Lawns Park is on land that was once part of Collier Row Common that was enclosed in 1814. A post mill stood here from c.1810 until the 1860s; between 1846-55 it was owned by William Blakeley, who is thought to have built Lawn House from which the park takes its name, which was situated just north of the park. Collier Row, a village until the 1920s, then began to be developed. In 1931 this site was acquired by Hornchurch UDC for public recreation but it was not laid out until 1956/7. Various recreational facilities were provided. The park has good views due to its hilly site
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
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The site of Lawns Park was once part of Collier Row Common, which prior to the early C17th had been known as Westwode or West Wood, one of three woods in the manor along with Harold's Woods and Havering Wood. The commons at Collier Row, Harold Wood and Noak Hill were enclosed in 1814, by which time Collier Row Common was open commonland rather than woodland. It takes its name from the colliers who engaged in charcoal burning here from medieval times until the 1900s. Roman pottery and other remains found here indicate their presence in the area. A post mill built here in c.1810 existed until 1861 or a little later. In 1815 the owners of the mill, John and Benjamin Miller, took on William Blakeley as apprentice; they occupied the mill until 1832. Blakeley married into the Collier family, who by 1839 had the mill here and other mills in Romford. In 1846 Blakeley became owner of the Collier Row mill, which he operated until 1855. He is thought to have built Lawn or Lawns House in 1850 from which the park takes its name. At that time it was the largest house in Collier Row, which remained a village until the 1920s and an agricultural area until the 1930s, supplying produce to the Romford area. Suburban housing estates began to be developed from then onwards but in 1931 the undeveloped land here was acquired for public recreation by Hornchurch Urban District Council.
The park was not laid out until after WWII, although 6 acres were used for war-time allotments. From the 1950s various facilities were provided in the park, with a children's play area in 1956/7, a tennis court in 1958 and a 9-hole miniature golf course, together with a café, added in 1961. The Lawn or Lawns House was formerly located on the site of what is now Virginia Close, and for a time was used as a social club but by 1998 it was demolished for housing development. In 2006 the Friends of Lawns Park was established, the park having fallen into decline in the 1980s and '90s, which had seen the closure of the café and golf course. Since 2007 improvements have been carried out including new areas for children's play and multi-use games opening in 2008, with plans to restore the park further. The park consists of three areas of differing characters; the grass meadow in the north is reminiscent of the former commonland once found here; a viewing platform and grassland used for sports are in the south west, and in the south east are the new play areas and ornamental shrubs beds.
LB Havering Recreation and Amenities Brochure, 1970; Management Plan for Lawns Park from 2009 to 2019, LB Havering, 2009; John Drury, 'Treasures of Havering' (Ian Henry Publications, 1998), p150