|King George's Field||City of London|
Portsoken Street Garden was created after WWII with financial assistance from the King George's Fields Foundation, and is the smallest King George's Field in the country. The Foundation, set up as a memorial following the King's death in 1936, provided funding for the creation or improvement of a great many playing fields before it was dissolved in 1965, including £10,000 to the City for this site. 1980s re-landscaping consisted of a water feature with fountain and pools within circular brick walls, perimeter path, seating and planting of shrubs, bedding displays and trees. The garden was redesigned in 2010 to create a new play area, with an emphasis on introducing natural play.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2012
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King George's Field, May 2010. Photo: S Williams
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Small public gardens created with financial assistance from King George's Fields Foundation, a stone plaque with the King George's Fields heraldic unicorn insignia indicating this is affixed into the wall of a small brick structure near the entrance on Goodman's Yard. The King George’s Fields Foundation was established on 3 November 1936 in order to promote the establishment of playing fields in memory of the late King George. It was considered that the King would have approved of such a living memorial, which would benefit the 'individual well-being and the general welfare of the nation', and young people in particular, by providing them with the environment and opportunity for open air exercise. The Trust Deed of the Foundation defined a playing field as 'any open space used for the purpose of outdoor games, sports and pastimes.' Local authorities were able to apply to the Foundation, whose trustee was the National Playing Fields Association, for a grant to provide these new facilities for public recreation. Each new playing field was to be known as King George's Field and was generally provided with heraldic panels that would distinguish it as such. It was a condition of the grant that the tenure of the site was sufficiently secure so that it would provide a meaningful legacy to the king's memory; the land must have been acquired only for the purpose of public recreation. The design of the entrance and the ground's layout had to be approved by the Foundation, which was to receive an annual report for the first five years from the acceptance of the offer. 471 playing fields across the UK were funded and following the demise of the scheme in 1965, their protection has been undertaken by the Fields in Trust. The largest King George's Field is Enfield Playing Fields (q.v.), some 128 acres, and the smallest is this small garden in Portsoken Street.
It was re-landscaped in the 1980s with the installation of a water feature with fountain and pools within circular brick walls, perimeter path, some seating and planting of shrubs, bedding displays and trees. It is bounded by modern railings. The garden was redesigned in 2010 to create a new play area, one of two such facilities in the City as part of the Corporation's City Play Partnership, with funding from the Government Department for Children, Schools and Families' 'Playbuilder' project. Both playgrounds here and at Tower Hill Gardens (q.v.) opened in April 2010. The design placed an emphasis on introducing natural play to both areas by including plants, mounding of the lawn areas and use of natural materials. The play equipment here included jumping discs, balancing blocks and wind pipes.
'History of the King George's Fields Foundation' and other information on www.fieldsintrust.org