Friends of South Park
The Friends of South Park was established in January 2009 to become the primary support and lobbying group for the park. The Friends is a single interest group and therefore separate from PRARA
and you are welcome and encouraged to join the Friends. Full details can be found at www.friendsofsouthpark.co.uk Any queries please contact
the Friends secretary, Alex Schiewind on 7751 9975 or email email@example.com
South Park News
The Inspector's decision on the proposed boundary change in the Council's proposed Core [planning] Strategy was that the boundary should not be changed. The enlarged childrens' play area
is now almost all open and is proving extremely popular. As long as the café cart near the tennis courts is trading the key to the toilet in the changing room block can be obtained from the cart staff.
More information can be found on the Friends web site www.friendsofsouthpark.co.uk
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The improvement of South Park was a key
objective for PRARA from the day the Association was formed, and much
was achieved. Following the establishment of the Friends of South Park
in 2009, in which PRARA was instrumental, we have handed over most of
our lobbying and other activities in relation to the park to the
Friends. The following is a record of our activities prior to the
formation of the Friends
In recent years the park has steadily
deteriorated due to vandalism and inadequate maintenance, partly
because latterly the Council has not had a Parks Department as such.
Responsibility has been spread across several departments with the
result that there has been no overall control or vision for the park.
South Park has become the
Borough’s ‘Cinderella’ park. The
photographs on this page forcefully illustrate this.
PRARA has been lobbying strongly on behalf
of all local residents and the various park user groups both for
adequate maintenance budgets and a comprehensive upgrade and
improvement programme. Some of our efforts have been reported in local
newspapers. Follow the link on the left to see a list of some of the
issues we have highlighted.
As a gesture of our good intentions, and
thanks to the generosity of PRARA’s founding Co-ordinator,
Patricia Hicks, in December 2003 we donated a whitebeam tree to replace
one that has been lost. It is located in the north west corner.
We achieved some success in late 2004/2005 when
some remedial work was undertaken and much of the graffiti was removed.
We also succeeded in ensuring that as much of the damaged terracotta
railing as possible was removed for safekeeping and future use. The
rest of the damaged terracotta was removed in the Autumn of 2006 and
the area around the terrace has been temporarily earth banked and
grassed over pending installation of new railings as part of master
We have also succeeded in having further more
immediate maintenance work being arranged which has included the
removal of neglected and disintegrating raised beds at the main
Clancarty Road entrance and the
entire entrance area resurfaced in York Stone.
We are pressing the Council to apply for a major
under the Lottery “Parks for People” programme and
working with the Council Project Team with the aim of producing a
comprehensive strategy for the future of South Park. The Leader of the
Council has advised PRARA that the Council is now committed to making
such a bid. See below for PRARA's Vision for the Park.
PRARA organised a User Group consultation during
August and September
2006 and 71 responses were received. Details of the consultation and a
summary of the findings were sent to the Council to inform the
preparation of the master plan for the park
here to see the report.
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PRARA's Vision for the Park
To renovate and improve the park infrastructure
using the original Victorian design as a guide and inspiration, so that
the park is fully restored with all areas brought back into full use in
a way that can be appreciated and enjoyed by the full range of users
Introduce an educational element into the park
involving the four schools which surround the park, the primary school
near it and the nursery school in it. None of the pupils
currently have any real relationship with the park although it is used
by children from a French school located to the east of the Wandsworth
Specific elements that need to be or could be
included in the park master plan
South Park opened in March 1904 on land that had
previously been known first as Broom Farm and then Southfields Farm.
The site was acquired by the Borough Council in the previous year for
£35,000, a price of £1,500 per acre, from Miss
Charlotte Sulivan, a Fulham resident and major benefactor to the area.
She was a niece of Lord Palmerston who lived in Fulham’s most
important 'manor' house, Broom House.
Prior to its sale, the land (then known as
"Southfields, Fulham") had been leased to James Veitch & Sons,
Limited for 33 years, for use a nursery. The Borough Archive contains
the original correspondence between Charlotte Sulivan herself and the
Council, concerning the acquisition of this land. She refused to
surrender it until the James Veitch lease expired and pointed out that
the Council had ignored her earlier offer of alternative land with more
prominent access from the Wandsworth Bridge Road! In order to sell the
land for a park she rejected an approach from a builder. She imposed
various conditions on the sale, one of which is that the Council should
erect no dwelling houses or buildings except as necessary or
appropriate for use as a Recreation Ground or Park.
On its opening the park was described in the local
newspaper as "Possessing over 20 acres, cricket, tennis, plus
other open air games were offered and there was a bandstand,
refreshment pavilion, ladies and gentleman's lavatories and a shelter."
A gymnasium ( ¾ acre in extent) fitted with complete
apparatus was at the Hugon Road corner.
South Park's first park-keeper was John Eckett who
lived in the gardener's lodge whilst Miss Gertrude Eckett is noted as
being at the refreshment room. During the First World War land in the
park was given over to allotments and in the summer of 1915 it was one
of the local training grounds for the three Fulham Brigades of the
Royal Field Artillery raised by the Mayor of Fulham.
For the Second World War the council's own labour
force initially dug trenches in the park; subsequently full air-raid
shelters were built - the entrance was located where the present
cricket pavilion is situated - and some of the park was again converted
South Park is the only farming land in Fulham that
still remains as an open space.
Anthony Williams, February 2005
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