Finchley Road recreation ground

Finchley Rd recreation ground today

This includes Hurstwood Road and Maxted Road open space.



Memories of Janet Crowe

‘The Pimple is an area just of Finchley road and when we were kids it was just a large grassy area and some allotments then in the late 70’s houses were put up.’

Memories of Dorothy Capewell

I still have flashbacks of playing on the pancake (witches hat ?) and rolling down the grassy hill.Percy the park keeper was a force to be reckoned with!

At Finchley Park there was a slide, swings,a ’roundabout’ that we called the pancake and that you literally powered yourself by holding on to a bar, running in a circle and then jumping on to a standing platform once you had reached the desired speed.  The witches hat was also a roundabout but it had seats and was, again, powered by running while holding on and then jumping on.As well as going around it also went in and out. It was called the witches hat because the bars went from the seat up to the mechanism at the top and all of the bars meeting there gave the appearance or shape of a witches hat.

The pond at Finchley park would be closed by the environmentalists today since the water was always dark and murky but it was a wonderful place for children to cool off in summer (and I suspect that none of us suffered from playing in it).

Memories of Dave M

How sad, I remember the finchley park paddling pool well,it was neat,had a well clipped privet hedge around it and a patrolling park keeper. Close by were the swings,the pancake and the witches hat rides.They would be considered extremely dangerous for children today. There was also a roundabout and a large rocking horse,we always left the park feeling sick from the rides and the big lads used to pump the pump until we thought it would break off and fly through the air.OMG those were the days. We were poor but didn’t know it as everyone was the same.



  1. Oh I remember Finchley Park… loved the slide, swings, and the pancake!

    paddling pool too…. and rolling down the grassy hill.

  2. oops try again… if anyone over three played on this area Percy would tell them very politely to get off !! Finchley Park had a lovely paddling pool with its raised grass verges, in the summer it was great to have a picnic there. I also liked the little sand pit area where we could build our sandcastles… lovely memories….

  3. I still have flashbacks of playing on the pancake (witches hat ?) and rolling down the grassy hill.Percy the park keeper was a force to be reckoned with!

    • Didn’t there used to be a little group of musicians entertaining occasionally on summer evenings?,memories are vague now.

      Lovely little park though,we were there most times until “Dick Barton” time lol.

    • I never new the park keeper as percy, we called him boldy bill a big tall bloke over 6 foot tall perhaps percy was before boldy bill i talking mid sixties

      • Pierre vaughan. I dimly rember you, brother of Steven, a bright boy who i was mates with at Kings Rise. I remember calling for him at your house in Finchley Road. So, so long ago now it feels like ghosts talking across the ether. I hope Steven is well, tell him I remember him and does he remember me, starting wok
        69 as an apprentice bus mechanic? dont fix buses any more but still work for Depart

      • Do you have a brother called Anthony?

      • Bollocky bill I recall we used to call him, used to chase us out of the park at the end of the day when we heard the bell going which was when he was about to shut the park for the night.
        It’s a damn shame the park has become a fly tipping site now old bollocky bill would turn in his grave if he could see the place now.

  4. I was born in 1936, Peckham Road…. I loved to get down to Finchley Park.
    I recall all of the play area.
    and loved rolling down the grassy hill

  5. Do any of you remember the brook that ran from the pond, which incidently was fed from springs that issued from the grassy hill up towards the Kings road entrance. Three pipes fed into the brook, one about twelve inches in diameter, which brought water from the storm drains to the east, the centre pipe, somewhat larger carried water from the pond and springs and then a three foot pipe that collected water from the storm drains to the west, the Finchley road side. The entire length of the brook, from the start, just below the pond, to where it went under ground at College road was fenced with metal spiked fencing about five feet high. This fencing was not removed during the war years, as was most metal fencing, why this was never taken towards the war effort is a mystery.
    The three foot pipe from the Finchley road area was seen as a challenge to the boys of the area. I don’t know who was the first to venture into it but it wasn’t long before we were all stooping and lighting our way until we reached the large inspection access under Finchley road. Here was a chamber about four foot square with several pipes leading into it, metal steps set into the walls and above a round manhole cover which opens, roughly in the centre of Finchley road itself. It was quite risky to pop that cover as Finchley road carried the main bus routes into the City and buses were pretty frequent, but we used to do it as a dare.
    We used to sit up in the Finchley road tunnel for ages awaiting some unfortunate kids to make the same trip. When we heard them making their way through the tunnel we would light up a penny banger, just a single one, that was attached to a piece of wood and float it down the tunnel whilst we sat with our finger firmly placed in our ears. That bang reverberated through the tunnel for several seconds and was shattering. You could hear the kids panicking their way out of that tunnel by their splashes and cries.

