Finsbury Park

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This article is about the park called Finsbury Park. For the urban area near the park, see Finsbury Park, London.

Coordinates: 51°34′16″N 0°06′03″W / 51.5712°N 0.1009°W / 51.5712; -0.1009

Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park - - 681145.jpg
Location Harringay, London[1][2]
Area 46 hectares (110 acres)
Opened 1869
Designer Frederick Manable [3]
Operated by London Borough of Haringey
Open dawn - dusk
Awards Green Flag Award since 2007
Designation Grade II Listed[4]
Public transit access Finsbury Park, Manor House, Harringay, Harringay Green Lanes

Finsbury Park is a public park in the ward of the London neighbourhood of Harringay. It is in the area formerly covered by the historic parish of Hornsey, succeeded by the Municipal Borough of Hornsey. It was one of the first of the great London parks laid out in the Victorian era. The park borders the districts of Finsbury Park, Harringay, Stroud Green and Manor House.


The park has a mix of open ground, formal gardens, avenues of mature trees and an arboretum. 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,[5] an athletics stadium, and tennis and basketball courts.[2] Unusually for London, the park hosts two facilities for "American" sports: an American football field, home to the London Blitz, and diamonds for softball and baseball, home to the London Mets.

Parkland Walk, a linear park, provides a route that links the park with Crouch Hill Park, Crouch End, and Highgate tube station.


Sunset in Finsbury Park
Mackenzie Garden, Finsbury Park
View of The City from Finsbury Park

Before the park[edit]

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 called Hornsey Wood that was cut further and further back for use as grazing land during the Middle Ages. In the mid-18th century a tea room had opened on the knoll of land on which Finsbury Park is situated. Londoners would travel north to escape the smoke of the capital and enjoy the last 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 fighting and other blood sports. The Hornsey Wood Tavern was destroyed in the process of making the area into a park, but the lake was enlarged. Once the park had opened, a pub across the road from its eastern entrance along Seven Sisters Road called itself the Hornsey Wood Tavern after the original. This pub was later renamed the Alexandra Dining Room and closed for business in April 2007. It was subsequently demolished.[6]

Creation of the park[edit]

During the early part of the second quarter of the 19th 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 Finsbury in 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.[7]

Originally to be named Albert Park,[6] the first plans were drawn up in 1850.[4] Renamed Finsbury Park, plans for the park's creation were ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1857.[3] Despite some local opposition, the park was opened in 1869.

During the wars[edit]

During the First World War the park was known as a location for pacifist meetings.[8]

During the Second World War, the park was used as military training grounds. and also hosted anti-aircraft guns.[9]


Through the late 20th Century the park began to fall into a state of disrepair with most of the original features gone by the 1980s. This decline was worsened in 1986 when the then owner, Greater London Council was wound up and ownership was passed on Haringey Council but without sufficient funding or a statutory obligation for the park's upkeep.[10]

A £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund Award, 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. The park now contains tennis courts, a running track, a softball field and many open spaces for various leisure activities.[11]

Live music in Finsbury Park[edit]

The park has hosted several live music performances and music festivals.

The 2008 Rise Festival being held in Finsbury Park
Year Type Event
1967 concert Jimi Hendrix[12]
1990-2003 music festival Fleadh Festival [13]
1992 music festival Madstock!
1992 music festival Gathering of tribes - Three stages, Therapy? opening on the main stage The Cult headlining the main stage. Also featuring Pulp in the tent, Red Kross, Pearl Jam, L7, Ned's atomic dustbin
1993 concert Bob Dylan, part of the Never Ending Tour
1993 music festival XFm's Great Xpectations Festival.[14]
1996 concert Sex Pistols, part of the Filthy Lucre Tour
1997 concert KISS part of the Alive/Worldwide Tour
1998 concert Pulp, part of the This Is Hardcore tour
2002 concert Oasis, part of the Heathen Chemistry world tour
2002 concert New Order
2003 concert Limp Bizkit [15]
2006-2010 music festival Rise Festival
2010 concert Rage Against the Machine
2011 music festival Feis festival
2013 concert The Stone Roses, part of their UK reunion tour.
2014 concert The Arctic Monkeys
2014-2016 music festival Wireless Festival
2016 sesh Hospitality in the Park

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Haringey Council. "Finsbury Park". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Finsbury Park". Green Flag Award. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Finsbury Park, Finsbury, England". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Finsbury Park". Historic England. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Finsbury Park Bowls Club". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Hayes, Hugh (2001). A Park for Finsbury. Friends of Finsbury Park. ISBN 0-9540637-0-8. 
  7. ^ The Times, 9th August 1869
  8. ^ War Office Official Topical Budget (Media notes). Imperial War Museum. May 1918. Newsreel item on the break-up of a pacifist meeting in Finsbury Park, London 
  9. ^ Edgerton, David (9 August 2011). Britains War Machine: Weapons, Resources, and Experts in the Second World War. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-991150-9. 
  10. ^ Jackson, Hazelle (October 2006). "Rising from the Ashes:The Resurrection of Finsbury Park". London Gardens Trust. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  11. ^ "Heritage Lottery Fund Improvements". Haringey Council. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  12. ^ Braggs, Micheal (8 September 2016). "Artic Monkeys, Pulp, RATM and more: The Biggest Finsbury Park Gigs Ever". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Wazir, Burhan (June 2003). "Irish acts in doldrums as festival is axed". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Great Xpectations Live". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Bristow, Tash. "Limp Bizkit free gig - Finsbury Park 2003". Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "The Saturday poem: The Cockney Amorist". February 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2016.