Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Clapton Pond: no part in Sexby's gunpowder plot

Same view different atmosphere from Google Maps.

In 1905 Clapton Pond got a mention in "The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces of London" but only because it shouldn't be confused with a better place up the road (Clapton Common?). The author of TMPG&OSoL, Lt. Col. Sexby V.D. (no mistake) wrote: "Beyond the quiet meadows are the lines of aspens and poplars, backed by the rounded forms of the elms about Walthamstow, with their masses of deep shadow, and on the sky-line the ridge of Epping Forest, with a spire here and there, sunlit, and standing out against the purples and ambers of the woods.'*

These beauties, which were once visible from the common, are shut out by the row of houses called Buccleuch Terrace, built about a hundred years ago. On the common is a small pond, much in demand for skating in the winter, which must not be confounded with the better-known Clapton pond some distance down the main road. Behind the pond on the common is Stainforth House, once the residence of Mr. Richard Foster, and more recently of the late Suffragan Bishop of Bedford. Craven House, at the north end of the common (so named after a former owner Mr. Arthur Craven), was at one time the home of the late Mr. Samuel Morley, M.P. for Bristol.

"On the western side of the common is St. Thomas's Church, not a very ornate structure. In October, 1864, a terrific gunpowder explosion between Plumstead and Erith occurred, which shook the houses in Upper Clapton to their very foundations. St. Thomas's Church came off very badly, for the east wall was split from top to bottom by the force of the explosion."

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