This huge and beautifully planted open space hosts many festivals, fetes, rallies and meetings. It has two lakes, ornamental gardens, tennis courts and a bowling green . It is famous for its open air concerts beside the Chinese summerhouse, the Pagoda.
Burdett-Coutts Drinking FountainIn Victoria Park, the philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts erected the Victoria Fountain in honour of Queen Angela Burdett-CouttsVictoria . The structure cost £6000, which would have built several houses; but the object was to provide a “thing of beauty” as well as drinking water for the people – see photo. I remember as a child going for walks though the part with my mother. A drink at this fountain was then a “must”. Unfortunately the fountain is no longer available to the public (modern hygene?) and is fenced off from the public.
There are a number of play areas for children, a paddling pool, and enclosures with deer. The park was created in 1884 in response to demands by the local people for a recreational area.
Everyone knows Victoria Park’s boating lake and bandstand but did you know the park once boasted a pagoda, a Japanese miniature garden or a church? The pagoda had originally stood as the entrance to the Chinese Exhibition in Hyde Park . In 1847, the structure, originally costing £800 to build, was sold to the park for £110. There it stood until 1956 when, suffering from war damage and neglect, it was demolished.
The Japanese Garden was another spin-off from an exhibition up West. The Japan-British Exhibition was held at Shepherds Bush in 1910. When the show closed the Mayor of Tokyo gave Victoria Park the garden. Nine feet by four feet and mounted on a trolley it was wheeled into the open in good weather for the public to take a look.
The Victorian park was packed with delights and follies – the Moorish Arcade Shelter, the Palm House, the Cascade Waterfall, the Bronze Boy Fountain and more.
At the entrance to the park) there are two stone dogs on pedestals, one either side of the pathway known as the dogs of Alcibiades. For a full description of these interesting dogs and their photos, please follow this link
Over the years the park has naturally gone through a few changes. The Lido, where the Eastenders could go for an open-air swim in the baths, has been closed down. Alterations have been made. The playgrounds still exist, one of which being situated on what used to be two of the ‘three ponds’, near the running track. The other pond, which in earlier days was packed with model boats is still there, although it is no longer so much in use. Sometime on a Sunday in October 2005 Barryoneoff took a walk through the park and took some photos. With his kind permission I have included them.