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Chinbrook Meadows and Chinbrook Community Orchard Lewisham
   
Summary: Chinbrook Meadows is so-called after the River Quaggy, which was also known as the Chin Brook or Kyd Brook, and runs along the lower part of the park. At the turn of the C20th the meadows were part of Chinbrook Dairy Farm although housing development had taken place in the area from the mid-C19th. The park began life in 1929 as a playground provided for residents of the LCC's new Grove Park Estate. The recreation ground was enlarged in 1937, mainly providing sports facilities. The southern area was later taken over for allotments, part of which is now the site of a community orchard. In 2000 a new scheme to re-landscape the park was agreed following local consultation, the works completed in 2002. The Quaggy was naturalised as a meandering river and the newly landscaped park is also designed to hold floodwater, minimising the risk of flood damage to surrounding houses.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Chinbrook Road/Mayeswood Road/Portland Road, Grove Park
Postcode: SE12 > Google Map
Type of site: Public Open Land
Date(s): 1929; 1990s
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
Borough: Lewisham
Site ownership: LB Lewisham
Site management: Greenscene Department, Glendale Grounds Management; Friends of Chinbrook Meadows; Chinbrook Community Orchard
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted (Community Orchard: restricted for schools use)
Special conditions:
Facilities: Ball court, bowling green, football pitch, play area, tennis court, café, cycle route, dog exercise area
Events:
Public transport: Rail: Grove Park. Bus: 124, 126
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.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces; http://chinbrookmeadows.wordpress.com

Fuller information:

Chinbrook Road was a select and fashionable street by the end of the C19th, which also had a number of farms in the area, and at the turn of the C20th the meadows were part of Chinbrook Dairy Farm. In the mid-C19th much of the land was dug up for brick earth when the area began to be developed, particularly after the opening of Grove Park station in 1871, although farming, particularly dairy farming and plant nurseries, continued. In 1929 Lewisham Council built the Grove Park Estate, acquiring Chinbrook Meadows, and a 3-hectare site was laid out as a children's playground on the edge of the new estate. It was opened by Sir J E Kynaston Studd, former Lord Mayor of London.

In June 1937 a further 9 hectares were purchased from the Mercers Company, following a legal battle since the company initially wished to sell the site more profitably for development. The LCC refused planning permission and Lewisham Council was eventually successful in purchasing the site and the extended Chinbrook Meadows was opened by another former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Louis Newton. Ornamental gardens with roses and pergolas were laid out close to the main entrance, later re-landscaped. Much of the park was designated for sports use with cricket pitches, football pitches and tennis courts. The railway as well as the river runs through the park and a small area of the park to the west is accessed through a railway tunnel under the high embankment. An avenue of Lombardy poplars flanks the path along the eastern part of the park towards the north.

The southern area of Chinbrook Meadows was later taken over for allotments, some of which remain although by the 1990s half of these were disused and were taken over by Lewisham Council's Nature Conservation Section. They have now been turned into a community orchard and nature reserve, receiving Government Urban Programme funds for tree-planting undertaken with local schoolchildren in 1991-2. These include traditional varieties of fruit and nut trees with 30 varieties of apples, together with plums, greengages, pears, cherries, walnuts and cobnuts. There are also more exotic species, chosen to reflect the cultural make-up of the local community, including lychees, loquats and Japanese wineberries, olives, pine nuts, grape vines, cork oaks and Chilean wine-palms. Two small ponds were also created as part of the Community Orchard.

In 2000 a partnership of Lewisham Council, the Environment Agency, Groundwork, Glendale and the Quaggy Waterways Action Group responded to residents’ demands to improve the park. After consultation, the local users of Chinbrook Meadows voted overwhelmingly to re-landscape the park by naturalising the Quaggy, and agreed a river restoration design that kept the park’s best features, but with a meandering river, seasonal ponds, a new bridge, paths and a timber boardwalk. Most importantly, the newly landscaped park was to hold floodwater, minimising the risk of flood damage to surrounding houses. The scheme was completed in 2002. More recently a new sports pavilion, new sports courts for tennis, football and basketball and a new children's playground have been added to the park.

The Friends of Chinbrook Meadows was set up to safeguard and improve the park, which is a recipient of the Green Flag Award. In 2012 the Friends were successful in its application to the Community Spaces Fund, part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative. This will enable installation of new equipment for teenagers and fitness equipment for all age groups.

Sources consulted:

John Archer, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Lewisham', Ecology Handbook 30, London Ecology Unit, 2000. South East London's Green Chain Walk pack, 1998; 'Chinbrook Meadows, a brief guide' (LB Lewisham, n.d.)
Grid ref: TQ410720
Size in hectares: 13.58
   
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: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Borough Importance II (Orchard)
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Green Chain; Green Corridor (Green Chain Walk)
   

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