Hackney residents celebrate unveiling of renamed Kit Crowley Gardens

Wentworth nursery pupils plant bulbs in the newly opened Kit Crowley Gardens

Wentworth nursery pupils plant bulbs in the newly opened Kit Crowley Gardens - Credit: Sean Pollock

Wentworth nursery pupils gathered for the reopening of a renamed Hackney park last week. 

Kit Crowley Gardens on Cassland Road is the first public space in the borough to be renamed as part of the council's Review, Rename, Reclaim project. 

Local hero Kathleen 'Kit' Crowley, who passed away in 2018, had worked at Wentworth Nursery for more than 30 years.

She was a beloved member of the community who spent much of her life supporting her neighbours despite having had a difficult childhood and enduring poverty and racial prejudice throughout her life. 

Kit Crowley's son John Di Carlo stands at the entrance to the gardens with Cllr Carole Williams

Kit Crowley's son John Di Carlo stands at the entrance to the gardens with Cllr Carole Williams - Credit: Sean Pollock

At the ceremony, Cllr Carole Williams portfolio holder for human resources, shared anecdotes about Kit and praised her contribution to the community.

The councillor said: "We will continue to work towards making sure that our public spaces reflect the people and events that mean something to our residents, speak to Hackney’s history and show our commitment to diversity and anti-racism, so that together we can celebrate our borough’s inspirational stories, amazing histories, and local heroes like Kit Crowley.” 

Kit Crowley Gardens was once named after Sir John Cass who profited from the slave trade in the 17th century

Kit Crowley Gardens was once named after Sir John Cass who profited from the slave trade in the 17th century - Credit: Sean Pollock Photographer

Guests at the opening heard live renditions of some of Kit’s favourite songs performed by singer Vivienne Isebor and guitarist Joel Antwi-Boasiako. 

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There was also a reading of Kit’s favourite poem, My Garden, by Thomas Edward Brown, delivered by Kit’s son John Di Carlo.

Kit’s favourite songs were performed by singer Vivienne Isebor and guitarist Joel Antwi-Boasiako

Kit’s favourite songs were performed by singer Vivienne Isebor and guitarist Joel Antwi-Boasiako - Credit: Sean Pollock Photographer

After flower bulbs were planted in the garden by Wentworth nursery pupils, Cllr Williams unveiled the garden's new information panel. 

Kit's name was chosen by residents following a 2021 consultation. Her name replaces a previous moniker paying homage to Sir John Cass who profited from the slave trade in the 17th century. 

Kit's son John with family, friends and Cllr Williams at the gardens

Kit's son John with family, friends and Cllr Williams at the gardens - Credit: Sean Pollock Photographer

The former Cassland Road Gardens sign now rests in Hackney Museum as an educational artefact.

Cllr Williams added: “Hackney is committed to ensuring our public spaces reflect all of our borough’s diverse history, that we do not wittingly and unwittingly glorify those who have not made a positive contribution to life in the borough, and to turn the tide."

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