October Park of the Month
King George V Playing Field
One Park - Three Names!
The Borough of Ealing is full of lovely green space surprises and one of these is the King George V Playing Field in Hanwell, formerly known as Poor's Piece and often referred to by children and local residents as Sand or Sandy Park.
The park has an interesting history: Prior to 1800 there are very few mentions of this particular plot that now forms King George V Playing Field but it formed part of the parcel of land given to the parish of St Marys in 1484 by William Hobbayne in his will. This was largely agricultural land that was worked by people from the local settlement. This settlement has existed since medieval times and, according to a map dated 1680, was called Tickill. Saxon graves from the 6th century were found within 500 metres of the plot that now forms King George V Playing Field so it is possible that the park sits on an even more ancient Saxon settlement.
In 1816 the parish land of Hanwell was enclosed and only 1.25 acres had been set aside for the poor in compensation for loss of common rights. This was called Poor's Piece which has existed on maps, with the same boundaries, since 1850. It provided allotments and grazing land for the animals of local people. This eventually became a charity known as Poors Allotments the rents being used to provide coal, which was distributed annually to the poor of the parish.
Poor's Piece (allotments) was conveyed to Ealing Borough Council in 1940, for use as an open space, under the provision of the Charities (Fuel Allotments) Act 1939. The money from the sale was invested and fuel continued to be provided. After the Clean Air Act in 1956 smokeless fuel or cash allowances towards electricity and gas bills were substituted.
The current park was officially titled in 1951 to commemorate the death of King George V. Founded in 1936, the King George’s Field Foundation was set up to commemorate the recently deceased King, but in a manner that could be more widely enjoyed than a statue in London. Having managed to buy 471 plots of land and convert them into public gardens, the foundation closed its doors in 1965.
Infants and younger children will certainly enjoy a visit to this one-acre Park tucked away amongst the Victorian terraces of old Hanwell. Older children and adults can enjoy table tennis (bring your own bats and balls!) or using the small outdoor gym. Or just relaxing on a quiet bench in a small but much loved local park surrounded by Edwardian and Victorian houses.
It is a quiet and pleasant space with a large fun and nature inspired children’s area with, of course, lots of the ubiquitous sand. In addition to wooden and rope climbing frames, large and infant slides, swings various, wooden sheep (at the time of viewing with smiley chalk faces) there is a tunnel to explore - and lots of lovely sand to scramble through!
There is also small grassed area for games and a shaded seating area. Additionally there is a small outdoor gym for adults and a table tennis table.
The park’s landscape had a major redesign in 2012 but aspects replicate natural features, including mostly native species of trees and grass mixes. The green space acts as a haven for wildlife in an urban environment and a stopover between larger, more biodiverse sites like Elthorne.
The park is open access with no restircitons and is located in Hanwell, with entrances on the Lower Boston Manor Road, St Mark’s Road and Bostonthorpe Road.
Bus: The 195 and E8 buses stop outside the park and travel up and down the Boston Manor Road on a frequent basis.
Tube/train: Boston Manor Station (Piccadilly line). Turn right out of the station and walk 1.5 miles straight up Boston Manor Road until you reach the park on the left. Alternatively Hanwell Rail station is just 0.6 miles from the park.
Parking: The main road and thoroughfare for the area is Boston Manor Road (Upper and Lower) with good access from the Uxbridge Road, A4 and the A40. The surrounding roads provide free parking without limitation. Bike/on foot: King George V Field is accessed via gates with step free access on Lower Boston Manor Road to the north, St Marks Road on the east and Bostonthorpe Road on the south.