Parklife - things to do:
The Park contains 3 playgrounds to suit all activity levels:
At the southwest end - next to Putt in the Park and Go Ape - are situated the children's playground and a state-of-the-art adventure playground. The Pirate Ship playground was opened in 2017 next to the Millennium Athletics Track.
Battersea Park first opened its gates in 1858. Before that, the area was known as "Battersea Fields" - a stretch of marshland where lavender and asparagus was grown. There was also a less savoury side. It was here that the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea famously met for 'pistols-at-dawn'. A few hundred yards to the east was the infamous Red House Tavern, a favourite haunt of Charles Dickens, and of the roughest pubs in London.
The arrival of the Park helped the area gentrify. Townhouses and villas sprang up and the Park's open spaces became a focus for all kinds of leisure activities. The first football game played under Football Association rules was played here on 9 January 1864.
During both World Wars, the Park was used as a defence station with anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons and shelters.
In 1951 Battersea Park became a central part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. Its 'Pleasure Gardens' included the Guinness Clock, a tree-walk, a miniature railway and the rollercoaster known as the Big Dipper.
Sadly, the Big Dipper suffered a large fire in 1970 and then, in 1972, a derailment resulted in the tragic death of five children. This led to the closure of the attraction and, two years later, to the entire fun fair.
Current features of the Park.
Battersea Evolution - an exhibition centre - now sits on the site of the old fun-fair.
The Park also houses a children's zoo, a bandstand, tennis courts, a running track, all-weather pitches, a bowling green, cricket pitches and the Pump House Gallery. The Peace Pagoda was erected in 1985 on the north side by the river. Other features of the Park include the rose garden, the winter garden, the boating lake and the sub-tropical gardens.
TV and Movies appearances:
The Park is popular as a film and tv location. Notable appearances include:
1960s films Gorgo, The Wrong Arm of the Law and The Day the Earth Caught Fire
1980 "The Great Muppet Caper"
1991 episode of Mr Bean entitled "Mr Bean Goes to Town".
1998 British comedy Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence