Springfield House, Hackney
Green space has always been special in the great city of London and today’s residents of Hackney have the opportunity to enjoy a public park alongside the River Lea at Springfield Park. A restoration project has been launched for the Regency villa that lies at the heart of the Park, part funded by the Country Houses Foundation.
In the 1800s, Hackney was on the very edge of the growing metropolis of London and Springfield House (or White Lodge, as locals know it) once stood in spacious private grounds surrounded by meadows. The area also boasted a calico works and a tile factory but within 30 years the population of the area was to double and the familiar Victorian terraces seen throughout London would become the dominant housing stock. Springfield House is a substantial villa built around 1820, a rare survivor from the early days of George IV’s reign after the death of his father for whom he had been Regent.
It would have seemed very modern to its rural neighbours, its building coincided with the construction by John Nash of similarly stylish stucco villas in Regent’s Park. The house is square, embellished with a columned entrance porch on the South front and two generous bow windows overlooking the park on the garden front. The house once had two similar neighbours, but when the grounds were acquired as a public park in 1904, the other two villas were demolished. No trace of the 19th century gardens survive but the park was laid out by JJ Sexby in 1905 and makes the most of views down the slope to the Walthamstow Marshes, one of London’s last areas of semi-natural wetlands.
The restoration plan for Springfield House provides for the repair and re-use of the stable block to provide workshops and offices and the construction of a new extension on the site of derelict greenhouses to provide space for weddings and events which will keep the house at the heart of the community.