About

About The Recreation Ground

Woodfield is an open space bounded by Abbotswood Road to the East and Tooting Bec Common to the West. It is owned by Wandsworth Council, but is situated in Lambeth. The OS reference of the site is TQ294725; the postcode SW16 1AP.

The site has the 1930s pavilion and 1.2 hectares of open space with a rich heritage. Woodfield is an enclosed green field, flanked on two sides by the gardens of houses in Abbotswood Road, on another by the playing fields of Streatham and Clapham Girls High School and on the last by Tooting Bec Common.

It has always been open land, once as farmland, then as part of a country estate, and in the 1930s it became a safe haven for games and recreation, with a pavilion added in 1933 by the London County Council. More recently, Woodfield was leased and used as the site of a Steiner School, however their use of pavilion and grounds ceased at the end of Summer 2010.

The Pavilion

The pavilion was opened in 1933 to provide changing facilities for the young people and others when they used the field for sports and other activities. The purchase of the ground and the building of the pavilion was funded by Greater London Playing Fields Association, London parochial charities, London County Council, and local people. The pavilion is in good shape, but needs considerable investment to allow us to bring it back into public use.

History

One of our trustees, Professor Andrew Sharp, has begun to research the history of Woodfield and has published a  brief account covering its early years in public hands, through its occupation by the Steiner Waldorf School of South London, to the present day.

Andrew’s history is almost entirely based on official sources and he is very keen to flesh it out with the memories and remarks of anyone who personally knew or used Woodfield any time from 1933 onwards. He and the trustees would be very grateful if anyone willing to be interviewed by him should contact him at –  thewoodfieldproject@gmail.com

The Recreation Ground is open to the public to vist, although the Pavilion is currently closed while we finalise fundraising plans.

There is limited parking in the local area, so please make your journey by foot, bike, or public transport. Woodfield is an 8 minute walk from Streatham Hill station and a 20 minute walk from Balham station. The nearest bus routes are the 50 & 255 (get off near Streatham Hill) and the 315 (get off near the junction of Garrad’s Road and Abbotswood Road).

Woodfield is accessible from Tooting Bec Common to the west (or Balham-side). Walk down Bleak Hall Lane (the path down the eastern side of Triangle Field from Emmanuel Road underneath the eastern railway bridge down to Bedford Hill) and look for the cricket pavilion to the east of the field, through the trees.

From Abbotswood Road to the east (or Streatham-side), you can access Woodfield by a path between number 16 & number 18.

Please note that Woodfield is a dog-free area.

The Project

The Woodfield Project (TWP) is in in its early days. It is devoted to using the Woodfield Pavilion and the Recreation Ground in ways that appeal to, and benefit, a wide range of users, including children, community groups, and people training for paid work in a ‘natural’ environment.

To date the trustees have been mainly concerned with developing plans designed to attract funding, with negotiating terms of use of the pavilion and grounds with the Wandsworth Borough Council, and with obtaining planning permission from the Lambeth Borough Council.

The Charity

The Woodfield Project is registered as a charity no. 1158644 with the Charity Commission. The charity is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. We have a number of trustees, drawn from the local community, as well as members & supporters.

The charity’s details are available here on the Charity Commission website.

As TWP develops, its management will change in two main ways in line with its emerging needs. (1) Further and different trustees up to a total of 15 will be elected at annual meetings of the members of the charity or appointed by the trustees. (2) a management committee will evolve, consisting of some of the trustees and members, together with others who might include a manager, representatives of resident organisations, of users, of the wider voluntary and community sectors, and of people with professional knowledge of (for instance) property management, marketing, finance, horticulture, arboriculture, botany and biology.

This process of change will begin in 2016: before, and during the refurbishment of the pavilion which it is hoped will begin in October. It will mean that the trustees and emerging managers need to plan for the future, to raise funds, to canvass for users, to elicit volunteer help, and to attract further trustees, members and subscribers (or ‘friends’). All these activities are interdependent, and their success will be determined by the appeal of the proposed developments to users and well-wishers.