On Saturday I made the most of the glorious autumn sunshine and attended the Lordship Recreation Ground Community Festival. This year’s festival celebrated the near-completion of extensive regeneration works, funded by a £4m Heritage Lottery Grant that had been campaigned for long and hard by local community group Friends of Lordship Rec.
Lordship Rec is a huge-but-tucked-away park in Tottenham, North London. The renovations include a new bike track and regenerated Model Traffic Area. The playground’s been updated with fantastic equipment for kids of all ages, including a flying fox, and a paddling pool that will open in time for next summer.
There’s also a brand new “eco building” that will house a café and be the venue for parent and baby meetups and be used by other community groups too. As someone who’s walked past a neglected-seeming, fenced off old creek for the past year, the most striking change for me is the regeneration of the River Moselle, with three new pedestrian bridges and its riverbank now a mass of wildflowers.
The festival was large and sprawling with live performances in the Shell Theatre (which has also been upgraded), a dance zone, pedal-powered music stage, a bouncy castle, pony rides, the Tottenham Horticulture, Produce and Green Show, a dog show, various sports and stalls from loads of local organisations (such as Tottenham NCT).
The park, which adjoins the Broadwater Farm Estate, has a rich history. The land was purchased by Tottenham Council in 1926 and was officially opened as a park in 1936 with Tottenham Lido opening in 1937 (the lido was demolished in 1984 to make way for housing). The Rec was used as allotments in WWII’s Dig For Victory campaign but was bombed during the blitz – today a commemorative woodland marks the place where 40 locals lost their lives in a direct hit on their air raid shelter.
The park fell into disuse in the 80s but in 2001 The Friends of Lordship Rec was formed and has since helped clean up the lake, as well as secure the lottery funding. It’s a great tale of local commitment winning through but, perhaps more importantly, it’s turning a good park into a fantastic resource for everyone in the area for now and for years to come.