Wanstead Park is a nationally important historic landscape. It preserves many features from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries, when the park was one of the most spectacular and ambitiously designed gardens in the country. It was worked on by a number of the best known landscape architects of that period, and the legacy of their work still dominates the site today.
On 8 September 2010, the Friends of Wanstead Parklands and the Wanstead Parklands Community Project jointly hosted a packed meeting at the Wanstead House Community Centre. Over 130 people braved a torrential downpour to hear Dr Sally Jeffery, of Birbeck College, give a fascinating insight into the history of 'The Great Gardens of Wanstead Park'. Dr Jeffery outlined the development of this once-famous landscaped garden from its origins in the late seventeenth century to its end in the 1820s, when Wanstead House was demolished.
A reprise of Dr. Jeffery's presentation is available for download in PDF format. The original was based around a slide show, but it has been recast as text, using Dr Jeffery's own notes as far as possible. A video of the complete lecture may also be viewed here.