History - FoLM

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The Park
  • Pre 1500s – lands owned by Barking Abbey
  • 1539 William Petre of Ingatestone granted the land by Henry VIIIth
  • Over time, the land was split into smaller tenant farms
  • 1831 Hill House Farm was bought by the Spitty Family – a wealthy family originally from Wales
  • 1858 Thomas Jenner Spitty inherits the land from his father
  • He becomes a major in the Essex Militia, High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, as well as a Justice of the Peace and a great local benefactor.
  • Before 1874, he pays  out-of-work agricultural workers 1 shilling a day, plus a meal, to dig out the lake
  • After Major Spitty’s death in 1898, the farmhouse and lands have several owners; some of the land is sold for housing
  • Around 1930, a group of local enthusiasts build an outdoor swimming pool
  • In 1935 Billericay Urban District Council buys bulk of land for Lake Meadows
  • 1936 the park is officially opened
  • After WW2, improvements were gradually made to the park, a bowling green and putting green were added, as were the Children’s Corner and a paddling pool, hockey and football pitches, a refreshment pavilion and boathouse
  • 1949 the boats are bought and children’s boating area made
  • 1966 Lake drained for repairs and new sluice installed
  • 2013 Friends of Lake Meadows formed.
If you or your family have any old photographs or stories of the park, we should love to add them to our History Archive. Please contact us – we can scan and return phots to you.
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