Plenty of London’s green spaces were created to act as an oasis in the city, but Fortune Street Park has a much more interesting history than this.
The park is named after the street on which it is situated, which is in turn named after the old Fortune Theatre that once stood there.
Dating all the way back to 1600, the theatre was built for Edward Alleyn and Philip Henslowe and was modelled on Shakespeare’s The Globe in order to act as a competitor.
Unfortunately, the wooden structure burnt down in 1621, but it was rebuilt in brick and even had a nursery specialising in “educating young children for the acting profession of the stage”. It was even mentioned in Samuel Pepys’s diary, such was its reputation among Londoners.
There was further bad luck for the theatre though, when an ordinance for the dismantling of playhouses was issued by the Puritans in 1647-48 and the building was dismantled by soldiers in 1649.
Other buildings were constructed on the same site, but when the Fortune Street area was heavily bombed during the Second World War, it was decided that the area would remain cleared and it was laid out as a park in the early 1960s.
Much-needed refurbishment work was carried out in 2002 to cover landscaping and the addition of new facilities and the park won the Green Flag Award in 2006/7 to reflect the beauty that had been achieved.Facilities
While Fortune Street Park is the perfect place to lay out a blanket and have a picnic, there is much more to it than just a large patch of grass.
Children will find a carefully tended play area with plenty of toys and there is an edible community garden for anyone who enjoys cooking, from which a plethora of herbs can be picked to take home.
The more green-fingered among its visitors will enjoy the annual bulb-planting schemes, while anyone just visiting London can reap the rewards of all this hard work in the form of glorious displays of flowers come spring.
If you find yourself in need of refreshments while visiting the park, then you’ll be well catered for thanks to the Giddy Up coffee house, which boasts London’s best coffee, according to its website.
Should you be around July 8th 2017, then you won’t want to miss the annual community fun day. This is an event at which young and old alike come together to enjoy sports, stalls and competitions designed to celebrate the summer and (hopefully) the arrival of plenty of warm weather.