    • I well remember the brook. One spur ran from kings road, Binstead road, along the back gardens of Hurlingham and Cranbourne road. It then looped under Danesbury Crescent, and along Warren Farm road joining the chamber under Finchley road. One summer holiday we took bike lamps and followed the course to Witton lakes from Cranbourne road. We came up for air at a manhole, in a back garden on Elswick road where an old lady beat us back down the hole with a broom
      room. We finished the adventure
      at Witton lakes near a life buoy on a post. We
      thought we had got to the coast.
      My dad went mad when i told him, raving on about polio and Black fever. He also explained that we would be killed if a storm broke. He made us look at it one evening during a Thunderstorm. The little brook was a raging torrent roaring along up to the gardens about 8 feet deep and filling the tunnels at about 30 mph. A death trap but great fun

      My dad went mad when i told him where wr had been

    • when i was a kid from 1967 to 1977 we used to go up the big storm drain in the park to the second access chamber we thought it went to sutton park but only ever dared go as far as the 2nd access it mrst have been half a mile in the dark.

  6. My earliest memories of Finchley Rd park were when my mother would take me there about 1939 to 41. We would walk from our home in Hurlingham Rd to Perry Common Public Library, Kingstanding didn’t have a library then, on our way we would call first at the Octogon Library on Hawthorn Rd and get books for Grandma Stokes our next door neighbour.
    We walked the length of Hawthorn Rd to the library, I got bitten by a dog tethered to the handrail of the library steps, I still have the scar. The centre of the library had an area where an incendiary bomb had come through the roof and set fire to the block flooring.
    Having got her books mom would walk down College Rd to the park, it was divided down the middle by a brook fenced by railings, on one side there were a series logs built in a square which I liked to climb.
    We crossed Homerton Rd into the real park, the playground area was all tarmac not like today, I would have a go on everything starting with the Swings, See-Saw, the Pump, in later years I was one who would be standing at one end pumping it higher. The Rocking Horse, the Pancake and the Slide.
    Then down the steps to the pool, when my dad came back from the war he bought me a sailing boat and we would sail it across the pool.
    When I got older 11-12-13 during summer holidays you could borrow a cricket bat, wickets and a cork ball and have a game behind the parkees place. Once or twice a week adults (teachers) would supervise the game.
    I have very happy memories of Finchley Rd Park

  7. wow, you have reminded me of stuff at the park. I must have been there , either at the end of the war, or just after…

    I loved that paddling pool. and all the swings etc there.

  8. Finchley Park, many happy memories of long summer holidays spent on the swings, I seem to remember they were low to the ground and took some getting up in the air. The pump which was like a bigger version of a see-saw that hung on arms on a metal frame. One person stood either end and pumped it up, there was room for about six, god it frightened the life out of you if it went too high. Now you’ve all said that about drains draining into the pool there, it’s a bit scary. Lots of us from our grove used to take our swimming things round there on a hot day and swim in the pond. The park is nothing like it was then, non of the trees or the shrubbery or landscaping. Percy just liked to keep order and didn’t like cheeky kids. There was a big shelter just by the exit to Finchley Road, I think it had three or four sides with benches where you could sit and talk. The park was great for us kids.

    • Did you live at Hartley Rd ?

  9. Some lovely memories of Finchley Park. There used to be Parkie who would let you

    • Lovely Memories of Finchley Park; the witches hat, the slide. We used to borrow a set of wickets and bats from the Parkie – who used to watch that we didn’t run off with them! I remember in 1947, we pushed the curved parts of Anderson shelters down Longford Road to the park and use them as sledges!

  10. I am trying to find a photo of Finchley Road Park pond to download, alas, thus far i have been unsuccessful. Can any one help? Thank you, Linda

  11. I have a lasting memory of Finchley Park. My left knee was crushed under the witches hat and some sixty years (plus) later has a numb dent as a souvenir. I did enjoy the pump though not the blisters on our hands from the iron handlebars. Valerie Burckett

  12. we used to take our little sailing boats on the pond in the summer we all sunbathed on the slope banks the one end was allways full of floting debry by the overflow

  13. I recall Finchley Park well. The Parkie used to lend us a complete cricket set and we took it back to him at the end of our day! We also used to ride Anderson shelter sides down the slopes in 1947. (the bad year).
    Pete Arblaster, late of 69 Longford Road. 12/5/15

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