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Fairfield Recreation Ground Kingston
   
Summary: Fairfield Recreation Ground was provided as a public recreation ground in 1865 but had long existed as a market and meeting place. It continued to be used for livestock trading into the C20th, for example for Kingston Horse Fair from 1866 and a cattle market from 1925. It was also the venue for town celebrations and pageants. Today it is used for sports and informal recreation, a rectangular, largely grassed site that still has its Victorian railings. It is divided north / south by a path flanked by an avenue of mature lime trees, with trees around its perimeter including lime and London plane. Silver maple and cherry are among other trees planted in the park.
Previous / Other name: The Fairfield
Site location: Fairfield South/Fairfield Road, Kingston
Postcode: KT1 2PY > Google Map
Type of site: Public Park
Date(s): 1865
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII: Kingston Library and Museum, Stone from King John's Palace in Library courtyard; gate piers to Library
Borough: Kingston
Site ownership: RB Kingston
Site management: Grounds maintenance contractor: Quadron Services Ltd
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: Children's playground, football and cricket pitches, trim trail, toilets
Events: Various, including May Merry, normally over May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
Public transport: Rail: Kingston. Bus: K1, K4
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.kingston.gov.uk/browse/environment/parks/recreation_sites

Fuller information:

The Fairfield has long been in existence and is shown clearly on the C17th map of Kingston with fields to the east, and houses along the west side towards the river. From early days it was an important market and meeting place. Having become somewhat disreputable by the 1850s, and dangerous after dark, it was enclosed with railings in 1865 in order to preserve it as open space and to provide a public recreation ground, a move largely at the instigation of the Mayor, John Williams. Kingston was an important market town since the granting of its charter by Charles I in 1628 whereby markets were not permitted within a 7 mile radius and after its enclosure Fairfield subsequently replaced Market Place for livestock trading, becoming the site of Kingston Horse Fair from 1866 and the cattle market from 1925. The latter continued until the late 1930s when local farming was dwindling. Town celebrations were regularly held here such as the Kingston Tudor Pageant in 1917 raising money for the war, and in 1935 the Jubilee Fair to celebrate King George's Silver Jubilee. It was used during both world wars, for allotments in WWI when food was short and people were encouraged to grow their own, and in WWII when trenches seating 2,700 people were built at Fairfield in the Munich Crisis of 1938.

Sources consulted:

A McCormack, Kingston Upon Thames, London, 1989; Shaan Butters, 'The Book of Kingston', Baron, 1995; Tim Everson 'Kingston, Surbiton and Malden', Phillimore, 2000 ed; Sue Swales, Ian Yarham, Bob Britton, 'Nature Conservation in Kingston upon Thames', Ecology Handbook 18 (London Ecology Unit) 1992; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993).
Grid ref: TQ184690
Size in hectares: 2.451
   
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:
No
 
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: Fairfield/Knight's Park
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: Yes - Area of Archaeological Significance
Other LA designation: Local Open Space (Public Open Space). Green Corridor along Fairfield South
   

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