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Graham Street Park revamp brings history alive

A formerly run-down Islington park will reopen this weekend (Saturday 28 March), providing a brand new play space, along with a unique insight into the local history of the area during WWII.

Graham Street Park in N1, has been completely renovated.  A defunct paddling pool, tired play equipment and overgrown shrubs, have been replaced with a bespoke timber climbing frame, a basket swing, sandpit and toddler play area.  Landscaping work means visitors will now be able to enjoy views across the park down to the Regent’s Canal.

 A celebration event will mark the reopening of the park on Saturday 28 March, 11am-3pm, with a host of family fun, including narrow boat trips on the canal, ‘Trees Me Please’ nature activities and a pop-up community café.

Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a project researching the history and development of the park has also been completed.  Alongside historic photographs, smart phone owners will be able to scan a QR code that directs visitors to the council’s website http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/parks-environment/parks/your_parks/greenspace_az/greenspace_g/Pages/graham_street.aspx where three local people have recorded their stories about living near Graham Street during WWII and The Blitz.

Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, said:

“Graham Street Park was in much need of a transformation and I’m delighted that it’s been given a new lease of life.  The park will be a real community asset, offering something for all ages for local people and visitors alike.  The stories recorded as part of the heritage project are fascinating and give a really unique insight into what life was like for people living in N1 at the time.

“I’d urge residents to come along on Saturday, bring a picnic and enjoy what promises to be a really fun event.”

The improvements at Graham Street Park were funded by Islington Council, The Mayor of London’s Pocket Park Programme and Transport for London.   Local councillors in St Peter’s Ward were key to the work progressing, allocating funding to the project, meeting with landscape architects and consulting with local community groups about the plans.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s senior adviser on environment and energy said:

“The Mayor’s funding has helped transform Graham Street Park into a prime green space the entire community can enjoy. This is one of many ‘pocket parks’ the Mayor has helped rejuvenate across the city to help make London greener, cleaner and more pleasant for visitors and residents alike. “

Graham Street Park is located on Graham Street, N1 8GB.

Notes to editors

The Mayor of London’s £2million Pocket Park programme has funded the creation or improvement of 100 spaces in 26 boroughs across London. Grants ranging from £5,000 - £40,000 have been handed out to community groups and boroughs to create and rejuvenate tennis-court sized green spaces to be enjoyed by Londoners and visitors.

The pocket parks programme is part of a wider £6 million green infrastructure initiative supported by the Mayor, which includes the Street Trees programme; Help a London Park, the Big Green Fund and RE:LEAF. London is already one of the greenest cities in the world and these schemes are encouraging more ‘green infrastructure’ for the capital. For more information please visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london