The History of Bishop’s Park

Sir John Hutton, Chairman of the LCC formally opened Bishops Park in 1893.  The park included land known as Bishop’s Walk, Bishop’s Meadow and West Meadow which were conveyed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, as Lords of the Manor of Fulham, to the Fulham District Board of Works on the condition that the land should be laid out and maintained as a public recreation ground. The Meadows had already been protected from flooding by the creation of an embankment. In addition, the river wall was built by Joseph Mears between 1889 and 1893. The park was extended in 1894 prior to opening in 1900, by the inclusion of Pryor’s Bank and its gardens.  Although the house (then called Vine cottage) was demolished in 1897, the old gardens were preserved.  The gardens contain stone figure sculptures depicting “Adoration”, “ Protection”, “ Grief” and “Leda”, presented by the sculptor J Wedgewood. A further sculpture “Affection”, a mother and child by Herman Cawthorn was added in 1963.
The grounds of Fulham Palace,  from 16th century one of the most important botanical Gardens in London; obtaining national and international significance and under Bishop Compton, who moved to the palace in 1685.  With the aid of George London, the most renowned and skilled gardener of his day, the collection was embellished in 17th century with many exotic species including tulip, walnut and maple trees and a cork oak.  Seeds and plants came from collectors in the American Colonies, India and North America. This tradition of collecting continued in 18th century when Bishop Porteous planted several cedars and into 19th century when Bishop Blomfield planted deciduous cypress and ailanthus.  Roque’s Map of 1741-45 shows the Palace to have been surrounded by formal gardens.  They were replaced by landscaped grounds c.1770.  The moat, which surrounded the Palace, was filled in 1921-24; archaeological excavations have shown that it had its origins in pre–Saxon defenses.  

History of The Friends of Bishops Park

The inaugural meeting of the group, as currently constituted, was held on the 19th January, 2000 at All Saints School, Bishop’s Avenue when “all who use and appreciate the Park are cordially invited”. Previously, the two Ward Councillors had arranged for a user’s group to have bi-annual “walk abouts” but the formation of FoBP represented the first amenity group that was open to every Park user and was strictly non political. At the Inaugural Meeting, FoBP’s stated aims were- “to represent the interests of all users of Bishop’s Park over the maintenance, preservation and improvement of the Park for the benefit of all current and future generations.” Thereafter, the initial steering group met many times in preparation for the first meeting of members and agreed on a formal mission statement and the adoption of a constitution based, in large measure, on that adopted by the very successful Friends of Holland Park. The first meeting of members, held on the 13th June 2001, elected members of the steering group as the initial committee and approved both the draft mission statement and the proposed constitution – and these two documents have formed the framework that has guided the committee and the group ever since. The former is reproduced below:-

Objects of The Friends

The objects of the Friends shall be for the public benefit to secure the reservation, protection and improvement of Bishops Park as a place of historic and ecological interest and beauty and recreational use; to promote the conservation of the natural plant, animal and bird life of the Park and educate the public in the history, natural history and other aspects of the Park.

Constitution and Rules

Constitution and Rules of the Friends of Bishop’s Park


The name of the association shall be “The Friends of Bishop’s Park” (hereinafter called “the Friends”)


The objects of the Friends shall be to secure for the public benefit the preservation protection and improvement of Bishop’s Park (hereinafter called “the Park”) as a place of historic and ecological interest and beauty; to promote the conservation of the natural plant, animal and bird life of the Park; to encourage appropriate leisure and recreational pursuits; and to educate the public in the history, natural history and other aspects of the Park.


In furtherance of the above objectives but not further or otherwise the Friends may: a) Communicate through and make representations to the appropriate authorities on any matters relating to the Park. b) Donate to the Department of the Hammersmith and Fulham Council responsible for the Park, benches and such other things as the Committee may determine from time to time. c) Promote communications between the Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Park users and other local residents. d) Work towards the reduction of vandalism in the Park in cooperation with local schools and youth groups. e) Organise walks, lectures, exhibitions and meetings. f) Carry out any ecological or other research deemed necessary for the attainment of the above objects and provide that the useful results of such research be published. g) Accept gifts and borrow or raise money for the objects of the Friends on such terms and on such security as shall be thought fit, subject to such consents (if any) as shall be necessary from time to time. h) Raise funds and invite and receive contributions, subscriptions, covenants, donations and otherwise from any person or persons whatsoever; provided that the Friends shall not undertake any permanent trading activities concerned solely with the raising of funds for the objects declared in Clause 2 hereof. I) Do all such other things as shall further the attainment of the above objects. j) The work of the Friends shall not be for the benefit of landfill site operators who may contribute to the Friends and claim credit under the Landfill Communities Fund. Nor shall it be for the benefit of contributing third parties as defined in the landfill tax regulations.


a) The members of the Friends shall be the initial members and all those subsequently admitted to membership. Any person who has attained the age of fifteen and assents to the objects of the Friends shall be eligible for membership. b) Applications for membership shall be in writing and shall be approved by an Officer of the Friends or by a committee appointed for that purpose by the Committee as defined in paragraph 6 below (hereinafter called ‘the Committee’) c) A body whether corporate or unincorporated supporting the objects of the Friends, other than those landfill operators or other persons referred to in paragraph 3 j) of this constitution, may, at the discretion of the Committee, be admitted to membership and shall thereafter be entitled to nominate one of its members as eligible for election or co-option to the Committee and to attend and vote at General Meetings as though he or she were a member of the Friends. d) An annual subscription shall be paid by all members. The annual subscription shall be made payable on such day of the year and be of such amount as the Friends in Membership shall determine. The Committee shall have the power, in deserving cases, to waive the subscription. e) Membership shall terminate (1) If the annual subscription is not paid three months after the date on which it should have been paid (11) If Membership is terminated in accordance with the provisions of Clause 7(b) (111) On resignation.


