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Wanstead House, as built, illustrated in Nathaniel Spencer, The Complete English traveller, London 1771

Wanstead Park a grade II listed park with an area of about 140 acres (57 hectares), located in Wanstead, in the London Borough of Redbridge. It is surrounded by the Aldersbrook Estate and City of London Cemetery to the south, the River Roding to the east, Wanstead Golf Club to the north and Blake Hall Road to the west.

It is part of Epping Forest, purchased by the City of London Corporation in 1881 and owned and managed by the Corporation ever since.

Contents

History

The land was originally the site of Wanstead House, which was one of the key buildings in the development of Palladian architecture in England. In 1715, Sir Richard Child, 3rd Baronet, commissioned Colen Campbell, the Scottish architect, to design Wanstead House, a grand mansion to replace the older one on his estate; the earlier house (sometimes known as Wanstead Manor to distinguish it from the Palladian house) can be traced back to 1271, but was extensively rebuilt in the Tudor style in the 16th century; it was visited by most of the Tudor monarchs. The later Palladian building was designed to rival such palaces as Blenheim. When built it covered an area of two hundred and sixty feet by seventy feet. The portico on the main front had six Corinthian columns. The grounds were further enhanced with the advice of the celebrated garden designer George London - it would have rivalled the palace at Versailles. The Child family also owned Osterley Park and Middleton Hall.

The original intended design of Wanstead House, completed without the upper stories on the wings. The building was 200 ft. (60 m) wide.

On the death in 1750 of Sir Richard Child he was succeeded by his son John, the 2nd Earl Tylney. John had no descendants and his estates eventually passed to his sister's infant grandson, Sir James Tylney Long, 8th Baronet. Sir James (son of Sir James Tylney-Long, 7th Baronet), died in 1805 aged 11, and the estate then passed to his sister Catherine Tylney-Long, who married in 1812, William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 4th Earl of Mornington. To meet Long-Wellesley's debts of more than £250,000, the contents of the house were auctioned in June 1822 - the auction lasted for 32 days. As no buyer for the house could be found it was demolished and sold for £10,000 to pay creditors. It had reputedly cost around £360,000 to build.

Wanstead Park and the surrounding housing estates were eventually sold off, and was first officially opened by the City of London Corporation in 1882.

The Temple in Wanstead Park

As well as the ponds some of the old buildings still remain. The Temple is the most prominent, with the others being the Grotto (located on the ornamental waters) and the refreshment kiosk.

The temple and the grotto were both built at the same time in around 1760. They are now both grade-listed.

In late April the Chalet Wood is awash with flowering bluebells.

The park is approached from Wanstead via Warren Road. The road becomes unincorporated at the entrance to the Park. The unmade road ends at a well known landmark by the Heron pond called the "Posts". Along the unmade road there are several entrances to the park. One leads to a very wide swath of green that leads several hundred yards down to the Ornamental Pond which is locally called the "Glade". The other main entrance for pedestrians is from Wanstead Park Road to the south of Redbridge tube station, the footpath crossing the busy A406 North Circular Road.

Activities and Events

The Temple is open every weekend with displays on the history of Wanstead Park and finds excavated from the 18th century grotto and the 'Lost Roman Villa'. Entrance is free. Drop in to pick up free leaflets on Epping Forest or browse in shop for further guides and booklets, traditional toys and other attractive items.

Winter hours (October to March: 10.00 - 3.00 pm

Summer hours (April-September: 12.00 - 5.00 pm

The City of London run a programme of events at the Temple and outside including family craft days, outside theatre and musical performances. Please check the City of London website for further details.

Another event is Music in Wanstead Park, held around the beginning of summer. The event is organised by the Aldersbrook Families Association.

On the Ornamental Waters and the Perch Pond fishing is allowed, but only in season.

Notes

Wanstead Park railway station is a misnomer as it is not located close to Wanstead Park. More accurate names would include either Wanstead Flats or Forest Gate North.

Sources

Epping Forest: Then and Now, by Winston G Ramsey and Reginald L. Fowkes. Published by Battle of Britain Prints International Limited in 1986.

External links

City of London website http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Environment_and_planning/Parks_and_open_spaces/Epping_Forest/EF_wanstead.htm

For events at The Temple and Epping Forest http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Environment_and_planning/Parks_and_open_spaces/Epping_Forest/EF_events.htm


Coordinates: 51°34′03″N 0°02′25″E / 51.5676°N 0.0403°E / 51.5676; 0.0403

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