West Ham Park has a long and interesting history, stretching back to the 16th century.
Painting by R. Wyatt 1959
It shows the second bandstand which replaced the original ornate cast iron bandstand sometime before WWII, this later bandstand was in the circle of trees on the lawn. It was removed in 1970s. The Town hall can be seen in the distance. The block of flats is Doran Court, built in 1958 not long before the date of this painting. On the site of a wood turning / furniture factory which burnt down a few years before. It is named after an East Ham (later Newham) councillor. He also had Doran Walk, on the Carpenters Estate, Stratford named after him.
Part of the Newham Heritage & Archive collection
Snowy scene of 1949 looking towards the docks. Beyond the park can be seen local streets that bear the scars of the Second World War.
This photograph is from the Alan Godfrey Collection, who records the ship in the docks as the SS Chieftain. It has been suggested, however, that the ship in this view is actually the Highland Chieftain as "SS Chieftain" was a much older ship. If so it is in the dock having resumed commercial operations after the war.
Highland Chieftain (14,131 gross tons) was built by Harland and Wolf of Belfast for the Nelson Line in 1928 and was the first of five "Highland" vessels. Her maiden voyage on the London to River Plate service was on 21st of February that year. In 1932 the ship was transferred to the Royal Mail Line, serving until 1958. She was requisitioned for wartime trooping duties in 1939, but was damaged on the 11th of October, 1940 during a bombing raid on Liverpool. The ship ran aground in 1946. Commercial operations were resumed in 1948. In 1959 Highland Chieftain was sold to Calpe Shipping Co, Gibraltar, and renamed Calpean Star and converted for use in the whaling industry. In March, 1960 she suffered rudder damage when off Montevideo and, after leaving under tow, suffered a boiler room explosion which resulted in her being abandoned in the River Plate, where her masts could be seen projecting above the water and where she lay about three miles distant from the wreck of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The wreck of the Calpean Star was eventually cut up for scrap in 1965.
(Information from the British Armed Forces & National Service website, gallery No. 40 - Troopships, with thanks to Andrew Faulkner)
Poster for the Grand Masquerade, Fancy Dress Ball and Garden Party. Held on Thursday July 22nd 1886 in North Woolwich Gardens. Admission one shilling.
A bridge in West Ham Park with two children looking at camera. West Ham park opened in 1874 on the site of Ham House, which was demolished in 1872.
Newham Heritage & Archives lantern slide Ref 18
A view of North Woolwich Gardens, image from a glass magic lantern slide in the Newham Heritage Collection.
posted by: Robert J Rogers.
“West Ham Park is a bright gem set centrally in the northern part of the Borough” These words were taken from a book called “Fifty years a Borough”, in 1936.It can still be said today in the 21st century, but the history of the area we know as West Ham Park goes back to the 16th century.