Downhills Park

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Coordinates: 51°35′22″N 0°05′28″W / 51.58944°N 0.09111°W / 51.58944; -0.09111

Downhills Park

Downhills Park is a 12 hectare park in the West Green area of Haringey.

It comprises an open recreation space and a managed garden area that includes a rose garden, tennis courts and basket-ball courts. The park had a bowling-green but this is no longer maintained or serviceable.

In 2006 and 2007, it won Green Flag awards for maintaining excellent standards for public parks.[1]

There is a Sunday League football team named after the park (Downhills Park FC [1]) who play in the Edmonton and District Sunday Football League.

The Friends of Downhills Park The park has a citizen's-group, he Friends of Downhills Park which was established in 1999, developing out of the Parks Sub-Group of the West Green Residents' Association. Membership is open to any member of the public over 18.

"Recognizing the importance of Downhills Park, The Friends of Downhills Park. Lordship and Belmont recreation grounds to the quality of life in West Green ward, the Friends aimed to promote the public benefit and enjoyment of these open spaces by involving local people in planning and decision-making affecting these areas and encouraging more local people to use the parks and take an active interest in their future. "[2]

Downhills Park Community Café Downhills Park Community Café is an enterprise that supports adults with a learning disability into employment.[3] The café was opened in Downhills Park in 2011 by the Haringey Association for Independent Living (HAIL)[4] with support from and long term campaign from Friends of Downhills Park (above). The café is run by volunteers, both those with learning disabilities looking to gain new skills and members of the community who are supporting them and the project. The cafe also embodies other ideological elements in e.g. how it makes the food it serves and tries to source ingredients ethically (e.g. seasonal, free-range eggs). The Downhills Park Cafe is one of several social enterprises run by HAIL.[5]

History of the Park Downhills was a big house, first built before 1728, and rebuilt possibly in 1729 or 1730, but more probably shortly before 1789. The house stood at the north-east corner of the present park, at the top of a hill, in the largest private park in Tottenham, and approached by a south drive, now part of Downhills Park Road, and a grand north avenue of trees. The Townsend family owned the land from 1763 to the 1890s. The last tenant of Downhills house, Bertha Cummins, and her gardener, Frank Woolmington, left between 1897 and 1899, and some of the estate was sold for building in 1899.

In 1881 the British Land Co bought the land, but building development did not start till 1899. After a campaign by local residents, worried at losing their open spaces, Tottenham Urban District Council bought the land and grounds in 1901, and adjoining fields about the same time. The council preserved many features of the house grounds: terrace, the woods, the hornbeams, the Italian gardens and fountain, and the croquet lawn and arbour. It restored or created the rockery, and improved the swan pond. Between 1902 and 1913 it built a superintendent's house, a conservatory, a bandstand in the recreation ground, and a children's playground. In the 1920s it created tennis courts and a bowling green. By 1938 it had built a pavilion in the rec next to Midnight Alley, and planted plane trees next to the bandstand.

After 1939 many features were demolished or destroyed: the fountain in the Italian gardens by 1947, the conservatory between 1962 and c. 1980, and by then also the pavilion, the bandstand, the swan pond, the thatched arbour, the superintendent's house, and many of the hornbeams. Haringey Council built new children's play facilities in the 1980s and 2002, and in the 1980s planted the bandstand site with trees. The old playground became a wildflower meadow in 2001.[6][7]

References[edit]

Haringey Council - Downhills park (accessed 30 January 2008)