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How Clissold Park was Saved by the Public, for the Public

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https://savingclissoldpark.com

Clissold Park, the jewel at the heart of Stoke Newington wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for a passionate local campaign in the 1880s to save to then private estate from development. As the last remaining open space in the area, the prospect of losing it to the “jerry builder” prompted concerned local residents to mobilise and lobby various bodies to raise the funds to purchase the park for the public.

The story of the turbulent campaign can now be told for the first time in vivid and dramatic detail through the recent discovery of press clippings, letters and maps, all kept by Joseph Beck, the chief campaigner and faithfully preserved by his family for over 127 years.

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How Clissold Park was Saved by the Public, for the Public

  1. 1. How Clissold Park was Saved by the Public, for the Public Amir Dotan twitter.com/HistoryOfStokey SavingClissoldPark.com
  2. 2. The extraordinary archive in the attic
  3. 3. 175 items The extraordinary archive in the attic
  4. 4. This is Stoke Newington
  5. 5. This is Clissold Park
  6. 6. This is Clissold Park
  7. 7. Photo by twitter.com/DroneN16 This is Clissold Park
  8. 8. Photo by twitter.com/DroneN16 This is Clissold Park
  9. 9. Photo by twitter.com/DroneN16 This is Clissold Park
  10. 10. This is Clissold Park
  11. 11. 1741
  12. 12. 1790
  13. 13. 1790 Photo taken 1876
  14. 14. Abney House Fleetwood House Daniel Defoe’s house Paradise House Paradise House 191 High Street Not your typical Stoke Newington mansion 109 Church Street
  15. 15. 1791
  16. 16. 1798 Photo taken 1876 MORTGAGED
  17. 17. 1800
  18. 18. 1804
  19. 19. 1811
  20. 20. 1821
  21. 21. 1829
  22. 22. 1835
  23. 23. 1865
  24. 24. 1877
  25. 25. 1882
  26. 26. 1882 OPEN ON WEEKENDS!
  27. 27. 1884 “Do you think any of the public bodies competent to purchase would be likely to listen to any proposition - say for the leasehold and house and grounds - a total of about 35 acres comprising the river and all the beautiful trees; the residue of say 19 acres being retained by me for building purposes? What public bodies are competent?”
  28. 28. 1886
  29. 29. The Victorian Open Spaces Movement John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) Lord Eversley (1831–1928) William Morris (1834–1896) Sir Robert Hunter (1844–1913) Octavia Hill (1838–1912) Canon Rawnsley (1851–1920) Lord Brabazon (1841–1929)
  30. 30. ‘The lungs of the metropolis’ Open Spaces
  31. 31. “We need to preserve the few remaining spots as breathing spaces for the inhabitants of our overcrowded streets and teeming alleys.”
  32. 32. Joseph Beck CC Barton House, Albion Road, Stoke Newington Optical & Microscope Manufacturer Chairman of the Coal, Corn and Finance Committee of the Corporation of London Member of the Court of Common Council Stoke Newington Vestry Chairman of the Clissold Park Preservation Committee Governor of St. Thomas’ Hospital A member of the Council of the City of Guilds Institute A member of the Thames Conservancy Board Her Majesty’s Lieutenant for the City of London Representatives of the Corporation on the governing bodies of the City Parochial Charities Representatives of the Corporation of London on the River Lean Conservancy Traveller & Mountaineer Cyclist
  33. 33. John Howard (1726–1790) Founder of the prison reform movement William Allen (1770–1843) Quaker, abolitionist, pioneer of girls' education James Stephen (1758–1832) Slavery abolitionist Samuel Morley MP (1809–1886) Philanthropist and abolitionist George William Alexander (1802–1890) Quaker, Founding Treasurer of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society Samuel Hoare Jr (1751–1825) Quaker and abolitionist Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743– 1825) Poet, essayist, abolitionist James William Freshfield (1774– 1864) Politician, abolitionist Stoke Newington, Social reform & Equality
  34. 34. Quakers, social welfare and environmental activism 1926 - Quakers begin the Allotment Gardens for the Unemployed scheme in South Wales The Cadburys were concerned with the health and fitness of their workforce and incorporated park and recreation areas into Bournville village (1890s)
  35. 35. Charles Booth’s Poverty Map - 1898
  36. 36. Mobilising the troops
  37. 37. £95,000 providing the purchase was completed by September 29th 1886 The clock was ticking 4% annual interest till completion = £3,800
  38. 38. Ask the Metropolitan Board of Works to purchase the park Plan A - Mid 1886
  39. 39. Parish of St. Mary Stoke Newington (Within the metropolis)Parish of South Hornsey (Outside the metropolis) Half the park was outside the Metropolitan area (i.e. the metropolis) Problem
  40. 40. Hackney District Board of Works Islington Clissold Park Ask the Metropolitan Board of Works to contribute half of the amount: £50,000 Plan B - Late 1886
  41. 41. Clissold Park Ask the Charity Commissioners to contribute the other half: £47,500 Plan B - Late 1886 * The Charity Commissioners contributed £50,000 towards the purchase of Hampstead Heath
  42. 42. 400 pages 30 signatures per page 120 meter long The Petition
  43. 43. 2. Feb 1st 1887 3. Feb 7th 1887 1. Jan 31st 1887 4. May 5th 1887 5. May 13th 1887 7. Jul 14th 1887 8. Jul 16th 1887 9. Jul 19th 1887 6. May 17th 1887
  44. 44. HackneyIslington Clissold Park The Metropolitan Board of Works would only contribute £25,000 Problem
  45. 45. In 1887, at the age of 58, Joseph Beck underwent a very painful and serious operation for cancer of the tongue. The cancerous part of the tongue was removed. Joseph had to learn to speak again almost from scratch.
  46. 46. Ask local parishes to contribute the rest Plan C - Late 1887
  47. 47. The Islington Vestry was prepared to eventually contribute only £2,500 Problem
  48. 48. 1 farthing = 1⁄960 Pound Sterling
  49. 49. 50 year loan
  50. 50. Considering alternatives
  51. 51. Ask Hackney to contribute £5,000 Plan D - Mid 1888
  52. 52. £5,000 interest was due Problem
  53. 53. Happy ending
  54. 54. 125 years later…

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