125 Years of LPFF - Blog

125 years magenta 125 years purple 125 years blue

The early LPFF years

Anonymous 04 June 2015

On 16th July 1890 a well attended and influential meeting was held at Mansion House under the chairmanship of the Lord Mayor. The object of the meeting was to call the attention of the citizens of London to the recent establishment of the London Playing Fields Committee and to invite their support by membership and subscription. The appeal was very successful and, with the kind permission of the Epping Forest Committee obtained in July, the London Playing Fields Society began its first experiment in extending the number of playing fields by laying down new pitches in Epping Forest, at Chingford and on Wanstead Flats. The work began at once and carried on throughout autumn and winter, except during the prolonged frost. Ten cricket squares were laid on the rough but fairly level ground at Wanstead and five at Chingford.

It was felt that the two sites would be of great advantage to East End clubs because they were close to stations on the Great Eastern Railway which passed through a thickly populated part of East London, which was becoming larger and more crowded and where, as a consequence, field after field was disappearing.

In April 1891 London Playing Fields Committee made a request to Great Eastern Railway for a reduction of fares to Chingford and Forest Gate on Saturdays for members of clubs using LPFC grounds and this was granted, with special tickets from Liverpool Street issued at 5d return to Forest Gate and 10d return to Chingford.

During the first season 7 cricket teams played at Chingford and 13 at Wanstead Flats. Despite a number of seasons of bad weather, by 1913 the grounds were flourishing with an additional 4 cricket squares and lawn tennis courts at Wanstead and 5 new cricket squares and 4 football pitches at Chingford, which was also used for lawn tennis and hockey. Unfortunately, with the onset of WW1 the pitches at both sites became disused and in 1919 the LPFC took the decision to give up these grounds due to resource issues and returned them to the Corporation of London.