FRIENDS OF SOUTH PARK

Until the end of 2008 PRARA was the South Park champion, and our membership roads are those surrounding the park or leading from it.  South Park had become a Cinderella park.  PRARA fought for improvements and the establishment of a Master Plan for a co-ordinated programme of works.  We handed over this role when the Friends was established and the founding Chairman of the Friends was PRARA's chief lobbyist.

The Friends of South Park was established in January 2009 to become the primary support and lobbying group for the park. The Friends is a single interest group and therefore separate from PRARA and you are welcome and encouraged to join the Friends.

Full details can be found at www.friendsofsouthpark.co.uk

The Secretary and Chairman can be contacted by email: fulham.southpark@gmail.com

SOUTH PARK HISTORY

South Park opened in March 1904 on land that had previously been known first as Broom Farm and then Southfields Farm. The site was acquired by the Borough Council in the previous year for £35,000, a price of £1,500 per acre, from Miss Charlotte Sulivan, a Fulham resident and major benefactor to the area. She was a niece of Lord Palmerston who lived in Fulham’s most important 'manor' house, Broom House.

 

Prior to its sale, the land (then known as "Southfields, Fulham") had been leased to James Veitch & Sons, Limited for 33 years, for use a nursery. The Borough Archive contains the original correspondence between Charlotte Sulivan herself and the Council, concerning the acquisition of this land. She refused to surrender it until the James Veitch lease expired and pointed out that the Council had ignored her earlier offer of alternative land with more prominent access from the Wandsworth Bridge Road! In order to sell the land for a park she rejected an approach from a builder. She imposed various conditions on the sale, one of which is that the Council should erect no dwelling houses or buildings except as necessary or appropriate for use as a Recreation Ground or Park.

 

On its opening the park was described in the local newspaper as "Possessing over 20 acres, cricket, tennis, plus other open air games were offered and there was a bandstand, refreshment pavilion, ladies and gentleman's lavatories and a shelter." A gymnasium ( ¾ acre in extent) fitted with complete apparatus was at the Hugon Road corner.

 

South Park's first park-keeper was John Eckett who lived in the gardener's lodge whilst Miss Gertrude Eckett is noted as being at the refreshment room. During the First World War land in the park was given over to allotments and in the summer of 1915 it was one of the local training grounds for the three Fulham Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery raised by the Mayor of Fulham.

 

For the Second World War the council's own labour force initially dug trenches in the park; subsequently full air-raid shelters were built - the entrance was located where the present cricket pavilion is situated - and some of the park was again converted to allotments.

South Park is the only farming land in Fulham that still remains as an open space.

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