Fairland Park is on the site of a former estate attached to Harringay House, a fine early C19th villa whose gardens were much praised. By 1869 part of the estate had been sold to the Great Northern Railway Company and by 1881 the bulk of the estate was owned by the British Land Company, which laid out the grid of streets now known as the Harringay Ladder. In July 1944 a flying bomb caused extensive damage to Fairfax and Falkland Roads and the houses demolished. Post-war pre-fabs were constructed but by 1978 were no longer needed and in their place Haringey Council created Falkland and Fairfax Open Space. In 2005 it was designated solely for the use of children under 12 and in 2009 was renamed Fairland Park with improvements undertaken by Groundwork Trust. Money was raised locally with help from Friends of Fairland Park, in addition to funds from LB Haringey.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2011
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Fairland Park is on the site of a former estate attached to Harringay House in the C19th, which was in the parish of Hornsey. This part of Middlesex was possibly part of the hunting chase of the Bishops of London, which extended from Highgate to Tottenham. The Harringay House land was surrounded on three sides by the New River (q.v.). The earliest known inhabitants of the locality were the Cozens family and there was a Tudor mansion close by, demolished in 1750. The last member of Cozens family to live here, Ida Cozens, sold the estate to linen draper Edward Gray in 1789. At that time the estate was known as Downhill Fields, which in 1792 consisted of Hill Field, Pond Field, South Field and Collier's Field, as well as Woodfield and Drayner's Grove. Gray purchased additional land and acquired the Queen's Head Tavern in 1802 and wasteland near Ducketts Common (q.v.). The name Harringay House appears for the first time in 1819, becoming 'Harringhay' in maps of 1822 and 'Haringey' on the OS map of 1864. Edward Gray's will of 13 September 1833 refers to his 'dwelling house called Harringay House at Hornsey' and his 'lands, tenements and hereditaments called Harringay Park'. After Gray's death in 1838, the occupier from 1839 was Edward Henry Chapman, although he did not purchase the house until 1840, acquiring it for £14,877 from William Hobson of Markfield, Tottenham, who presumably purchased it after Gray's death.
The house and its gardens are described by J C Loudon in an article in the 'Gardener's Magazine' in 1840 as 'one of the finest villa in that part of the suburbs' having 'some rare American trees and shrubs which it once contained, and of which here are still some interesting remains. Magnolia macrophylla, which has attained the height of 20 ft., and flowered frequently, still exists . . . There are various other fine specimens, and the place is kept in good order'. William Keane in 'The Beauties of Middlesex' also praised the 'handsome and commodious' house, its 'elevated situation commanding an extensive prospect over the diversified scenery of the lovely country by which it is encompassed on all sides' and describes the large conservatory and greenhouse with fine collections of camellia, azalea, citrus and other species. The pleasure grounds and 'noble Magnolia trees that have contributed to the celebrity of this place' are also noted, as well as pleasant walks and the walled kitchen garden with peach-house and vinery. Chapman died in 1869 and has a memorial window in Hornsey parish church of St Mary (q.v.). By this time he had already sold some of the estate to the Great Northern Railway Company. The 1871 census shows William Alexander living here with his family, including 2 gardeners, and by 1881 the tenant was Frederick William Price with his family and other relations as well as 16 staff.
The estate began to be broken up in December 1880, with 24 acres near Hornsey Station sold to the railway company and most of the remainder to speculative builder William Hodson of Dalston. By 1881 the whole estate of 190 acres belonged to the British Land Company Ltd, and by 1886 all the contents of the estate, building materials and fittings of the house, had been sold off, even the trees went for timber at auction. On the bulk of its land the British Land Company laid out the grid of streets between Wightman Road in the west and Green Lanes in the east, known today as the Harringay Ladder. Plots were in the main sold to small developers and builders who built houses mainly for clerks and artisans. By the end of the C19th the land was entirely built over and the New River had been re-routed. The rapid development here between 1880 and 1900 is described by the editor of the 'Hornsey Journal' (1929): 'There was one large house there - derelict I believe - surrounded by forlorn acres across which the adventurous could trespass . . . Then came a change. Roads were made and houses built with feverish activity . . . Harringay was the scene, I believe, of the first of the big building operations in the district, of the mass production method, under which houses came not as single spies but in battalions'.
On 10 July 1944 a 'fly' bomb caused extensive damage to the houses in Fairfax and Falkland Roads at the Wightman Road end, as well as many casualties. Many houses were demolished and after the war pre-fabs were constructed on the site to house the homeless. By 1977 these were no longer needed and in their place Haringey Council submitted a scheme to create a small public open space here, which opened in 1978 as Falkland and Fairfax Open Space. From c2000 a wooden building used by a playgroup and owned by Haringey Children's Services was in the centre of the site but was demolished in 2004 following problems with anti-social behaviour. In 2005 the park was designated solely for the use of children under 12 and adults accompanying them. During 2008 local schoolchildren were invited to find a new name for the site and the name Fairland Park was chosen. Following public consultation, a master plan was then produced by Groundwork Trust, and money was raised locally with help from the active Friends of Fairland Park, in addition to funds from LB Haringey. The aim is to 'design out crime, provide imaginative play facilities for all, provide a focus for community events and create an inclusive park'.
The park is mainly grassed with tarmac paths and a small amount of shrubbery, mainly berberis and choisya with perimeter laurel and hawthorn hedging and iron railings. On the east side are two raised areas with trees and grass. A railed public footpath runs between Fairfax and Falkland Roads at the east end of the park. Fairland Park was awarded a Green Flag in 2010/11.
J C Loudon, Gardener's Magazine, 1840, p584; William Keane, 'The Beauties of Middlesex, Gardens, Parks and Pleasure Ground Scenery from visits made in 1849 and 1850,' (1850); Sidney J Madge, 'The Origin of the Name Hornsey', (Hornsey Public Libraries Committee, 1936); Alan Aris, 'Lost Houses of Haringey' (Hornsey Historical Society, 1986); John Hinshelwood 'The Early Development of the Harringay Ladder' in Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin 47, 2006; John Hinshelwood, 'The Development of the Harringay Ladder' in Civitas Tottenham, Vol.1, issue 4, summer 2008.
LPGT Volunteer Research by Ruth Brownlow, 2009