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Wandsworth Park
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Activity Wandsworth Park, Wandsworth
Industrial Parks

At the end of the 19th century, a number of former industrial sites were being turned over to parkland, often with the help and support of the local authorities and generous private supporters.

Among these was Wandsworth Park, which was developed on polluted industrial land previously used as an iron foundry and a brewery among other things.


Have a look at the other database entries for parks in Wandsworth and other boroughs on Park Explorer. How many can you find that were built on land previously used for industrial purposes?

The Opening of Wandsworth Park, 1903 17kb


Members of the London County Council and of the metropolitan Borough Councils of South London were busy on Saturday afternoon dedicating new lungs to London.At two o'clock Mr. John Piggott, Chairman of the Parks and Open Spaces Committee of the County Council, opened the extension of Brockwell Park, and at four o'clock Lieutenant-Colonel Rotton, representing Clapham on the County Council, opened the riverside park at Wandsworth. With the character of these latest acquisitions and the particulars of the purchase "Daily News" readers are already familiar.

Overnight Nature had washed the park with copious tears, and the scene was everywhere painted in vivid colours. Fluttering pennons waved a welcome to the brilliantly-striped marquee, where the speeches were all in terms of appreciative congratulation.

In declaring the extension open, Mr Piggott mentioned that when the County Council came into existence there were only 40 open spaces under their control; now there were 102, and the acreage had been increased from 2,656 to 4,027. Cricket pitches had been increased from 147 to 382, and football pitches from 12 to 180.

Resolutions of thanks to the County Council and to the other authorities contributing having been passed, members of the County Council, including Lord Monkswell, the Vice Chairman, drove to Wandsworth, skirting Clapham and Wandsworth Commons on the way. On arrival at the new park they were met by the Mayor and Corporation wearing their robes of office, and were received with ceremonial courtesy. It was quite a picturesque procession - the Mayor in scarlet, the Aldermen in purple, and the Councillors in green.

The ceremony here took place on the bandstand, which was inadequate to the demands made upon it, and eventually the green-gowned Councillors had to content themselves with seats in the enclosure, where during this interval the band had commenced to play Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" with singular fitness. The little park was swarming with visitors, who seemed less intersted in the speeches than in asserting possession of their riverside pleasaunce, which is immediately opposite the grounds of the Hurlingham Club. It is really a reclamation, for in the centuries that are past the villagers of Wandsworth held the spot which our artist has depicted as communal property, and many were the quarrels which occurred with the people of Putney as the result of cattle trespass.

The Daily News, 1903


Read carefully through the newspaper report above - you may need some help with some of the old-fashioned words.

When you have finished, answer the questions below. The answers are all in the report! No cheating though! You must answer ALL the questions before you can see the answers!

1. What time was Wandsworth Park opened?
2. How many open spaces were in the control of the council when the park was opened?
3. How many MORE football pitches had the council provided?
4. What other kind of sports pitches did Mr Piggott mention?
5. What were the Mayor and Corporation wearing for the ceremony?
6. What colour robes did the Councillors have?
7. What tune did the band play?
8. What is the name of the club opposite the park?

Write it up

Imagine that a new park has just been opened in your area by reclaiming a former industrial site or piece of disused land.

How would you have had to open the new park? What would you have included in your ceremony? Would you have had bands? If so, who? Would you have included, speeches, demonstrations, ceremonies?

Write an article for your local newspaper, describing the new park and what happened at the opening.


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