Barnard Park is Barnsbury's largest green space and a valuable resource for local residents. Bounded by Richmond Avenue, Barnsbury Road, Copenhagen Street and Hemingford Road, the park has a fascinating history and, hopefully, a bright new future. The Friends of Barnard Park is a community organisation dedicated to preserving and developing the park and most of the following is taken from their extensive website.

 

A brief history

Like much of Islington, the area now occupied by the Barnard Park was originally pastures and pleasure gardens. Believe it or not, the park can claim to be the birthplace of cricket! The White Conduit Club (WCC) was established here, moving in 1794 via Marylebone (MCC) to Lords.

Cricket

 

In common with the rest of Barnsbury, the area was rapidly developed in the early 19th century with streets including Pulteney Street, Pulteney Terrace, Reid Street, Gainford Street and Boxworth Grove – now all gone.  The map below shows the area in 1868.  The handsome lady on the right is Ellen Jane Bradbrook, who was born at 10 Pulteney Terrace in 1869.  Her father, William Bradbrook, moved there from Thornhill Street, but the family moved to Poplar soon after Ellen was born.  Ellen is the great-great-grandmother of Elly(!), now living at Barnsbury Park, who kindly shared this information with us.

Pulteney TerraceEllen Bradbrook b1869 IMG 0266 3 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole area gradually declined over the next century.  Then in December 1940, at the height of the blitz, the area was levelled by enemy bombs and remained as a virtual bombsite for the next 20 years when clearance began. The new park was eventually opened in 1975 and named after Islington Councillor George Barnard.

Bomb Damage

 

Tony Douglas and "The Streets That Lie Below"

Tony Douglas lived in one of the few remaining houses at the west end of Pulteney Street during the 1960s and he has kindly shared his memories of those times, together with some priceless photos.  Jenny, with Caroline James, have used these to tell an intriguing story which you can find here:  “Barnard Park - The Streets that Lie below - Personal Memories of Tony Douglas”.

Although life was incredibly hard by today's standards, Tony has happy boyhood memories, including time spent at a stables in Price's Yard, which still exists today just to the south of the park off Matilda Street.  Here's a picture of Tony on a horse called Mitzy:

Tony Douglas on Horse Mitzy 2

 

And here's a montage photo of the area taken by John Scholes and showing the view in 1965 from the house on Barnsbury Road where Celia and he still live today.  Presumably Tony's house was part of the block still standing in the middle of the photo, surrounded by devastation.

Barnard Park Montage John Scholes 1965

 

If you go to the lower, western edge of Barnard Park today, you'll find a mysterious "Ghost Cobbled Street" - see below.  This is all that remains of the north-south leg of Pulteney Terrace, previously known as Alma Grove, and would have been at right angles to Pulteney Street where Tony lived.

Ghost Cobbled Street 2020

 

Barnard Park today and tomorrow

Today, the park boasts several amenities including:
• A large football pitch, now rather dilapidated
• A children's playground
• A larger adventure playground bordering Copenhagen street
• The One O'Clock Club for parents and infants
• And, of course, plenty of grass, trees and plants – the park's volunteer gardeners have won prizes in the Islington in Bloom contest.

Park Flowers

 

But over the years the park has become somewhat run down and the time is right for a major regeneration project. Great news, then, that following several years of consultation and planning, Islington Council are proposing a new "Masterplan" for the park and a final decision will be made at a Council planning meeting at Islington Town Hall on May 9, 7.30pm. Full details of the plan, the consultation process and guidance on attending the meeting can be found here. The Friends of Barnard Park fully support the new plan and so do we at the Cloudesley Association. Watch this space!

Park Plan

 

The Regeneration Plan - latest developments

In the event, the Barnard Park regeneration plan was approved by the Council at the meeting on May 9, but in a highly unwelcome development, the application has now been "called in" by the Secretary of State following intense lobbying by a group backed by Sport England who want a larger football pitch.  The Friends of Barnard Park are therefore urging local residents to support the plan yet again by commenting via this website:  https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk (under "Search for a Case", enter case reference number 3183311 then click "Make Representation" to enter your details and make your comments - it's fairly straightforward!). You can read the Friends' arguments for supporting the plan and why it's important to keep fighting for it to go ahead here: http://www.barnardpark.org/news/?p=1439  

The Cloudesley Association is firmly in support of the plan.  Amanda and Florence recently asked members to vote for or against and the results were overwhelmingly in favour of supporting the application.  Here's their email explaining the results:

Dear Residents:

Cloudesley Association – Barnard Park Voting Results

Thank you to everyone who responded to our request to vote earlier this week. Results of the vote are as follows:

• We received 33 votes (from 24 households) who voted in favour of supporting the application.
• We received 3 votes (from 3 households) who voted against supporting the application.

Consequently, we intend to provide the Association's support to the application.

However, in order to ensure complete transparency, please note that we will articulate to the Secretary of State actual numbers who voted for and against, as well as highlighting the number of residents/households we have email addresses for who did not respond. We will also include some of the comments you kindly provided.

Best wishes
Amanda and Florence
For and on behalf of the Cloudesley Association