Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ravenscourt Park - 125 years

Bush Blog Editor Bart Govaert reflects on a milestone passed for a cherished local park...

Ravenscourt Park is one of the delights of our borough. Our own children seem to have grown up largely between the paddling pool and the play areas and even though we now live a bit further out, “the park” is still always Ravenscourt Park. The council does a great job keeping everything in good shape, continuing to improve the infrastructure (most recently the basketball court which seems to be a great success).

The park opened to the general public on the 19th of May, 1888. To celebrate the happy event there will be a choral evensong on May 19 at the Holy Innocents Church, Paddenswick Road, at 6pm.

The history of the park is really interesting.

Originally it was a Manor (housing, amongst others, a Royal Mistress). By the 1870s, the park was owned by the descendants of George Scott (who also developed nearby St Peter Square). Ravenscourt House was destroyed during WWII, apart from the stables, which are now the Tea House.

The Scott family sold the estate to a developer, who wanted to build over the whole park, and set up to buy up the leases of the various houses round the park (the leases included a clause that forbade to build over much of the rest of the park). The leaseholders largely sold out.

Mr Burchett and Mr Dethbridge, however, strongly disagreed with the development plan, and hatched a clever plan, demanding £1,000 for their lease. This was an outrageous sum, but all other leaseholders followed suit, making the development economically unviable. The developers had to give up their plans,instead selling the park to the Metropolitan Board of Works (which later became the London City Council).

Thank you Mr Burchett and Mr Dethbridge, the local kids are grateful, 125 years later!

(sources: LBHF website, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=98069#s5, http://brentfordandchiswicklhs.org.uk/local-history/places/the-scott-family-and-ravenscourt-park/ and Wikipedia)

1 comment:

  1. It's truly a beautiful park, and has been great for many recreational and sport activities over the years. Hammersmith is truly lucky to have it. I used it for many years until my early twenties, when I moved away. Have been back a couple of times since.

    We should be grateful to Messrs Burchett and Dethbridge for their organised resistance. We need more of that spirit today!+