West Hackney Recreation Ground opens after major facelift
A green space in Hackney has been given a major facelift thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the Church, community and Hackney Council.
Important Stoke Newington heritage site, West Hackney Recreation Ground, which makes up the churchyard and grounds adjoining St Paul’s Church, is a much-loved urban treasure.
The Council received nearly £700,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, following years of campaigning by local groups and residents.
Now, after months of renovation work, Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe officially reopened the site on Saturday (6 September), along with the Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney.
Improvement works included new pathways, restoration of original routes, new woodland and play features, conservation of the tombstones and headstones, and improvements to the front of the church.
The Church has also appointed a garden manager and volunteer co-ordinator to work at the site.
The grounds began life as a 19th century burial ground attached to St Paul's Church.
The church opened in 1823 but had to be rebuilt in 1960 after being bombed in the Second World War.
The site has been an oasis for relaxation, recreation and events in Stoke Newington for years, including its weekly farmers' market, now a highlight of the local calendar.
West Hackney Recreation Ground is a valuable part of Hackney's local history. After years of campaigning, and months of hard work, this beautiful city oasis is ready to be enjoyed again, and more fully than ever, by the community. We now hope the grounds will be used by community groups, schools, as well as residents seeking retreat from the general hubbub.
The makeover is just one of many improvement works that have been or are being carried out by the Council on the borough’s green spaces, including the newly-refurbished Kynaston Gardens; the multimillion pound makeover of Hackney Marshes, now in its final stages; improvement works toMillfields Park; and a major revamp of Clissold Park.The West Hackney works started in March 2014 and was managed jointly by the church and the Council's parks department.
Funding was also received from the West Hackney Parochial Charity, the Marathon Trust and the Church.