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Borough: Newham
Canning Town Recreation Ground
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Canning Town Recreation Ground  
Canning Town Recreation Ground came into being following local pressure for West Ham Borough Council to provide a recreation ground as this area was being developed in the 1890s. Originally known as Beckton Park, it was opened in June 1894 by the then Mayor of West Ham, Alderman J H Bethell. Designed by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association's landscape gardener, the park was laid out on former marsh pastureland and consisted of three areas united by two east-west walks: a formal area in the north-west with a bandstand, various tree-lined walks, and shrubberies, with a lodge, refreshments pavilion, drinking fountain and toilets; in the north-east area was a gymnasium and an open-air swimming pool, the latter built by private subscription; and an open sports area in the south east.

The pool was replaced in 1937 by the Municipal Lido, which on plans of 1960 is shown as an elaborate structure with ponds and fountains, and the gymnasium had become a playground, which later still became a car park. By 1951 tennis courts, a playground, bowling and putting greens had been added to the north-western area, although the two greens and the bandstand have since gone, as has the Lido. The construction of the A13 as a dual carriageway sliced off the northern boundary of the park including the original north walk and its tree-lined avenue. The bandstand site is marked by a bed of evergreen shrubs. A cycle speedway track has replaced the planting along the eastern boundary next to the library.

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