Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and Ackroyd Drive GreenLink Nature Reserve
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, one of London's 'Magnificent Seven' cemeteries, privately ran and opened to burials in 1841. Burials ceased in 1966, whereby the site was closed as a Cemetery by Act of Parliament and re declared a Park. The Park was owned and managed by the Greater London Council (GLC) until 1985. With abolition of the GLC, it passed to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
In 1990 the 'Friends' were formed and since then, working in partnership with the Council, have been very active in promoting the park, increasing the knowledge of its wildlife and its history (led by the East London History Society), running a programme of public events, obtaining funding to improve the site for people and for nature, and involving volunteers in dealing progressively with the legacy of decades of neglect. The Park is now a designated Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. It is managed by the Friends via Service Level Agreement with LBTH Parks.
In 1993 the Soanes Centre, within the Park was opened. Now run by Setpoint London East they offer science workshops, using the Park as the classroom. Most of the workshops are on the natural environment; they all link to the National Curriculum, and use the ponds and the flower rich woodlands and meadows in the park. The workshops are offered free of Charge to schools in Tower Hamlets and welcomes over 8000 school children every academic year.
During the mid 1990’s additions were made to the park, all located along the Southern Boundary. One was Scrapyard meadows whose name indicates its former use, now a flower rich meadow. The other is Ackroyd Drive Greenlink opposite the Leopold Estate; this acts a green corridor between the Cemetery Park and Mile End Park.
The Park is within a conservation area, contains several English Heritage Grade 2 listed Monument, is a site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. In 2001 the Park and Ackroyd Drive together became the boroughs first Local Nature Reserve. The 'Friends' patron, David Bellamy was present at the declaration ceremony.
The site has a varied network of paths that take you on a tour around wonderful woodlands taking in unique and special wildflower meadows. On your tour you will see many birds, butterflies and plants uncommonly seen in London.
The park actively takes park in grave research and if you want to get in touch regarding tracing relatives or information please get in touch using the details below. Alternatively get in touch if you want to get involved volunteering with grave research.
National Britain in Bloom winners 2016 for Wildlife and Conservation
Cemetery Park activities
The Cemetery Park run a wide range of activities and events throughout the year, for all ages, including arts and crafts workshops and guided walks. More information on the current programme.
Nature and Us
Nature and Us is a community cohesion project in Mile End, Stepney, Aldgate and Whitechapel running from summer 2018 to the end of summer 2019. It will allow members of the community, as individuals, families or a group organisation, to enjoy nature in their local areas. It will create an opportunity for people to meet others and extend their environmental knowledge and skills, no matter their age, background, ethnicity, faith or gender.
You can get involved in activities such as Minibeast Safaris, building window boxes, creating public art, attending bat walks and attend events to learn about local plants and animals.
We are also very interested in connecting with people who want to develop new skills for their work or voluntary activity. If you’re keen to significantly engage with the project, we can develop your skills tailored to meet your needs, for example in wood construction, practical conservation, walk leadership, or plant skills.
All project activities and inclusion on the Nature and Us mailing list are free and open to everyone who has a stake in Mile End, Stepney, Aldgate East and Whitechapel.
Events start at Swedenborg Gardens (Wellclose Street, E1) and Shandy Park (Harford Street, E1) in August 2018. All events are freeand open to all. View the events programmes for Swedenborg Gardens and Shandy Park
More information about Nature and Us events
Contact: Michelle Lindon, Community Development Officer
Tel: 020 8983 1277
Visit and Contact Cemetery Park
The main entrance to the park is in Southern Grove, E3 - 5 minutes walk from Mile End underground. The Soanes Centre is by the entrance.
The park is open from dawn till dusk and it is free to visit.
There is street parking at weekends only. Otherwise there is parking in the park for a maximum of 2 visitors’ cars that have a pressing need to come by car with agreement in advance.
The centre has:
- Basic kitchen facilities
- Secure storage for personal belongings
- Space for lunching
- Changing facilities
For events based in Ackroyd Drive Green Link, the Leopold Estate Tenants and Residents’ Association Hall has a similar facility.
- Please note that these facilities are not available to the general public every day and are only available during public events or volunteer project days.
Cemetery Park is 10.93 hectares in area size and falls under LAP area 5.
For more information, contact:
Kenneth Greenway - Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Liaison Officer
Tel: 020 8983 1277
Mob: 07904 186 981
You can also visit the friends of Tower Hamlets cemetery website to find out more and/or contact the ‘Friends’.
The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park offer information about the park and the ‘Friends’. It is possible to download a list of current guided walks, practical tasks and other events open to interested people. A membership form can also be obtained.
For more information please contact the Parks & Open Spaces Service at firstname.lastname@example.org