LORDSHIP REC – PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
The following is just a rough summary of the history of Tottenham’s largest open space.
1800s-1900s Downhills manor/estate straddles area – to become Downhills Park and Lordship Rec in the 20th century. Included Moselle River and adjacent ornamental lake (thought to be on the site of a Saxon ‘moat’). Green spaces were also known locally as ‘uplands’, ‘downhills’ and ‘mount pleasant’ at different times.
1910-20 Tower Gardens Estate built. To the south there are allotments + river + marsh + a ‘Broadwaters’ farm
1932 Lordship Rec created by Tottenham Council.
1936 10,000 local people attend Lordship Rec grand opening
1938 Model Traffic Area (MTA), unique in UK, opened.
1940 Downhills Shelter (in southern part of park) suffers wartime bomb direct hit. 40+ local people killed.
1950s – 70s Park’s heyday eg MTA, Shell theatre events, boating lake and ‘cascades’ etc
1966 Thousands attend Haringey Show in the Rec (on World Cup Final Day!)
1970s Broadwater Farm Estate built. Loss of many allotments.
1980s – 90s Cuts to maintenance and staffing cause serious decline
1980s Closure of lido by the Rec – replaced by housing. More open space lost. Woodland planted at the south of the park.
1985 BWF disturbances – Inquiry report calls for regeneration of estate and park. Broadwater Farm Residents Association demand improvements to the area.
1990s BWF Estate residents drive forward regeneration of the estate, and new Community Centre built next to park. Organise multicultural festivals in centre and park. Broadwater United football teams multiply and manage sport pitch in the Rec.
1990s Some physical improvements in the Rec (drainage, BMX track) but chronic lack of staffing and maintenance continues. Mother & Toddler Group take over disused hut as play facility (later to be co-managed with the Friends)
1998-9 Tower Gardens Residents Network launched to the north. Friends of Downhills Park launched to the south. Both groups very active and in achieving improvements.
2001 Friends of Lordship Rec launched, inspired by the neighbouring community efforts.
2002 Resident-led Lordship Rec Users Forum set up for community/council coordination to achieve improvements – have met monthly ever since (like the Friends have)
2000s Friends organise annual community festivals in Rec. Development of range of user groups and a vision for community-led regeneration/renewal.
2005-7 Some investment in active play areas. Friends rescue/improve woodland and lake areas. Staffing re-introduced after Friends lobbying.
2008 Back 2 Earth local charity set up to promote food growing, healthy eating and environmental sustainability in the Community Centre and in the future Rec
2011 LRUF hold weekly coordination meetings to oversee regeneration plans. Harmony Gardens created in Broadwater Farm Community Centre by the Rec.
2012 Regeneration and renewal works implemented, including restoring and bringing Rec heritage features alive again!! (eg Shell, MTA, River, main entrance) The Hub designed and built as the first environmenatlly friendly council park building in Haringey (made of straw bale, wood and natural clay).
Sept 22nd 2012 Lordship Rec Community Festival. The biggest yet with around 8000 people attending
2013 onwards Planned community/council joint management of the park and ‘micro-management’ of its specific facilities/areas…
2014 Friends of Lordship Rec start a co-operative to take over the running of the new building that is named Lordship Hub. The Rec now has a cafe and toilets so that people can spend all day in the park enjoying themselves. The Lordship Hub Co-op, with its many local community members, develop a thriving community centre run by paid staff and volunteers, with classes for all ages, cultural events, workshops, talks etc and rooms to hire for private parties and conferences. It also becomes the base for all the Lordship Rec User Groups and volunteers.
2018 Volunteering in the Rec continues to grow, with new groups starting up and long may it continue!