News / 13 February, 2014

Clissold Park’s anniversary celebrations set to be breath of fresh air

Green light for open space to celebrate 125 years

Local champions

Picnickers in Clissold Park in summer. Photograph: Hackney Citizen

It is home to playgrounds and parakeets, and now Clissold Park is gearing up to celebrate 125 years of freeing parents from hyperactive children and providing us all with the opportunity to observe how much goats look like old men – among other things.

The Clissold Park User Group is asking for ideas to mark the momentous anniversary of the cherished Stoke Newington Green Space at a series of events to take place between 21 and 26 of June this year.

The group will unveil a restored fountain in memory of John Runtz and Joseph Beck, the activists who persuaded the council to open Clissold Park to the public in 1889.

The park is hugely popular and has had two million visitors since May last year.

It is home to Clissold House, a listed building originally owned by a Quaker and anti-slavery campaigner and which now contains event space and a café.

Other attractions include a paddling pool in the summer, lakes, a butterfly dome, a Growing Communities organic food market, table tennis tables and a small zoo containing birds, deer, goats and other animals.

/ 13 February, 2014
  • Like many local people in Clissold ward we are proud of Clissold Park Green open space. I have enjoyed my local park for the past thirty years. It has always been a place of inspiration for me. A place to take my children to when they were small to play in the playground and Paddling pool or play in the Non dog area field sports, or use the tennis courts, playing football or walking the dog; attending festivals in the park listening to sound systems and festivals now I’m showing my age.
    Yesterday I was inspired by Hackney school children who had just finished school then converged into the children’s playground to play on the swings, slides, see-saws and sandpit. This was a bit alarming to see because I and my friend were taking her grandchild to the playground for under 11’s. Whose space had been obstructed by older children playing on their equipment. The scene looked weird and we presumed by anti-social children.
    This presumption was totally wrong of us to make because the Secondary school children were well behaved and just wanted to have fun. The talent amongst them was obvious to see. When one teenager did a back flip for the first time over the bridge into the adjacent sandpit with precision. First of all our reaction was for his health and safety. But we had to applaud his talent. When we crossed over the bridge and heard it was the first time he’d done a back flip that it was self-taught.
    What came out of our conversation with the two boys was they wanted Clissold Park extend the teenage playground to incorporate bigger versions of playground furniture. Not every young person is interested in leisure activities that require addition materials other than themselves.i.e balls, rackets and Skateboards. They want swings slides, trampolines, sea-saws etc.
    What we need is Clissold Park to reflect the interests of Hackney’s youth to give them somewhere to go and have fun. I think we owe it to them to promote healthy positive pursuits and give them a place to be safe and have fun.
    On the 125th anniversary of Clissold Park opening I think a Teenage Playground would be a fitting memorial to reflects the founders vision of the green open space to improve the lives and tribute to the Quaker and Slavery Abolitionist who owned Clissold house and fought for the right of the African enslaved ancestors of for many those young people who have been lost to our community to knife and gun crime.
    All of Hackney’s children deserve quality youth services and Clissold Park would be a good place to start.


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