|Dukes Meadow Recreation Ground and Promenade North||Hounslow|
In 1923 land here owned by the Duke of Devonshire was purchased by Chiswick UDC from the 9th Duke, the Council hoping to recoup some of the cost through hiring out part of the land to sports clubs. A terraced riverside promenade was created as a public park, with balustrading and viewpoints to the river, a bandstand and two shelters. It was opened by the Duke of York in 1926. Recent restoration has included a new paddling pool and sand pit.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hounslow.gov.uk; www.dukesmeadowstrust.org
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.
The land here belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, from where it gets the name of Duke's Meadow. Lying in a bend of the Thames, it was formerly osier beds with willows planted to bind the river banks and used for basket making. The meadows were used for market gardening supplying London markets, the produce transported to the city in willow baskets. In 1913 and again in 1918 land here was threatened with development, initially as gas works and later an electricity generating station. In 1923 Chiswick Urban District Council purchased c.230 acres from the 9th Duke of Devonshire, with a loan of £134,010 that may have included money for the burial ground, the Council hoping to recoup some of the cost through hiring out land to sports clubs. By 1926 the recreation facilities included football and cricket pitches, a paddling pool, sand pit and playground, and the terraced riverside promenade with balustrading and view points to the river, a bandstand and two shelters had been created as a public park. The park was opened by the Duke of York in 1926. The bandstand was popular before WWII for band concerts but fell into decline in the 1940s.
A farm building of the Grove Park Farm on the Duke of Devonshire estate became changing rooms for the football and cricket teams, with a flat for the Park Keeper; in the 1970s the ground floor was used by the Masonians Bowls Club. Today Duke's Meadow remains largely private sports grounds, floodlit at night, with some use for allotments as well as a large sports area. Along the river the Thames Path opens out in the area between Riverside Drive leading to the Promenade, where the bandstand was restored in 1988.
In the south east corner is Duke's Hollow, a 2-hectare area by Barnes Bridge, the site of a C19th boathouse that burnt down in the 1970s and now managed by the London Wildlife Trust and Hounslow Conservation Volunteers as a nature reserve. Inundated by the tide twice a day, it is a rare area of riverbank in its natural state in west London.
The Friends of Dukes Meadows was set up in c.1998 with the aim to conserve Dukes Meadows and the Riverside recreation ground, improving leisure potential and biodiversity, and involving volunteers throughout the local community. The Honorary Patron of the Friends was the Duke of Devonshire until his death in 2004, now Richard Briers. Numerous projects have taken place, including maintenance and conservation work as well as new facilities such as the Water Play Area in 2006, which won a Design Award from Hounslow Council in 2008 as best public open space. The Pavilion, which had become neglected and subject to vandalism, was restored and re-opened as artists' studios in 2002; a Community Orchard completed by 2004, and a Wild Flower Garden has been created on the disused paddling pool site. In 2006 the Friends Group became Dukes Meadows Trust. Funding is secured from various sources including enterprises such as the artists' studios and farmers' market.
LB Hounslow Parks Archive; HFH 2/9/1988 p7; David Pape, 'Nature Conservation in Hounslow' Ecology Handbook 15, London Ecology Unit, 1990