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Some facts about Clissold Park:

How big is the Park? 54 acres. That’s about 15 times smaller than Central Park, and about 7 times smaller than Hyde Park (not including Kensington Gardens).

When was it built? The house that is now the cafe was built over 200 years ago, in the 1790s.The first owner was a local Stoke Newington banker, a Quaker, Jonathan Hoare, whose brother, Samuel, and other family members, and him, too, were abolitionists. What is now the park was his garden. The river in front of the house was once part of the New River that ran along Petherton Road, and still does, but underground, until it comes up for air between the Marquess Estate and the big houses of Canonbury. At some point, when the park was going to be handed over to developers, John Runtz and Joseph Beck campaigned, back in the late 1800s, to make it a public space. The ponds, Beckmere Lake and Runtzmere Lake, are named after them.

What can I do in the Park? Here’s 50 things to do, and another 50.

Your range of facts is pretty lame. Where can I find more info? There’s an active Users Group with tons of stuff on their website. And there’s some info on the Company of Cooks site – they’re the people who run the cafe.

What’s your plan for the next 40 days? The 80 Days project is about half way now. Some of the things I still want to do: try out the cafe; speak to people from the Users Group and to the Head Gardener; make a video clip and call it Clissold Park in 60 Seconds; do some kind of Keri Smith intervention (something to do with the gates, perhaps); write a bit about Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Independence Park in Tel Aviv, St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth; make a list of all the parks I’ve been to; and more.

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4 thoughts on “The Half-Way Mark

  1. Hi Shaun. I found your beautiful map on a Google image search – I’m getting married in Clissold House in August, and wanted to explain to guests how to find it. How would you feel if I reproduced your map for them, keeping the credit intact? I realise this is a personal piece of artwork so please feel free to say no. I don’t want to just take an image from the internet without asking, but I love the park and think your map helps explain why it’s great. Up to you!

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