The Friends shall elect a Chairman, a Vice Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer at the General Meeting. The term of office shall be until the following Annual General Meeting unless decided by the Friends in General Meeting.


a) Subject as hereinafter mentioned the policy and general management of the affairs of the Friends shall be directed by a Committee consisting of the Officers and up to five members of the Friends and such members as may be co-opted to membership of the Committee. b) Members of the Committee shall be elected annually by members of the Friends in General Meeting. Every candidate for election shall have consented to nomination and be proposed and seconded in writing by members. Proposals and consents shall be delivered to the Secretary at least seven days before the Annual General Meeting. The Committee may for good reason abridge this period in favour of any named person. c) A quorum of the Committee shall be three. d) The Committee may co-opt any member of the Friends to membership of the Committee. There shall not be more than three co-opted members at any time. e) Any casual vacancy on the Committee may be filled by the Committee and any persons so appointed shall hold office until the following Annual General Meeting. f) The Business and Decisions of the Committee shall be conducted by simple majority vote at meetings of the Committee. In the event that there is an equality of votes, the Chairman shall have a second and casting vote.


a) The Committee may appoint such special or standing sub-committees as they deem necessary and may determine their terms of reference, powers, duration and composition. Any such sub-committee shall be advisory and shall report back as soon as possible all acts and proceedings to the Committee. b) The Committee shall have the power to approve or reject applications for membership and for good and sufficient reason to terminate the membership of any member of the Friends PROVIDED THAT such persons shall have the right to be heard by the Committee before a final decision is taken.


a) All monies raised by or on behalf of the Friends shall be applied to further the objects of the Friends and for no other purpose. a 2) Any Landfill Communities Fund monies shall be applied for the purposes set out in paragraph 2 of the constitution and sub paragraph a) above, but failing such purpose, any remaining Landfill Communities Fund monies shall be transferred to any enrolled Environmental Body as the Committee shall determine, and shall not fall for distribution in accordance with paragraph 10 to other institutions or organisations, even though of similar objects and status. b) The Treasurer shall keep proper accounts of the finances of the Friends. c). The Committee shall submit a statement of accounts for the last financial year to the Annual General Meeting. d) A Bank Account shall be opened in the name of the Friends with such Bank as the Committee shall from time to time decide. The Committee shall authorise in writing the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Treasurer and the Secretary to sign cheques on behalf of the Friends. All cheques must be signed by not less than two of the authorised signatories.


a) An initial General Meeting of the Friends shall be held at which the Constitution shall be adopted, the Officers and members of the Committee shall be elected and the amount of the annual membership subscription be fixed. b) Once in each year thereafter an Annual General Meeting shall be held at such time (not being more than fifteen months after the holding of the preceding Annual General Meeting) and place, as the Committee shall determine. At such Annual General Meeting the business shall include the election of Officers and members of the Committee as provided for in this Constitution, the consideration of the annual report of the Chairman and of the accounts and the transaction of any other business as may from time to time be necessary, c) The Chairman may at any time and at his discretion, and shall within 21 days of receiving a written signed by not fewer than 20 members giving the reason for such a request, call a Special General Meeting of the Friends. d) The quorum at Annual or Special General Meetings shall be 20 members, or 20% of the membership, whichever is the greater.


If the Committee by a simple majority decide at any time that on the ground of expense or otherwise that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the Friends, it shall call a meeting of the Friends giving not less than 21 days notice and stating the terms of the Resolution to be proposed thereat. If such a decision be confirmed by a simple majority of those present and voting at such meeting, the Committee shall have power to dispose of any assets held in the name of the Friends. Any assets remaining after satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be given or transferred to such institution or institutions having objects similar to those of the Friends as the Committee may determine.


Any alteration to this Constitution shall require the assent of not fewer than two thirds of the members of the Friends present and voting at a meeting specially called for the purpose PROVIDED THAT notice of any such alteration shall have been received by the Secretary in writing not fewer than 21 days before the meeting at which the alteration is to be brought forward. At least 14 days notice in writing of such meeting setting forth the terms of the alterations to be proposed shall be sent by the Secretary to each member of the Friends. PROVIDED FURTHER that no alteration shall be made to clauses 2, 10 and 11 and that no alteration shall be made which would have the effect of causing the Friends to cease to be a charity at law.


Any notice may be served by the Secretary or any member either personally or by sending through the post in a prepaid letter addressed to such member to his last known address in the United Kingdom and any letter so sent shall be deemed to have been received within 10 days of posting. Revised 29th September, 2010