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Hammersmith Park Hammersmith & Fulham
   

Hammersmith Park

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Hammersmith Park was built on land reserved for open space when the former White City Exhibition Grounds, created for the 1908 Olympics, were redeveloped in the 1940s and '50s. The Grounds had been used for a series of international exhibitions until WWI, which included an Anglo-Japanese exhibition in 1910. The Garden of Peace created for that event survived and remains as a feature within Hammersmith Park, restored in 2008. The park was laid out with tennis courts and a playground in November 1954, the remainder opening in September the following year. In the south is a garden with a water feature that was once part of the much larger lagoon created for the Exhibition Grounds in 1908, known as the Court of Honour.
   
Previous / Other name: Formerly part of White City Exhibition Grounds
Site location: South Africa Road/Frithville Gardens, White City
Postcode: W12
Type of site: Public Park 
Date(s): 1955 (1909, Japanese Garden of Peace)
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
Borough: Hammersmith & Fulham
Site ownership: LB Hammersmith & Fulham
Site management: Environment Department, Parks Service (ground maintenance by Quadron Services)
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: 7.30am - dusk
Special conditions:
Facilities: boating lake, football pitch, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts
Events:
Public transport: Tube: White City (Central), Shepherd's Bush Market (Hammersmith and City). Rail/London Overground/Tube (Central): Shepherd's Bush. Bus: 72, 95, 220, 283
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2013
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.lbhf.gov.uk

Fuller information:

The White City Exhibition Grounds with its pavilions, exhibition halls, stadium and other amenities such as railway and artificial waterways had been created for the Olympics in 1908. The buildings were used for the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908 and thereafter for a series of international exhibitions until WWI when they were requisitioned to accommodate troops. For the massive Anglo Japanese exhibition of 1910, which brought awareness of Japan to the general public, a Garden of Peace was created in 1909 by a group of Japanese and British gardeners, one of two gardens on the site for the exhibition and visited by the royal family in 1910. The other, a larger Japanese floating garden, no longer exists but the Garden of Peace survived and remains as a feature within Hammersmith Park although in intervening years it became overgrown, reduced in size and lost a number of the original features, including two ponds. In 2008 a project to restore the Garden of Peace was set up, and a large team of volunteers including a Japanese landscape architect have re-created this picture of Japanese natural scenery. The garden, set among bamboo and pagoda trees, now consists of two large ponds connected by a stone bridge with rocks forming a small waterfall; some of the original plants and trees brought from Japan in 1909 are still present.

Between the wars the White City Exhibition Grounds and pavilions had some usage but the land became derelict and in 1935 part was purchased by the LCC for housing development of the White City Estate (q.v.), and the remainder was then requisitioned for military purposes in WWII after which it was acquired for housing, open space and part by the BBC for its Television Centre. The park was laid out with tennis courts and a playground in November 1954, the remainder opening in September the following year. The park occupies a slightly curved site running from north to south and divides into two sections, in the north given over to sports. This includes all weather sports area, paddling pool, and children’s play area. In the south is the restored Garden of Peace with its water feature consisting of a waterfall over a rock outcrop and an informal pool crossed by a rustic bridge; this was once part of the much larger lagoon created for the Exhibition Grounds in 1908, known as the Court of Honour. Although geologically impossible, the general impression is quite natural. The transition from one part of the park to the other is achieved by using screening hedges and some formal planting around the transition from the hard lines of the sports area to the garden.

The park was refurbished in 2000 at which time an abstract sculpture by Tim Fortune, 'Three Arches' was installed, consisting of three interlocking black-painted arches. Since the refurbishment of the historic Japanese Garden a new Japanese-themed natural and adventurous play area has been installed to provide a continuous play trail across the whole site. Other new attractions include a hedge maze, a climbing forest and three large spectacular play mountains. Hammersmith Park has won the Green Flag Award.

Sources consulted:

LB Hammersmith & Fulham Archives Dept, 'A note on the open spaces of Fulham and Hammersmith', 1974 p11 John Archer, Daniel Keech 'Nature Conservation in Hammersmith & Fulham', Ecology Handbook 25, London Ecology Unit, 1993 p 52; William Hollingworth, 'London's 1910 Japan garden spruced up'; The Japan Times online, 2 September 2008. See Hammersmith Council website Historical Sculptures Search
Grid ref: TQ230805
Size in hectares: 2.43
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
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 II
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Local Park; Open Space of Borough-wide Importance
   

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