Myatt's Fields, Camberwell 2367

South London, Greater London, England

Brief Description

Myatt's Fields Park is a 19th-century public gardens and park, opened in 1889. Restored in 2010, it retains its layout of serpentine paths, flower beds and mature trees, and continues to have seasonal bedding displays. More recent additions include a nature conservation area and wet play area.

History

Between 1818 and 1869 the site was leased as a market garden to a man called Myatt and the area became famous for his excellent produce. William Minet donated the site to the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association who laid it out as a public park, designed by their landscape gardener Fanny Wilkinson. In 1889 it was passed over to the newly formed London County Council. It was provided with gymnasia for boys and girls, a circular shelter, park keeper's lodge and greenhouses for the bedding displays, and soon had a bandstand.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal park for general public use. It is open from 7.30am - 15 minutes before sunset.

Terrain

Level.

Detailed Description

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):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

19th century public gardens and park given by William Minet to the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and then to the newly formed London County Council in 1889.

DESCRIPTION

The 6ha level site is irregular in outline and is contained within iron railings with four entrances. The site lies within a high density residential area bounded by Knatchbull Road to the east, Cormont Road to the south and west, and Calais Street to north.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Four entrances, one in each of Calais Street, Knatchbull Road, and Cormont Road, and one at the junction of Calais Street and Cormont Road, are secured with large ornamental wrought-iron gates. The principal entrance was originally through a porch attached to the superintendent's lodge (now in private ownership) in Knatchbull Road. The porch was removed and the entrance moved a few metres to the north-east in the mid C20. The original entrance from the north-east end of Knatchbull Road, opposite the junction with Ingliss Road, was relocated (mid C20) 50m to the north at the junction of Calais Road and Knatchbull Road. Serpentine tarmac paths lead between the entrances, around and across the central area of lawn.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

The Octagonal Bandstand (listed grade II) is built on a raised brick plinth with a wooden balustrade railing. Eight decorative piers support shallow elliptical arches with key mouldings on which the top frame rests. It has a steeply pitched tiled roof with a central arcaded drum below an ogee lead cupola with ball and spike finish. The bandstand is not shown on the 1901 OS map although ornamental beds leave space for it to the west. It is noted and illustrated by Sexby in 1902 and given a date of 1894 by Draper (1979).

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The pleasure grounds were designed for the Metropolitan Gardens Association, probably by Fanny R Wilkinson (Conway 1996).

Fine mature planes, limes, and horse chestnut trees line the paths which traverse between lawns, flower beds, and shrubberies. The site retains much of the late C19 design recorded on the 1901 OS map and described, in 1909, as one of the most tasteful of the new parks (Cecil 1907).

To the south of the resited Knatchbull Road entrance, on land adjacent to the superintendent's lodge and extending onto the site of C19 glasshouses, a low wooden fence encloses a grassed area decorated with cut beds, annual bedding plants, and some specimen trees. Mature plane trees line the perimeter path which continues to the west, linking up with the gate at the south end of Cormont Road where the ornamental shrubberies to the north and south are enclosed within wooden pales. The perimeter path continues north past the central lawn (enclosed within wooden fencing), with a view of the C20 bandstand (listed grade II) to the north and St James' church (listed grade II) to the south-east. North and north-west of the bandstand are all-weather tennis courts, and facilities for mothers and children. To the east of the bandstand the central lawn is traversed by a path lined with lime trees which links up with the central north/south path and the southern perimeter path, both of which originate from the Knatchbull Road entrance. At the intersection with the central path is a C19 octagonal shelter encircled by the path and bordered with grass and cut beds. To the south-east of the entrance at the junction of Calais Street and Cormont Road the western and northern perimeter paths join and continue to the east past the children's playground, which though updated and no longer segregated is on the site of the C19 gymnasia.

To the south-west of the Calais Street entrance ornamental beds surrounded by grass have replaced a pond and fountain recorded on the 1934 edition of the OS.

The perimeter path from the Calais Street entrance to Knatchbull Road is lined with plane trees and screened from the road by a hedge. An area to the west, originally part of the central lawn, has been made into an all-weather sports pitch.

REFERENCES

J J Sexby, The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces of London (1898), pp 172-175

E Cecil, London Parks and Gardens (1907), pp 166-168

LCC, London Parks and Open Spaces (1924), pp 56-57

M P G Draper, Lambeth's Open Spaces An Historical Account (1979), pls 50a, 50b

B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2 South (1983), p 375

H Conway, Public Parks (1996), p 37

Maps

OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1901

1934 edition

OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1912

Description written: April 1997

Edited: July 2001

Features
  • Bandstand
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Summerhouse
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal park for general public use. It is open from 7.30am - 15 minutes before sunset.

Directions

Tube: Oval (Northern) then bus. Rail: Brixton/Loughborough Junction. Bus: P5, 3, 36, 59, 185, 436.
History

Detailed History

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):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

In 1770 the site was conveyed to Hughes Minet, a descendant of a Huguenot family who fled to Britain in the 17th century upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Between 1818 and 1869 the site was leased as a market garden to a man called Myatt and the area became famous for the excellent quality of the strawberries and rhubarb.

William Minet donated the site to the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association who laid it out as a public park, and in 1889 passed it over to the newly formed London County Council when it was formally opened to the public. The amenities included gymnasia, one for boys and one for girls, a large shelter, a bandstand (although this was probably not built until a little later), and the necessary greenhouses.

The site was named after the market gardener Myatt but was sometimes (Cecil 1907) referred to locally as Camberwell Park. It is now (1997) owned and managed by the London Borough of Lambeth.

Associated People

Just one person associated to Myatt's Fields, Camberwell

Contact
References

References