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SITE DETAILS

Shoreditch Park Hackney

Summary

Shoreditch Park was laid out by the LCC Parks Department on land cleared after WWII bombing, previously terraced housing. Nearby is the former Gainsborough Pictures film studios used by Alfred Hitchcock. The park is essentially in two parts, divided along the line of Bridport Place where there are a number of 1860s ornate lamp standards. In the 1980s various sports and recreational facilities were added in the western part. In 2008 improvements to the park took place, a huge granite stone was placed in the park, part of 'Boulder' a sculpture project by artist John Frankland in two Hackney parks. In both parks the boulders are intended to be used for climbing.

Basic Details

Site location:
Pitfield Street/Mintern Street/Bridport Place/New North Road

Postcode:
N1 6TA ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Park

Date(s):
1964-73

Designer(s):
LCC

Listed structures:
None

Borough:
Hackney

Site ownership:
LB Hackney

Site management:
Hackney Parks Service; Shoreditch Park User Group; Shoreditch Trust

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
unrestricted

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Shoreditch Adventure Playground, BMX track, children's play area, 2 ping pong tables, football pitch, rugby pitch, tennis courts, volley ball court, amphitheatre, rock-climbing on Boulder

Events:
Various activities and used for large events such as Shoreditch Festival

Public transport:
Tube: Old Street (Northern). Rail: Old Street. Bus: 76, 141, 271.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk/cp-shoreditch-patk.htm

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ328834

Size in hectares:
4.1

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

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:
Open Space

Fuller information

Shoreditch Park was laid out by the LCC Parks Department on land cleared after WWII. It had been covered by terraced housing until catastrophic bomb damage devastated the area in the Blitz between 7 September 1940 and 11 May 1941 and initially temporary ‘pre-fab’ housing was erected on the site. The Shoreditch Park User Group was formed in 1966 to lobby for the initial creation of Shoreditch Park and has remained active to the present day. The pre-fabs were finally cleared between 1964-73 to create the new park. The park is overlooked by the Board School and former Power Station in Poole Street, which was built for the Great Northern and City Railway in 1901 and was intended to serve the underground between Finsbury Park and Moorgate. However it was closed in 1914 and converted into Gainsborough Pictures film studios in 1919 that were used by Alfred Hitchcock. Gainsborough Studios were used in 2000 by the Almeida Theatre to stage Shakespeare, and area now converted for housing.

The park was essentially in two parts, divided along the line of Bridport Place, a remnant of the old street pattern. In the 1980s various sports and recreational facilities were provided in the western part including changing rooms, refreshment house and one o'clock club. In the east were sports courts and near the Pitfield Street/Mintern Street entrance a small area of formal planting was laid out c.1970, a memorial garden to Dorothy Thurtle. Married to Ernest Thurtle who became MP for Shoreditch, Dorothy was the daughter of George Lansbury, leader of the Labour Party in the 1930s and was herself a pioneer for contraception and Abortion Law reform.

The landscaping of this garden consisted of a grassed mound surrounded by a path with a small rose garden at one side with circular rose beds set into cobbles, partly encircled by a yew hedge. Semi-circular ornamental railings and a number of old iron bollards were situated around the path. These gardens have been re-landscaped since 2008 with addition of a new planted bed and the lowering of the hedge to provide better sightlines from a safety point of view, with removal of the mounding due to take place.

In 2005 and 2006 archaeologists from the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre carried out 'community excavation' projects in the park to commemorate the end of the war 60 years previously, and these digs involved young archaeologists form Hackney and Tower Hamlets as well as past and present residents. Finds included C16th stoneware and 1950s nylon stockings and children's toys. As a result, the park's past history as a residential area is being made evident in a number of ways as part of substantial improvements that have taken place since 2007. These include the restoration of the 1860s lamp standards on Bridport Place, which is an important remnant of the earlier street pattern, and retention of its curb stones; creation of new paths that follow the lines of former streets; and installation of granite benches engraved with old street names, such as Clift Street and Rushton Street. Other improvements include new lighting, seating, paths and sporting facilities. Mature trees in the park include silver birch, horse chestnut, sycamore and Norway maple. An informal tree trail has been planted along the boundary, and a wild flower meadow created as well as wildflower strips linking this new meadow to the rest of the park and adjoining estates and streets. An amphitheatre/outdoor cinema has also been installed to enable a range of performance events to take place in the park.

In 2008 a huge solid granite stone over 4m high was placed in the park, weighing 85 tonnes. It is part of 'Boulder', a sculpture project by Hackney-based artist John Frankland in two Hackney parks, the other stone located in Mabley Green (q.v.). The project was coordinated by Peer, an independent art gallery based in Hackney. The two blocks had been created as a result of a controlled explosion at a quarry in Cornwall, but were too large to be crushed down for aggregate. They were later selected by the artist for this project, which aimed 'to make a powerful and permanent sculptural work by the simplest possible means'. Visitors are invited to climb on these huge stones, the artist himself being a keen climber or boulderer. Green Flag Award in 2009, 2010.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Ingrid Swenson, 'John Frankland / Boulder', Peer, 2008; LB Hackney 'Shoreditch Park Management Plan 2011-2016'

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