West Hackney Recreation Ground renovated after residents campaign

Residents gathered in celebration as West Hackney Recreation Ground reopened

Residents gathered in celebration as West Hackney Recreation Ground reopened - Credit: Archant

A much loved heritage site in Stoke Newington has been revamped after a year of campaigning by local groups and residents.

West Hackney Recreation Ground, comprising of the grounds adjoining St Paul’s Church, in Stoke Newington Road, was officially reopened on September 6 by Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe and Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney.

The improvements, including new pathways, restoration of original routes and new woodland were put in place after a £700,000 cash boost was given to the council by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Funding was also given by the West Hackney Parochial Charity, the Marathon Trust and the Church.

Conservation of tombstones and headstones and improvements to the church’s façade were also made as well as the employment of a garden manager.

The grounds started as a nineteenth century cemetary for St Paul’s Church, which opened in 1823 but had to be rebuilt after being bombed in the Second World War.

Since then the grounds have provided a communal space for residents and visitors of the borough, hosting popular events such as a weekly farmer’s market.

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Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet member for Health, Social Care and Culture, said: “West Hackney Recreation Ground is a valuable part of Hackney’s local history.

“After years of campaigning, and months of hard work, this beautiful city oasis is ready to be enjoyed again, and more fully than ever, by the community.

“We now hope the grounds will be used by community groups, schools, as well as residents seeking retreat from the general hubbub.”

The makeover is part of an extensive programme of Improvement works by the Council on the borough’s green spaces.