Vote Battersea Park and make it the People’s Choice
Published: Wednesday 5th September 18
People can show their love for Battersea Park – “the jewel in the crown of London’s parks” – by voting it their favourite green open space in a nationwide competition.
Battersea Park recently retained its prestigious Green Flag Award from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which gave it that glowing tribute." The award recognises the best parks and green spaces in the country and shows that it “boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities”.
Now members of the public can vote for Battersea Park as their favourite open space in the Green Flag People’s Choice award. The poll closes on September 30.
The park's famous peace pagoda
Paul Todd from Keep Britain Tidy said: “The People’s Choice Award is a chance to show how much your favourite park means to you. If it’s worth shouting about, make your voice heard and vote now.”
According to the charity’s website: “No other park in the capital offers so much to see, do and enjoy. It's numerous attractions include a boating lake, sports courts, an Olympic quality running track, bike hire, a popular and amazing children's zoo, a lakeside restaurant, a Victorian bandstand, tennis courts, a wild and exciting children’s adventure playground, all-weather floodlit sports pitches and an impressive peace pagoda - a unique London landmark complete with gold-coloured Buddhas overlooking the River Thames.
“The park also provides a peaceful oasis in central London where visitors can relax, read a book, enjoy a picnic and get away from all the noise and stresses of London life. Its beautifully maintained gardens, especially its famous sub-tropical Victorian garden and the new Winter Garden - the vision and creation of the Friends of Battersea Park - really do offer a tranquil and relaxing place to get away from it all.
“Battersea Park truly is one of London’s most popular and well used parks – welcoming more than three million visitors through its gates last year. There is so much to see, do and enjoy that it’s impossible to do it all in a day. That’s why people come back time after time to enjoy something new.”
Battersea Park is constantly being improved with £840,000 currently being invested in making it a better destination for visitors. This includes £250,000 levied from the developers of the neighbouring Battersea Wharf and Chelsea Bridge Wharf housing schemes, with £70,000 received from local amenity group The Friends of Battersea Park.
These improvements include:
Provision of a new playground near the lakeside café – Located near the café and boating lake, £150,000 has been spent on providing new play equipment suitable for children up the age of 12.
Providing a new park entrance – A new pedestrian entrance between Chelsea and Rosary Gates, with associated landscaping, has opened.
The new Promontory Garden – This new riverside garden has just been officially opened. Located just to the east of Albert Bridge its sits on a piece of embankment that juts out 12 metres into the Thames, which historical records suggest has always been fenced off from the main part of the park since its construction in the mid -1850s and closed to the public for many decades. Now a landmark feature of the park it offers seating and unrivalled views of the Thames.
Cascade fountain feasibility and restoration project – The cascades are an important and prominent historic landscape feature, but over time they have deteriorated and can no longer be used without causing significant additional damage. Money has been set aside to initially explore, and if feasible, fund their complete refurbishment.
Restoration of seating shelters – Three historic Victorian-era shelters have been restored and fitted with new seating along with structural and decorative renovation.
The treetop adventure course
Wandsworth’s parks and open spaces spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “Battersea Park really deserves to win this prestigious People’s Choice Award. It is one of the capital’s most popular, interesting and enchanting green spaces and I know I’m not alone in feeling very proud and happy to have it in our borough.
“From the beautifully maintained gardens to its numerous attractions there is so much to do and see here and it’s no wonder people come back time and time again to enjoy something new. If you love it as much as I do please vote for it!”
Battersea Park covers some 200 acres and 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.
The crystal fountains
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 people of all ages, but which eventually closed in 1974.
Under the stewardship of the Greater London Council, the park became somewhat rundown in the 1970s and 80s and it was eventually taken over by Wandsworth in 1986 when the GLC was abolished. Since then, millions 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.