(work in progress)
The border can be used to help pupils identify leaf shapes, begin to classify deciduous and conifer trees, feel the textures of different barks and sharp their vocabularies. Perhaps, with encouragement from schools, the Parks Department might put permanent labels on some of the trees, many of which are quite exotic.
In 1886 the house and its grounds were purchased for £96,000, after a lengthy and often angry public campaign, and Clissold Park was established. The Park, which covers 53 acres, was opened in 1889. The 1894-6 Ordnance Survey shows that it was well wooded even then. Today, there are more than fifty species of trees, some of them magnificent specimens.
The grounds had been laid out according to the ideas of Repton and the Picturesque. Repton became the partner of John Nash and laid out Regent's Park from 1811. He believed in irregular paths which turned to reveal new vistas of apparently unlimited extent. Groups of trees were arranged to conceal and give sudden surprising changes. Shrubberies like the one behind the Old St Mary's Church, opened into parkland, or an ordered avenue of lofty trees. Surprise and apparently unlimited space, were the aims. Thus, when the London County, Council took over the grounds as Clissold Park, at the end of the century, they inherited a minor Botanical Garden which had been designed as the grounds of a gentleman's residence. This was in contrast with Finsbury Park which was still meadow land when it was opened and took nearly a century to reach maturity.
The New River
The water now runs underground in a 48" inch (1.1 metre) main from the filter beds in Green Lanes to Roseberry Avenue. The filter beds are no longer in use, but the main still exists. When Clissold Park was first opened the New River ws open to the skies from Green Lanes, through Clissold Park and down the centre of Petherton Road to the New River Head, at Roseberry Road, Islington. In 1950, an old gentleman who had lived in a house near The Angel, remembered fishing in the New River, When he was a boy the open river which ran at the bottom of his garden.
In 1900 Clissold Park the New River ran from Green Lane s up to Clissold House, looped back where the terrapins now bask; ran parallel to Church St reet, and out of the Park at Paradise Bridge ; down Aden Grove and into Petherton Road. Paradise Bridge has long gone but, stand at the top of Clissold Road and watch the traffic. Chu rch St reet has a bump here the Bridge once stood and you will see each car rising and falling over it in turn. Inside the Park, there is a hollw in the field between Green Lanes and Clissold Park, This length had to be built up level. so that the water could fall gently towards the house. This embankment can still be seen at the end of the football field.
The first edition of this book said that there were reservoirs under the tennis courts. In fact, the reservoirs are in Finsbury Park.
Revised: September 7, 2011