Delve into the captivating history of the People’s Park

Delve into the fascinating history of one of London’s much loved parks.

Tower Hamlets Council has launched Victoria Park’s very own audio trail for visitors to download and create their own personalised historical tour of the park. 

The Memoryscape Trail will take visitors on an exciting tour around the award winning park where you can listen to memories from park users and find out about the hidden gems in the park.

The trail begins by the Pavilion Café, just inside Crown Gate West, where you can hear how people power led to the creation of the park.

Highlights on the tour include the origin of the legend that is the Dogs of Alcibiades who guard the park, the Burdett-Coutts Fountain which was donated by Angela Burdett-Coutts, one of the wealthiest women in Victorian England and a great philanthropist and finding out about the Alcoves which are the surviving fragments of the original London Bridge.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman officially unveiled Memoryscape last week and was joined by the voices behind the recordings, residents and the Friends of Victoria Park.

Mayor Rahman said: “I am pleased to be launching this innovative scheme which will allow visitors to share memories of the park with other users and delve into the fascinating history of the people’s park.”

Cllr Rania Khan, cabinet member for Culture added: “This is a wonderful addition to park which has recently benefited from a multi-million pound refurbishment. Victoria Park just keeps getting better and better!”

The Memoryscape Trail was designed by University of East London history lecturer Toby Butler and composer Lewis Gibson.

Toby said: “We hope through this trail park users will get a deeper understanding of the park. As visitors listen to the recording they will feel as though they are in a bubble, for example the park may be quiet but the recording may be busy with the sound of children, this change in sound creates a unique experience that we feel the user will enjoy.”

Resident Terry Willetts from Bethnal Green shared his memories of the park at the launch. The 71-year-old: “The park has changed quite a bit. There used to be three large ponds and you could do all sorts of activities.

“During the war they grew vegetables here, and just on the far side of the park there used to be the German prisoner camp. I remember the great storm of 1987 when 400 or so trees were uprooted it was quite a site.”

Park users can listen to the audio trail by downloading the whole trail or individual tracks to a personal music device by visiting and clicking on Victoria Park.

Alternatively visit the Hub building in the eastern side of the park and pick up an MP3 player with the trail pre-loaded.

The route takes around one and half hours to complete but you can listen to individual tracks or make your own route.

October 10, 2012