loafer wrote:I just hope that we can have a civilised AGM on Monday, and that the democratically elected committee - whoever it may be - will then be free to decide, in consultation with park users, how to approach the many issues involved.
The meeting is being chaired by Peter Truesdale (former LibDem leader of Lambeth Council) who I know is a very fair and hardworking man. If everyone follows his guidance, we may at least reach the point of being able to move forward, rather than going round in circles.
Marie P G Draper wrote:In 1869 Archbishop Campbell Tait was appointed Archbishop. This broad minded and liberal prelate concerned himself in many ways with bettering the lives of the poor and underprivileged and one of the things he did was to open the grounds of Lambeth Palace. He instituted annual tickets of admission to local poor families thus enabling "scores of pale children" to play often in the fresh air. The burses of St Thomas's Hospital, which had been removed to the Embankment site in 1869-1871, were admitted to the grounds at all times and even to the private garden. The part of the grounds set aside for the children to play in became known as Lambeth Palace Field and special arrangements were made for the games of local cricket and football clubs. It was also made available for school "treats" andn the parade inspections of the local volunteer corps. The most publicised event for which the field was used occurred in 1880, when 24,000 children assembled to celebrate the centenary of the Sunday Schools' foundation and offered the Prince and Princess of Wales a lusty rendering of Onward Christian Soldiers.
When Archbishop Tait died in 1882 Lambeth Palace Field had become so much an adjunct to local life that broad hints were given to his successor, Edward White Benson, to continue Tait's generosity and even to extend the faciliites to a wider public, and the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association addressed a memorial to Mr. Gladstone to use his influence on this behalf.
Although Archbishop Benson continued to permit the field to be used as formerly, it was left to Archbishop Frederick Temple to make a more permanent and unrestricted access. This was in 1900 when the Parks Commitee of the London County Council suggested that it should lay out the field as a public park and manage it on the lines of other parks in it custody. The Archbishop agreed, but reserved the ownership of the park to himself and his successors in officeand made conditions to secure the privacy of the rest of the Palace grounds as, for example, in the matter of band performances. He also gave up the kitchen garden of the palace to be laid out as a children's playground, provided that males "apparently above the age of ten years" were excluded. Another enclosure, originally grassed, was set aside for games, preference being requested for clubds from the most densely populated districts of South London within a mile of the Palace. In the event cricket had to be abandoned when a boy lost the sight of an eye as a result of being hit by a flying ball.
The park was officially opened on 24th October 1901 by the chairman of the council A M Torrance MP; the Archbishop offered it for "the use and enjoyment of the People of London" and the local volunteer corps, the 4th Battallion of the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment, provided a special band performance.
Most of the games' area and the children's playground are situated at the nortern end of the park, furthest away from the Palace. The rest of the park is perhaps a little old-fashioned but there is considerable variety in the trees (lime, ailanthus, catalpa, ash and a row of fine old planes on the eastern boundary). Two features which have disappeared from the original layout are a pond in the south-west corner which was spanned by a rustic bridge and a red granite drinking fountain given in 1901 to the memory of Anne du Bois. There are three entrances: one from Lambeth Road which was made out of part of Lambeth Rectory garden, one in Carlisle Lane in land leased to the Council by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for 99 years from 1900 and one which used to open out of Paris Street but now stands in the re-aligned Lambeth Palace Road.
The Archbishops of Canterbury still own Archbishop's Park but the London County Council began to acquire land in 1955 for its extension at the north end, The site is now almost cleared. In 1957 some land between the park and the realigned Lambeth Palace Road was designated as public open space in compensation for the loss of Stangate Street Triangle, which was taken over by the County Council in 1940 and destroyed recently for road widening at the juntion of Westminster Bridge Road and Lambeth Palace Road. The new open space is now paved and decorated with large containers of shrubs and seasonal bedding plants; where it abuts on the park boundary fence there is a flowering shrub border. Since 1965 the park has been in the custody of the Greater London Council as successor to the London County Council.
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