Prestigious Green Flag flies over Battersea Park

Published: Tuesday 29th July 14

Battersea Park has again been confirmed as one of the best green open spaces in the country after successfully retaining its coveted Green Flag award.

Described as “the jewel in the crown of London's parks,” the award from leading environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country.

A Green Flag is a sign to visitors that Battersea Park “boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities”.

It's numerous attractions include a boating lake, sports courts, an Olympic quality running track, bike hire, a popular children's zoo, lakeside restaurant, Victorian bandstand, tennis courts, all weather floodlit sports pitches and an impressive peace pagoda - a unique London landmark complete with gold-coloured Buddhas overlooking the River Thames.

Wandsworth’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Battersea Park truly is one of London’s most popular and attractive open spaces. No other park in the capital offers so much to see, do and enjoy.”

Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to announce yet another record-breaking year for Green Flag Award parks and green spaces. The award provides national recognition for all the parks managers, staff and volunteers who, through their dedication and hard work, have helped to create these fantastic places for everyone to enjoy.”

The 200 acre park was opened by Queen Victoria in March 1858 having been created out of fields and marshland to create a place of healthy recreation for the huge numbers of people who had moved to London during the Industrial Revolution.

It was designed by the famous Victorian engineer James Pennethorne and the planting overseen by legendary adventurer John Gibson, who scoured the four corners of the globe for exotic plants to display in the park's famous sub-tropical garden, the first of its kind to open to the British public.

Throughout the 20th century, much of the original horticultural diversity was lost, largely due to the impact of two world wars when the park was not only used for allotments and pig farming, but also for troop dispersal areas, bomb shelters and anti-aircraft gun emplacements. The park also suffered extensive bomb damage from Luftwaffe bombers on missions to disable neighbouring Battersea Power Station, as well as being hit towards the end of the war by a V1 rocket.

In 1951 the park was chosen as the home for the Festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens, designed by Russell Page. A permanent funfair was also included, which for many years proved enormously popular with families, but which eventually closed down in 1974.

Under the stewardship of the Greater London Council, the park became fairly rundown in the 1970s and 80s and it was eventually taken over by Wandsworth in 1986 when the GLC was abolished. Since then, millions of pounds have been spent transforming it into today’s popular and much-loved open space.

For more information about the park and its attractions visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/batterseapark

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