This is a small park that sits right opposite an old church and exists as a result of post-WWII clearance of bomb-damaged sites.

The Eastway (originally Gainsborough Road) that the pocket park sits next to is one of the oldest in this part of London, predating any significant development, and was likely created as access to the Wick House mill.

In the 19th century, as London expanded rapidly, this area became a mix of industrial and housing, with houses built along the road where the park is today. The row of Victorian houses was utterly wiped out during WWII, though, following a direct hit on the area. After the war, some prefabs appeared to have been installed in the cleared land.

OS map 1893 showing site of the pocket park

The current layout of the park, with housing on two sides, only came about during the 1993-2002 development of the area as St Mary’s Village, after the church opposite. Built by Hackney Council, the scheme’s yellow brick walls, red tiles and turreted entrances are now established as a local vernacular architecture peppered around west Hackney Wick.

The park was originally a fairly flat open space, but in 2012, was given its current appearance as part of the London Olympics redevelopments of Fish Island and Stratford.

Before my research, I assumed the park’s refurbishment was more recent than the Olympics, simply because there’s a very clean and new-looking sign next to the entrance about the new Wick Green. But checking archive street view images shows the sign is over a decade old, which is oddly impressive in a way, as it’s not covered in graffiti or stickers or showing a decade of weathering.

The park seems dominated by the path that passes through the centre of it, and on my — admittedly winter visit — the path was the most heavily used part of the park. There’s a children’s play area off to one side and a swing over a relaid lawn, suggesting heavy use in the summer months.

Otherwise, candidly, it’s mainly a well-used path with some lawn and planting on either side, which may sound dismissive, but it’s a nice patch of green in a suburban landscape.

The refurbishment works were carried out by MUF Architecture and J+L Gibbons.

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