Following our article on the developments at Beckenham Place Park, it has been confirmed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund that a grant of £4.7m to for a major project to revitalise and regenerate Beckenham Place Park opening it up for greater use the community.
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake, said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “It’s well-known that public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players combined with strong local engagement and support, there is real opportunity for Beckenham Place Park to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”
The 95-hectare park is in decline, with visitor numbers dropping and is situated on the edge of one of the UK’s most deprived areas.
The cash will halt the decline and provide a future for this vital community space.
The project will involve restoring the parkland with the lake being restored. The 18th century property will be given a facelift as a visitor hub with a café, courtyard and education centre with office space for creatives. The derelict gardeners cottage will also be restored and refurbished for volunteering
The park will include a children's play area, boardwalk, a BMX track and skate park.
Beckenham Place Park: a brief history
The park was originally the grounds of the Grade II* listed Palladian-style Mansion House, home to John Cator (1728-1806). A wealthy timber wharf merchant, he was also Member of Parliament for Wallingford, Ipswich and Stockbridge constituencies between 1772 and 1793.
The house remained with the Cator family until the 20th century, although largely uninhabited in the 19th century.
In the early 20th century it was used both as a boys school and sanatorium. It was purchased by London County Council in 1927. During the Second World War, the park was a prisoner of war camp.
A 9-hole golf course was first established at the site in 1907. In 1929 it became the first municipally owned course in England and the mansion was retained as a club house. The course evolved and grew in size in subsequent years and was an 18-hole course by the time management transferred to the London Borough of Lewisham in 1972. Lewisham Council closed the course in 2016.