Monday, 17 October 2016

Wonderful, wonderful Ladywell Fields!

Ladywell Fields, from Ladywell Road bridge (17 Oct 2016)
Here in Ladywell we are blessed with a number of wonderful local parks.  Our two largest parks offer a wonderful contrast - we have Hilly Fields at the top of the hill and, at the foot of the hill between Ladywell Station and the Hospital, we have the evergreen Ladywell Fields.
For those of you not already aware, until about a century ago Ladywell Fields were watermeadows used for grazing animals (see photo to the left, looking east from Ladywell Station towards where 'The 'Playtower currently is, and this one from the Borough archives).
Ladywell Fields, at around the turn of the 19th century, looking north
from approximately where the 'curly bridge' over the railway now is.
In 1889 the area was purchased by the London County Council and Lewisham District Board of Works, with further land purchased later, and was opened as Ladywell Recreation Ground. Because the area was liable to flooding, the River Ravensbourne was straightened and enlarged, weirs were added, and the meadows were drained and landscaped.
Over the last decade over £2m of investment from the European Union and the London Development Agency has seen the renaturalisation of the River channel and other significant improvements.  The park has two children's playgrounds, a skatepark, an adventure playground, The Ten Thousand Hands Cafe and, quite uniquely, the River Ravensbourne in which kids can safely paddle, under supervision(!), during most of the year.  So what's not to like!
To get involved with the Friends of Ladywell Fields email or have a look at the Ladywell Fields blogspot.
Robert Sheppard

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