, retaining much of the C19th layout of these grounds although Spring House, The Chestnuts and a number of cottages were demolished; the park was opened to the public on 5 August 1905, the former entrances to Spring House and The Chestnuts remaining as entrances to the new park. After 1905 Spring Lane, which ran north / south through the middle of the park, was diverted but since then the park has remained largely unchanged. The main entrance has a shrub-lined driveway that leads to lawns with flower beds and the White Lodge; to the east of the Lodge is a pond with wooded island, which was enlarged after 1905 from an earlier pond. The C19th stables, now offices, still stand to the north of the drive, with a late C20th greenhouse on the site of the C19th glasshouses and frameyard, which now houses tropical plants and a visitor centre.

The park was laid out with numerous paths running through its areas of woodland, shrubberies and more open area of lawn and grassland. Throughout are numerous mature trees of a variety of species, many of which are labelled, including foxglove tree, tulip tree, swamp cypress, holm oak, beech, hornbeam, walnut, and many more. A circular bandstand is found to the north-east of the wooded area, and a bowling green is in the south east corner, both of which date from the early C20th. New facilities were added including toilet facilities in 1906 and tennis courts in the 1930s. Trees line the eastern edge of the park that abuts a path along the River Lea. Springfield Park was awarded a Green Flag Award in 2009; 2010.

Funding has been secured to undertake restoration works to the White House and Stable Block and the existing glasshouse will be replaced as it is no longer fit for purpose and public access to the new glasshouse will be improved.

The walled garden area in Springfield Park is the site of one of Growing Communities' urban market gardens, joining those at Allens Gardens (q.v.) and Clissold Park (q.v.), where the project began in 1996. The market gardens at Allens Gardens and Springfield Park are now the project's main growing sites. Growing Communities is a community-led organisation based in Hackney. All three of the market gardens are certified by the Soil Association and were the first organically certified food growing land in London. The project specialises in salad leaves and is the only London box scheme to include organic salad grown in Hackney in its vegetable bags. They employ a part-time Grower and an Assistant Grower, who are assisted by two Apprentice Growers and a volunteer work team.

Sources consulted:

EH: see register bibliography. LCC booklet, 'Opening of Springfield Park, Upper Clapton, 5th August 1905'; early C20th notes by Florence Bagust in Hackney Archives.
Grid ref: TQ345875
Size in hectares: 16
   
On EH National Register : Yes
EH grade : Grade II
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
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 - Borough Importance I
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: Yes - Area of Special Landscape Interest
Other LA designation: Local nature reserve; Green Link; Open Space
   

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