Hainault Forest Website

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Hainault Forest History

  Opening of London Playing Fields (Fairlop)


Princess of Wales (left) Prince of Wales (centre) and  the tall man next to the Prince looks like The Chairman of the LCC. Mr Ewan Spicer at the opening of the Fairlop Oak Playing Field 22nd May 1909.


Scanned from a 3"x3" glass cinematographic slide.


Chelmsford Chronicle

Friday 28th May 1909




The Fairlop Recreation Ground, a fine stretch of ground within easy reach of the spreading town of Ilford was opened by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales on Saturday. A full description of the site and the story of its acquisition, together with the prominent part played therein by Mr Edward North Buxton, and that gentleman's portrait, appeared in last week's Essex County Chronicle.

The Prince and Princess of Wales journeyed travelled to Fairlop by motor, arriving at the cricket ground at 3.45. Their Royal Highnesses had a great reception at Ilford, where every tradesman had entered into the spirit of the day. On all sides decorations were to be seen, and great crowds lined the roads along which the motor passed. At Ilford itself there were thousands gathered to witness the event. On  arriving at the Playing Fields, the Prince and Princess alighted by the verandah in front of the new pavilion, where a guard of  honour,  composed  of  the

Ilford Church Naval Brigade, was drawn up . The Brigade in two long lines, with their colours promin-ently in the centre, were inspected by the Prince who walked along the lines, accompanied  by Mr Edward North Buxton. Following this ceremony, the Prince drove right round the field, where eleven cricket pitches were occupied  by as many sets of cricketers, matches being in full swing. The inspection ended in the ceremonial tent, where Mr E. North Buxton  read an address in which it was stated that this was the eleventh outside cricket ground provided by the London Playing Fields Society, which has the honour of being presided over by the Prince of Wales. These cricket grounds are all on the outskirts of London, but the Society controls in all 200 cricket pitches, accommodating 4,500 players, in addition to a large number of football grounds and tennis grounds. Particulars as to the dimensions of the Fairlop ground were  were also given.

Among those who were present to receive the Royal visitors were the Bishops of St. Albans and of Barking, the Lord Chief Justice, the High Sheriff of Essex (Mr. J. H. Horton), Mr. E. N. Buxton,  Mr.  H. M. Thornton,  the

chairman and the members of the Ilford Urban District Council, together with representatives of the numerous Councils who will have an interest in the new ground. Among others present were Sir Joseph Dimsdale, Lord and Lady  Pentland,  Sir T. F. Buxton, Lady Leucha Warner, Sir John Buckle, M.P.,  the Mayors of West Ham and East Ham, Colonel Lockwood, M.P., Sir J.F.Horner, and Mr. Gerald Buxton.

Miss Rebecca Buxton presented the Princess with a bunch of red roses.

The Prince having declared the ground open, having congratulated Mr Buxton and the many other supporters of the London Playing Fields' Society on having provided it, planted an oak tree in commemoration of his visit on a spot near the ground-man's cottage, which is traditionally recorded as the site of the old Fairlop Oak. Finally H.R.H. inspected the tea pavilion

In accordance with the expressed desire of the Prince, the ceremony was stripped of all formality. Favoured by beautiful weather, it was an exceedingly enjoyable function. The Prince himself wore a grey lounge suit and grey bowler hat . For the most part the visitors wore straw hats and light clothes, and the scene at the opening presented an

unqualified display of gaiety and pleasure. Hundreds of cyclists made Fairlop their aim for the afternoon's run and helped to swell the crowd.. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Prince and Princess of Wales drove off, with Col. Lockwood, M.P., being via Lambourne and Abridge. A short stop for tea was made at Bishops Hall, the residence of Col. Lockwood. The royal visitors here saw the tree which the King planted in commemoration of his visit to Col. Lockwood a few years ago.

The Fairlop Cricket Ground has space for 20 cricket pitches which will be let tp clubs at a rent just sufficient to pay the bare cost and up-keep. There are in addition a tea pavilion, dressing rooms, and a ground-man's house. The whole will be under the management of a local sub-committee of the Playing Fields' Society.

When the adjoining ground of 46 acres' acquired by the Ilford Council, is also opened as a recreation ground, this will become one of the finest playgrounds in the country.

King referred to is Edward VII

Text copied from the Chelmsford Chronicle 28th May 1909 from the British Newspaper Archive in partnership with the British Library.

Postcard posted:  Hounslow 24th Dec 1904

Edward VII Halfpenny, Turquoise

Published by Chas. Riggs, Abridge


Lieutenant-Colonel Amelius Richard Mark Lockwood, 1st Baron Lambourne PC, GCVO, JP, DL.   (17 August 1847 - 26 December 1928) was a British soldier and politician  Lord Lambourne, resided at Bishops Hall, Lambourne and represented Epping in Parliament 1892-1917.

Edward North Buxton

(from an image from the Chelmsford Chronicle 26th January 1912)

from the British Newspaper Archive in partnership with the British Library.


Postcard published by Shamrock & Co, Photographic Printers and Publishers, London E.C.