- Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park is a 112 acre (45-hectare) public park in the
London Borough of Haringey. Officially part of the London area of Harringay, Ward boundaries classify the park as being within Harringay Ward - [http://www.haringey.gov.uk/map_of_parks_and_open_spaces.doc Haringey Council Map showing the ward boundaries] .] it is also adjacent to Stroud Green, the Finsbury Park district and Manor House. It was one of the first of the great London parks laid out in the Victorian era.
area with a mix of more unusual trees. There is also a lake, a children's play area, a cafe and an art exhibition space.
Sports facilities in the park include football pitches, a
Bowling green(Finsbury Park Bowls Club [http://bowlsclub.org/club/1667/ Bowlsclub.org - Finsbury Park] (accessed 18/05/2008)] ), an athletics stadium, and tennisand basketballcourts. Unusually for London, the park hosts two facilities for "American" sports: an American footballfield, home to the 2007 national champion London Blitz, and diamonds for softballand baseball, home to the 2007 national champion London Mets.
In recent years the park has been used for large public events such as
Madstock, the Fleadh, Big Gay Out, Party in the Parkand .
A £5 million
Heritage Lottery FundAward, made in 2003, enabled significant renovations including cleaning the lake, building a new cafe and children's playground and resurfacing and repairing the tennis courts.
Before the park
The park was landscaped on the northeastern extremity of what was originally a woodland area in the Manor or Prebend of Brownswood. It was part of a large expanse of woodland that was cut further and further back during the period of London's great expansion in the nineteenth century. Londoners have been using the area as a recreation ground for much longer. In the mid eighteenth century a
tea rooms had opened on the knoll of land on which Finsbury Park is situated. Londoners would travel out to escape the smoke of the capital and enjoy the remains of the old Hornsey Wood. Around 1800 the tea rooms were developed into a larger building which became known as the Hornsey Wood House/Tavern. A lake was also built on the top of the knoll with water pumped up from the nearby New River. There was boating, a shooting and archery range, and probably cock fightingand other blood sports. The Hornsey Wood Tavern was destroyed in the process of making the area into a park, but the lake was enlarged. However, once the park had opened, a pub across the road from its eastern entrance along Seven Sisters Roadcalled itself the Hornsey Wood Tavern after the original (the pub was later re-named the Alexandra Dining Room, but closed for business in April 2007. It was subsequently demolished.).
Creation of the park
During the early part of the second quarter of the nineteenth century, following developments in Paris, Londoners began to demand the creation of open spaces as an antidote to the ever-increasing urbanisation of London. In 1841 the people of
Finsburyin the City of London petitioned for a park to alleviate conditions of the poor. The present-day site of Finsbury Park was one of four suggestions for the location of a park. Originally to be named Albert Park, the first plans were drawn up in 1850. Renamed Finsbury Park, plans for the park's creation were finally ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1857. Despite some considerable local opposition, the park was formally opened on Saturday 7th August 1869. Although the park's name was taken from the area where the nineteenth century benefactors who created it lived, Finsbury Park had earlier been part of an area that bore the name as part of the Finsbury divisionof the Ossultone Hundred.
Twentieth century to present
Through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the park was a respectable and beautifully manicured space for people to relax and exercise. By the early twentieth century, it was also becoming a venue for political meetings including pacifist campaigns during the First World War. During
World War II, it hosted anti-aircraft guns and was one of the gathering points for heavy armour prior to the D-Dayinvasions.
Despite decline during the 1970s, recent lottery funding has enabled something of a renaissance in the park's fortunes.
The park and music
The park became an established music venue. Notable events have included:
*It was the site of a comeback concert by the
Sex Pistolsduring their 1996 Filthy Lucre Tour.
*In 1992 at the Madstock concert,
Morrisseywas heckled off stage by the crowd after performing his song "National Front Disco". Many fans took exception to the song as they believed that it had a pro-racism message, and Morrissey himself was seen on stage flailing a Union Jack, which is often used by far-right groups.
*In spring 2007,
Groove Armadafilmed their music video for the song Song 4 Mutyafeaturing Mutya Buenaat the park.
Friends of Finsbury Park
The Friends of Finsbury Park [http://www.thefriendsoffinsburypark.org.uk] , founded in 1869, publish a history of the park and organise a range of environmental and arts activities in the park. They have produced a Vision for Finsbury Park supported by many local people and community groups.
Nearest tube and rail stations
Finsbury Park station
Manor House tube station
Harringay railway station
Harringay Green Lanes railway station
last = Hayes
first = Hugh
year = 2001
title = A Park for Finsbury
publisher = Friends of Finsbury Park
isbn = 0-9540637-0-8
* [http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/community_and_leisure/greenspaces/parks_and_open_spaces_parks_facilities/finsburypark.htm Haringey Council webpages on Finsbury Park]
* [http://www.virtualtours360.net/Virtual%20Tours/FinsburyPark/FinsburyPark.html Finsbury Park Virtual Tour]
* [http://www.harringayonline.com/ Harringay online] - website for Harringay residents awarded a "Special Judges' Commendation" at the [http://ukcatalystawards.com/ Catalyst Awards] 2008.
* [http://www.thefriendsoffinsburypark.org.uk History of the park and list of community events from Friends of Finsbury Park website] .
* [http://finsburypark.wordpress.com/ A blog for Finsbury Park N4 - Aggregator of N4 community information, park activities and events] .
* [http://www.flickr.com/groups/wwwharringayonlinecom/ Harringay, Haringey Group on Flickr]
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