Opening of Clissold Park – Plan of the Ceremony – Councillor Beck’s Enraptured Vision

15_07_1889 NEWS CLIPPING The Evening news and post.JPG

It has been definitely arranged that Clissold Park is to be opened to the public on Monday, the 24th instant. Lord Rosebery, on behalf of the County Council, has consented to perform the opening ceremony. His lordship, accompanied by Lord Meath, chairman of the Parks Committee of the Council, and a score or more of Councillors, will, as the plans are now, drive down to Stoke Newington by way of High-street and Church-street, to the park entrance opposite the parish church, arriving there at five p.m. Here he will be met by the members of the Clissold Park Preservation Committee, headed by Mr. Joseph Beck, L.C.C., and Mr. John Runtz. Entering the park he will make a complete circuit of the grounds, finishing in front of the mansion, where he will take his stand on the terrace.

Lord Meath will then introduce the various members of the Clissold Park Preservation Committee, after which an address will be presented to his lordship, who will then declare the park open. During the ceremony the public will be kept waiting at the gates. His lordship’s formal declaration will he signalised by the firing of a cannon manned by some volunteer artillery corps; the band, stationed on the balcony of the mansion, will strike up, the gates will be thrown open, and the crowd admitted. The committee and the friends of Lord Rosebery will retire into the mansion, where a cold collation will be laid, and refreshments. There will be some congratulatory speech-making, after which his lordship, Lord. Meath, and the members of the Council will probably return by Green Lanes.

These details are supplied by Mr. Joseph Beck, and may be relied upon. The park will be still in an incomplete state; but is believed the public may be relied upon not to interfere with any necessary operations, such as gardening; nor is it believed that any reasonable person will object if portions from time to time are fenced in. Councillor Beck has felt it a great pity that £100,000 worth of lovely green should lie unused during this weather, and has put forth herculean efforts to get the park opened in time for next month’s bank holiday. He has kept to his purpose with admirable persistence. From a recent, interview with him, published in the North London Guardian, it would appear that the main entrance to the park is to be directly opposite St. Mary’s Church.

The wide path sweeps in a graceful curve—so as to avoid felling any of the fine old timber—under the trees to the New River, where it divides, one road leading over the bridge into the “horseshoe portion,” the other part losing the curve of the stream, passing the front of the mansion, and continuing as a shaded terrace-walk under the grand avenue that shades the river on the northern side. Opposite the mansion another bridge will he placed, and a third will span the stream just at the entrance from Highbury New Park.

Under the belt of trees which encircle the park is being prepared a wide grand walk which will encompass the whole of the grounds. The “horseshoe portion,” which will not he ready before the spring—as the bridges and other matters are not yet arranged for—will be traversed by two broad paths crossing each other at the centre, at which point a circular mound is being raised, which Councillor Beck suggests should be called “Fat Turkey Hill,” in memory of the terms of lease which fixes the rental at an annual payment of ” £109 and a fat turkey.” These paths will run one from Paradise-row-gate to the bridge at the foot of the mansion, and the other from Highbury Park Tavern to the bridge near the church entrance.

From this interview it would also appear that the lakes at the northern end of the park are filling rapidly from the New River mains, and the two handsome young swans, the gift of Mr. Dowling, of Leadenhall Market, seem quite at home. There is an enormous stock of wood at the north eastern corner which will be devoted to the making of rustic mounds and flower-bed borderings. Not a stick of this will be sold, even offers to purchase the old tree roots having been declined. It would appear that there are to be large quantities of wild fowl on the lakes, with breeding hutches on the islands; seats under every tree if possible, and railings to protect the lower branches and foliage of some–the railings, however, so arranged as to allow an entrance to a shady scat around the trunk.

At the church entrance the grounds will be a blaze of colour. Here the greatest art of the park gardner will tie lavished. Under a spreading tree close by a site is chosen for a fountain. Behind the pond there will be shrubbery planted; comfortable seats will be placed here, from which the whole park can be viewed, from the boys sailing their toy boats in the lake below to the delicate spire of our church and the picturesque red roofs of our houses in Church-street. Such is Councillor Joseph Beck’s enraptured vision of Clissold Park of the near future.

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