Meath Gardens (formerly the privately-owned Victoria Park Cemetery) was founded in 1842. It closed to burials in 1876 having fallen into disuse and only a few gravestones remain today.
The gardens were opened in 1894 by the Duke of York. They were renamed Meath Gardens after the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association's Chairman, the Earl of Meath.
There is children's play equipment, basketball and football facilities and a Trim Track in the park . You can also book a sports pitch in Meath Gardens.
In 2017, following concern about the loss of rendering from the entrance arch to the park, the parks team has worked with officers from across the council and the Friends of Meath Gardens to restore the arch. Restoration work has now been completed.
The King Cole memorial plaque
In June 1988, a tree was planted and a plaque set into the ground by the Aboriginal Cricket Association. It is in memory of Bripumyarrimin, known as King Cole, a member of the historic Australian Aboriginal XI. This was the first organised Australian sports team to tour overseas – a decade before the 1878 Australian cricket tour that gave rise to test cricket. King Cole died on tour and was buried in the cemetery, now known as Meath Gardens.
The plaque is inscribed 'In memory of King Cole, Aboriginal cricketer, who died on the 24 June 1868. Your Aboriginal dreamtime home. Wish you peace' . A further commemoration took place on 6th June 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of Cole's burial in the cemetery. Those attending included the current Australian Indigenous XIs and the Australian High Commissioner.
“Commemorating King Cole in Meath Gardens is important for our players,” Cricket Australia’s Paul Stewart said. “Remembering his contribution to Australian cricket is of great importance for acknowledging the story of the 1868 cricket team.” A new, comprehensive information panel was also unveiled at the site.
You can read more about the commemorative event in 2018 and this unique collaboration between Tower Hamlets council, Friends of Meath Gardens and Cricket Australia.
Developments and improvements
- A new playground has been installed and opened in September 2020.
- An outdoor gym has been installed.
The park currently holds a Green Flag Award
Size: 1-5 hectares
For more information please contact the Parks and Open Spaces Service at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Smart Street London, E2
Nearest Underground station: Bethnal Green
Bus: D6, 425,277, 8 and 388
Before you travel please visit Transport For London for directions and maps.