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Cowley Recreation Ground Hillingdon
Summary: Cowley Recreation Ground was laid out on the former parkland of Cowley House, an C18th mansion that still stands to the north on the High Street, Cowley. The site was purchased by the local council on 13 March 1929, and in August of the same year adjoining land owned by the Fassnidge family was added to the new park. It was further expanded in later years.
Previous / Other name: Cowley House
Site location: High Street, Cowley
Postcode: UB8 2DZ > Google Map
Type of site: Public Park
Date(s): C18th; 1929
Listed structures: LBII: Cowley House (north along High Street)
Borough: Hillingdon
Site ownership: LB Hillingdon
Site management: Green Spaces Team
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: Play area, bowling green, multi-games court, playing fields; car park
Public transport: Tube: Uxbridge (Metropolitan/Piccadilly) then bus. Bus: 222, U1.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

Cowley was a small rural parish until the C19th and the Manor in early times belonged to Westminster Abbey, the parish church of St Laurence probably built by monks or their tenants in the C12th. Cowley House was built in 1738, re-cased in the late C18th and altered in 1896 by Reginald Blomfield who added a north extension. It was gutted by fire in 1929 and converted to flats, with more flats erected in the grounds c.1980. Barton Booth, a celebrated tragic actor whose portrayal of the Ghost in Hamlet was reputedly unrivalled, had once lived here and later John Rich, manager of Covent Garden (d.1761) owned the house, where William Hogarth painted a 'garden scene at Mr Rich's villa at Cowley'.

Cowley Recreation Ground was expanded over the years following the initial purchase in March 1929 of Cowley Hall grounds following the fire. The Fassnidge land added in August 1929 had been purchased by Edward Fassnidge in 1872, who owned much land in the area, part of which later became Fassnidge Park (q.v.). Remnants of the former land use include a length of C18th garden wall that bounds one side of the bowling green and trees that pre-date the municipal park, such as a fine group of mature beech trees with an imposing Cedar of Lebanon. Elsewhere are mature London plane and horse chestnuts, and a notable planting of three horse chestnuts in a single hole. Part of the park was made over for sports use for the nearby Cowley Hall Housing Estate and a Football Clubhouse is by the south entrance to the park. The Grand Union Canal was built between 1791-1805 and divides the park from Cowley Lake to the south. The park has access to the canal towpath, which leads north to Cowley Lock. Cowley Recreation Ground won a Green Flag Award in 2009, retained in 2010.

Sources consulted:

C Hearmon, 'Uxbridge: A Concise History', 1984; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 edition); Sir Clifford Radcliffe 'Middlesex', Evan Brothers Ltd, (c.1950); LB Hillingdon 'Cowley Recreation Ground Management Plan 2008-2012'
Grid ref: TQ053821
Size in hectares: 5.67
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
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: Cowley Lock (part)
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation:

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