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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/PK/GEN
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1851-1965
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 1.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

The management of the Council's parks and open spaces was originally the responsibility of the Superintending Architect. In 1892, a separate "Parks and Open Spaces Sub-Department" under a chief officer was created and, in 1895, its title was changed to "Parks and Open Spaces Department". The Parks Department was responsible for the administration, design, improvement and maintenance of all the Council's parks, open spaces and gardens, including those attached to certain Council buildings and housing estates. Facilities for games and athletics were provided in many parks, encouraged by the Physical Training and Recreation Act. The deep water ponds at Highgate and Hampstead and various open air swimming pools and lidos encouraged bathing. Entertainment was also common in some parks, particularly performances by bands, dancing and entertainments for children. Some parks included wildlife such as water fowl, aviaries, deer and wallabies as well as horticultural features, floral displays and tropical gardens.

In 1931 the Council was instrumental in obtaining the passing of the London Squares Preservation Act, as a result of which over 460 garden enclosures in London squares are preserved as open spaces. The Council was also instrumental in the formation of the Green Belt, an area of woodlands surrounding the built-up urban environment. In 1935 a scheme was launched to begin purchase of land which would form the belt, with 2,000,000 set aside by the Council for this purpose. By 1937, 43,000 acres had been preserved.

During the Second World War much damage was done to London parks, yet they were very important as places of entertainment and relaxation. Post war priorities included repairs, but also expansion under the County of London Plan, 1948. This called for the creation of more open spaces, and specified an ideal of seven acres for each thousand of population. During the 1950s several new parks were laid out, including Hammersmith Park, Haggerston Park in Shoreditch and Brickfield Gardens in Limehouse. In 1952 work began on the riverside promenade along the South Bank, formerly part of the Festival of Britain site. The policy of providing entertainment in parks was continued, with theatre, opera and ballet, open air cinemas, symphony concerts, brass bands, dancing, gymkhanas and funfairs. Open air sculpture exhibitions were first held in 1948, followed by open air painting exhibitions. Parks were also made available to organisations arranging displays, parades, rallies, dog shows and so on. The provision of sports facilities was improved and specialist horticultural officers were hired to ensure that the wildlife and flora were well cared for.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Parks Department, 1851-1965, including lists of staff; instructions to officers; regulations affecting staff; Parks and Open Spaces staff handbooks; report on the Development of Crystal Palace (1955); pamphlet about the Green Belt; lists of London Squares with information about their status; regulations concerning individual sports and games, including Athletics, Bowls, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Lawn Tennis, Netball, and storage of Games Apparatus; specimen warrants used by the Parks Department Constable; brochures from opening ceremonies; register of small holdings and allotments; copies of Acts of Parliament affecting parks and open spaces; notices and posters for display in parks; example of staff passes; seven picture postcards (undated) of Battersea Park Flower Garden, Beckenham Place Park Golf Course, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park Lido, Hainault Forest, Parliament Hill Athletic Ground, Ranger's House (Blackheath) and Rookery (Streatham Common); booklets and articles relating to playgrounds; papers relating to Crystal Palace motor sports; general files relating to the formation of the Parks Department, tree planting on Hampstead Heath, recreational facilities in individual parks, Parks regulations, individual medical reports of staff and production of food in parks during the Second World War.

Brochures and publications including "Open Air London - An illustrated guide to some 480 open spaces in and around London (including Green Belt)", published by the LCC (1939); "Green Heritage - An Introduction to the work of the LCC Parks Dept", booklet for new entrants; "Green Islands - The Parks Service of the LCC" (1962); Guide Map (1964); "The Glory of the Garden" (Enjoy Your Parks Brochure No 3); "150,000,000 B.C - The Prehistoric Monsters of Crystal Palace" (Enjoy Your Parks Brochure No 4); "Hainault Forest" (Enjoy Your Parks Brochure No 5); "Parks for Tomorrow", LCC booklet (1964); "Garden Squares in Metropolitan Boroughs", maps prepared in connection with London Squares Preservation Act (1931); golf course regulations.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LCC/PK/GEN/01: Reports and directories; LCC/PK/GEN/02: General; LCC/PK/GEN/03: Miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also papers of the Clerk's Department relating to the Parks Committee, reference LCC/CL/PK. For records relating to Crystal Palace see reference CPT.

Publication note:

For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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