London Unveiled

great places to visit off the beaten path.

Battersea Park ~ an historic football site & a great alternative to Hyde Park

2013_02_UK_Battersea (3)Located across the Thames from Chelsea, Battersea Park is a true urban oasis that is far less crowded and worn out than Hyde Park.  It still seems to have a ‘locals’ feel to it and at 200 acres in size it has a lot to offer.  Because there is no tube station nearby and because most tourist maps of London handed out at hotels don’t show it (most cut off the bottom of the map at Chelsea), very few tourists come here compared to London’s other large parks.  That said, it is one of my favourite open spaces in London.

2013_02_UK_Battersea (4)

History:  In the early 19th century Battersea fields, a reclaimed marshy area off the Thames, was a well known duelling spot.  In 1846 an Act was passed to buy the land (then used from growing vegetables) to make a Royal Park.  The 200 acres park opened in 1858 and benefited from the newly built Victoria Bridge (now Chelsea Bridge) which allowed easier access for visitors.

2013_02_UK_Battersea (2)

Football:  Battersea Park hosted the first ever football game played under F.A. rules on 9-Jan-1864.  The match was between two teams of the best footballers in their day – one organized by the F.A.’s Secretary, the other by its President.  Since next January will mark the 150th anniversary of football, and 2014 is a World Cup year, a reenactment match is planned for that date and the ball from the game will begin a global journey to Brazil, in the same way that the Olympic torch begins in Greece. See this website to learn more about the ‘Ball’ and its planned journey: http://spiritoffootball.com/the-ball/the-journey/

Also of note is that Wanderers F.C., the winners of the first ever FA Cup in 1872, played at Battersea Park.

2013_02_UK_Battersea (7)

Festival Gardens & Fun Fair:  In 1951 part of the park was converted to a ‘pleasure garden’ as part of the Festival of Britain.  Also a fun fair with a large roller-coaster and other amusements opened in the park.  A personal connection for me is that my mother and father both worked at this fair during the Festival of Britain while they were dating and in their early 20s.  Due to accidents at the fun fair it finally closed in the early 1970s.  Remnants of the pleasure park as still there.

2013_02_UK_Battersea (8)

The Park Today:  With a boating lake, outdoor cafe, open spaces, walking trails, an art museum (Pump House Gallery), sports fields, tennis courts, a peace pagoda and various memorials, there is plenty to see and visit.  The park is officially open from 8am to dusk, though the park is often open much earlier in reality.  For more information on events, special festivals etc… visit:  http://www.batterseapark.org/

Closest Transit:  Closest tube: Sloane Square, then a 137 or 452 bus, or walk (less than a mile).  Closest rail: Battersea Park Station.  Buses: any of these go by the park: 19, 44, 49, 137, 156, 239, 319, 344, 345, 452

14 comments on “Battersea Park ~ an historic football site & a great alternative to Hyde Park

  1. GrowlTigger
    May 2, 2013

    A fine tribute to what appears to be a lovely park. Despite living in London as a child and visiting often later I have never been to Battersea Park. I used to pass it often crossing the Albert or Chelsea bridges in a car or van in the 1980s. Coincidently I wrote a post the other day about childhood memories of Richmond Park in the late 60s, that is my favourite London park.

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      May 2, 2013

      Thanks for your comment – I think your observation that you drove by it often but never visited is a fairly common one. As to Richmond Park – a lovely place too. All the best, IAN

  2. Beachbums1
    May 3, 2013

    Thanks for the suggestion. I finally made it to Kew Gardens yesterday and, now that the weather is wonderful, I’m going to start “parking” it. Next week, Battersea and Richmond.

  3. rigmover
    May 8, 2013

    I use to ride my bike through the park on my way to work many years ago, great post thanks for sharing.

  4. This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am genuinely happy to read everthing at single place.

  5. dartmoorcrafts
    May 14, 2013

    Thanks for the memories. Battersea Park was the main thing I missed after moving away from London in 2010.
    Spent many happy times there, was only 2 minutes walk from my home, and often used to read in the Old English Garden, or sunbathe in summer. Nobody sunbathes in the parks around here.
    I like Holland Park also, and used to live opposite that at one time.

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      May 14, 2013

      Thanks for your comment – I’m glad it refreshed a few memories for you. All the best, IAN

  6. MissyOhSo
    May 18, 2013

    Battersea Park is one of my favourite parks in London as it used to be my neighbourhood. The pagoda by the water is beautiful – a great park for those runners out there!

  7. LondonUnveiled.com
    May 18, 2013

    thanks for your comments and for reading my blog – I appreciate it, Ian.

  8. Anthony Turi
    August 23, 2013

    This is a really great article. Battersea is a park I love and I spend a lot of time there. But I didn’t realise that this was where the first football match was played. This article has shed a whole new light on my view of the park. I thought of your article and that first ever football game when I was in the park the other day. Thanks so much Ian 🙂

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      August 23, 2013

      Hi anthony – thanks for all your comments and for your ongoing readership. I’m glad you are still finding interesting things you didn’t know. All the best, Ian

  9. refnews
    June 10, 2017

    Hi, I am doing research about Football history and I found out that the first game ever after the foundation of the FA, was played somewhere else, in Barnes Common, in 19-Dec-1863.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on May 2, 2013 by in Artistic Venues, Free Activities, Gardens, Parks, Wandsworth and tagged , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: