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The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


The 17th century manor house of Copt Hall was on the site of the largest demesne wood of the ancient forest of Middlesex, the hunting ground of the Bishops of London. In the mid 18th century Copt Hall became known as Hornsey Wood House and became a popular Tea House and Pleasure Gardens, from the mid 18th to mid 19th century. In 1796 the house was enlarged and partly rebuilt and the wood was reduced to 27 acres (about 11 hectares) to make room for larger pleasure grounds, which included a lake. The wood and grounds were used for sports and recreation.

An 'out-county' park for Finsbury residents was first proposed in 1850 because of severe overcrowding and the Finsbury Park Act of 1857, the earliest act for a municipal park for London, set aside 250 acres (104 hectares) of land. The park that was finally started in 1866 was 115 acres (48 hectares) and incorporated the site of Hornsey Wood House (demolished in 1866), grounds and all the farmland enclosed by the railway and roads to the south, west and east. The structure of the park was designed by Frederick Manable, Superintending Architect to the Metropolitan Board of Works and Alexander Mackenzie, the landscape designer for the MBW, advised from 1868 on the 'ornamental portion of the park' (MBW Committee Minutes). The park opened in August 1869.

The park was enclosed on the north by Endymion Road (1874), and new features, such as a bandstand, chrysanthemum house, bowling green and cricket pavilion were added but the design remained largely unaltered until the 1930s. More substantial changes began in the 1930s and accelerated from the 1950s. The park was maintained by the Metropolitan Board of Works from 1869 to 1889, London County Council from 1889 to 1965, the Greater London Council from 1965 to 1986, and the London Borough of Haringey since 1986.

Site timeline

1866 to 1869: The site was laid out as a public park.

People associated with this site

Designer: Alexander McKenzie (born 1829 died 1893)


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