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Borough: Newham
Plashet Park
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Plashet Park  
Plashet was a small hamlet in the parish of East Ham first mentioned in 1560. The name means 'an enclosure in the wood' recalling that it was once in an area of forest. Plashet House, demolished in 1883, was the former home of the Quaker Fry family between 1784 and 1829, and Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer, lived here from 1808 to 1829. Plashet Park was formerly the grounds of Wood House, a late 18th century house situated west of High Street North; it is remembered in the name Woodhouse Grove which runs along one side of the park.

In 1889 the vicar of East Ham and J H Bethell acquired the land for use as a public park with a grant of 3,000 from the City Parochial Trust towards the cost. The park opened in 1891 and its original layout is relatively intact. . Various new features were added over the years including tennis courts and a play area with paddling pool.

The plant nursery for Newham's Parks and Gardens previously occupied the site which became Plashet Zoo where birds including waterfowl were first kept in 1964. Later other animals including goats, ponies, wallabies, llamas and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs were added as the zoo developed. In 1991 the Tropical Butterfly House was opened in another former greenhouse converted by one of the Park Keepers; a third greenhouse is used as a classroom. Since 1992, further improvements and new areas have been developed and a Friends of Plashet Zoo was established in 1996, with a newsletter, 'Arkives'. The park is surrounded by modern railings and has what appear to be the original gas lamps inscribed "Ford & Co. Regent Street. London". There are formal displays at the entrance and a small Garden for the Blind created with the help of pupils of Woodside Comprehensive School and opened in 1976 by the Mayor, Cllr L A Wood.

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