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Clapton Square Park Hackney
   
Summary: Clapton Square was laid out gradually on Clapton Field from 1811-18 with the central garden remaining as 'grass land' enclosed by iron railings until the late C19th. On an axis with the adjacent church of St John-at-Hackney, the garden was regarded as an extension of the churchyard. It became neglected as a residents' garden and was acquired by the LCC who vested it in Hackney Borough Council in 1924 as a public square. Most of the original houses were destroyed between 1943-47. A restoration programme for the garden began in the 1990s and it retains early C19th cast iron railings and a historic drinking fountain.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Clapton Place/Lower Clapton Road
Postcode: E5 8HP > Google Map
Type of site: Garden Square; Public Gardens
Date(s): 1816
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII: early C19th railings round square; houses on Clapton Square: 7-19 (west side), 20-25 (north side)
Borough: Hackney
Site ownership: LB Hackney
Site management: Hackney Parks Service; Clapton Square User Group
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: 7.30am - dusk (summer 9.30pm, winter 4pm).
Special conditions:
Facilities: children's play area
Events:
Public transport: London Overground: Hackney Central. Bus: 36, 48, 55, 106, 253, S2.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk/clapton-square.htm

Fuller information:

Clapton Square was laid out gradually on Clapton Field from 1811-1818 onwards with the central garden remaining as 'grass land' enclosed by iron railings until the late C19th. On an axis with the adjacent church of St John-at-Hackney (q.v.), the garden was regarded as an extension of the churchyard. Clapton Square was described in 1869 as being a position 'which will always be esteemed by the Citizen as a place of Residence...the convenience of the spot, its aspect of quiet retirement combined with an agreeable vivacity, and the universally high character of the Residents, several of whom have been in occupation for many years, have conducted to render the Square one of the most favourite locations in the Northern Suburbs of Town.' However, it became neglected as a residents' garden and was acquired by the London County Council who then vested it in Hackney Borough Council in 1924 as a public square under the provisions of the Town Gardens Protection Act of 1863. It was described in the 1928 Report on London Squares as an 'oblong area surrounded by privet hedge and shrubs, half laid out as ornamental gardens and half as grass playground for children'. Most of the original houses were destroyed between 1943-47.

A restoration programme for the garden began in the 1990s. The layout consists of lawns surrounded by a tarmac path with perimeter trees and shrubs, with a number of rose beds and other ornamental beds. The square is well-used, with a children's playground, pavilion and drinking fountain in the centre. The square retains its early C19th cast iron railings on stone coped low brick wall, with spearhead standards and urn finials at intervals; at the ends are tall square stone-capped brick piers. In 2008 the square went through a transformation, with a popular new play area being created through the Play Pathfinder Scheme. Clapton Square User Group works with Hackney Council to maintain the garden and undertakes various activities including planting days that have led to the creation of a community herb bed, pumpkin patch and a row of sunflowers. The User Group raised funds at the Halloween event in 2010 to buy materials for six bat boxes, which were made by Dan Gritten, a local furniture maker and member of the Group, who donated his labour. In 2010 the square was awarded a Green Flag. London Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers created four insect loggeries in the garden in May 2011.

Sources consulted:

Parks and Open Spaces in Hackney, A Report by the Hackney Society, London 1980; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; Victoria County History
Grid ref: TQ350853
Size in hectares: 0.64
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
Yes
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Clapton Square
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: Yes
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Open Space; London Square; Green Link
   

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