Clissold House ready to open its doors

Hackney Council will be reopening Clissold House to the public on 3 January, 2012 after 18 months of intense renovation work.

The Grade II* listed mansion, originally built as a private residence in 18th Century, now boasts a café – run by Company of Cooks - with indoor space, as well as an extensive terrace overlooking the newly landscaped pleasure grounds.

Original period features such as cornicing, fireplaces and the stunning skylight have been brought back to their original condition and now sit alongside modern facilities and equipment. Its five renovated function rooms are available for hire by community, business and educational groups as well as for private parties, wedding receptions and celebrations.

Park users of all ages can get active in the new children’s play area, sunken wheels park for skaters and BMXers, a multi-use games area for basketball and five-a-side football and a built in table tennis table. Other improvements include new and expanded animal enclosures, the renovated pavilion, a new outdoor classroom and new signage throughout the park.

Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Cllr Jonathan McShane said: “Residents and visitors can now enjoy some of the best park facilities in London after the £8.9million restoration project at Clissold Park and House. We are very proud of what has been achieved and we want everyone to use and enjoy the great facilities in the park and House.”

The restoration project was jointly funded by Hackney Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG). The Council has worked closely with groups such as the Clissold Park User Group and their input has been invaluable. Visitors to the park were also consulted to make sure the new facilities met their needs.

Caroline Millar, Chair of Clissold Park User Group said: "It is a real pleasure to see this beautiful house come back into public use. Local people have campaigned for decades to save the house and to help secure the funding for its restoration and we are really proud of what has been achieved. The user group’s vision has always been for the house to become the heart of the park, providing a hub for everything that happens here and we are looking forward to continuing to play a key role in its future.”

The café managed by Company of Cooks will offer a carefully selected menu. The aim is to create the sense of relaxed homeliness where people are drawn to drop in and enjoy some food and drink in the company of friends, family and neighbours. In keeping with the mid-winter opening date, the menu will draw strongly on the robust flavours of the season and sample dishes include beef & horseradish stew and leek & Barkham blue tart, alongside sandwiches - all on home-baked bread – and curious cakes such as beetroot & seed and orange & lavender.

A rich history is attached to the grounds of Clissold House from a curate’s illicit love for an heiress and a bankrupt landowner forced to sell his farm milk on Stoke Newington’s streets. More information can be found when the house opens on interpretation panels in the café. Free tours of the House will be running throughout January and February, offering a fascinating insight into the history of Clissold House. Information can be found at

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