Welcome to the website of the Friends of Cannizaro Park

Cannizaro Park is a much loved and popular grade 2 listed park just off Westside Wimbledon Common in the London Borough of Merton. with a history dating back to its years as part of the Duke of Cannizaro’s Estate and its transition to a public Park when Merton Borough Council adopted it in 1949.  It’s Grade II listed status is due to some of the rare and exquisite plants which are all around the park. It has some superb trees and shrubs, which are attractive to both the horticulturalists and the gardeners as well as those who visit; come for a walk or a picnic or simply to find some peace and quiet.

The Friends of Cannizaro Park is a registered charity, working for the maintenance and improvement of the Park for the benefit of the community. We’re a small committee of trustees and many dedicated volunteers who give up their time to ensure that the park remains a jewel in Wimbledon’s crown, a haven for wild life and an attraction for all its many visitors. If you would like to know more about the Friends, our aims, opportunities for volunteering and the events we organise, and how to get involved or support us please look at the sections below.

Cannizaro Park
Cannizaro Park

Visit Cannizaro Park

Cannizaro Park is open Monday-Friday 8am - Dusk, and Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 9am - Dusk, all year.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

The Friends have several events each year starting with the Spring Talk, when we get knowledgeable speakers in their field to talk to members and Guests on subjects which concern gardens, horticulture and others relevant to the park and its trees and plants. Watch the timetable of events for the “Walks” conducted by experts to point out the specimen trees, Flora and Fauna as well as the Birds and other Wildlife. The annual Bridge Drive has now established itself as one of our Autumn events and our Annual General Meeting usually takes place in the Autumn as well.


Sat 5 Sept, 2.30-5pm - A Tree Walk is being organised by the South London Botanical Institute in Cannizaro Park.

Sat 5 Sept, 2.30-5pm - A Tree Walk is being organised by the South London Botanical Institute in Cannizaro Park.

Sat 5 Sept, 2.30-5pm - A Tree Walk is being organised by the South London Botanical Institute in Cannizaro Park.

Sat 5 Sept, 2.30-5pm - A Tree Walk is being organised by the South London Botanical Institute in Cannizaro Park.

ABOUT CANNIZARO PARK

The name Cannizaro dates back to 1832 when Count St Antonio, occupant of what was then Warren House on the west side of the Common, succeeded to the dukedom of Cannizzaro in Sicily. He soon left the scene to live with his mistress in Milan, but his long-suffering Scottish wife, Sophia prided herself on the title of Duchess of Cannizzaro, she kept the name of Cannizzaro, when she died in 1841, her estate was recorded under this name and apart from the spelling change, it has stuck ever since.

Former residents included Thomas Walker, an intimate friend of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, John Lyde-Brown, Governor of the Bank of England, who accumulated a classical sculpture collection of over 300 pieces, which was sold in 1787 to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia; and Henry Dundas (Viscount Melville), Home Secretary under Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, Cannizaro’s reputation continued during the rest of the 19th century. Visitors included royalty and great writers – among them Lord Tennyson, Oscar Wilde and Henry James. Certain trees were planted during the Victorian era but the oldest specimens still to be seen are several large stunted Oaks dating back several hundred years. Apart from Viscount Melville, who planted Lady Jane’s Wood in 1793, the greatest private contributors to the park we see today were Mr and Mrs E Kenneth Wilson who purchased the estate in the early 20th century and lived there from 1920 to 1947. Specimens of, Camellia, Rhododendron and other ericaceous plants introduced during their ownership remain today among Cannizaro’s treasures, planted on the gravel subsoil and acid topsoil, a tribute to the Wilsons’ vision and that of the gardeners George Dillistone and Richard Allison. The addition of rare and unusual plants still goes on today, including specimens sponsored by the Friends of Cannizaro Park; see www.cannizaropark.com.

The Wilsons’ daughter Hilary married the 5th Earl of Munster in 1928 and 20 years later, after her parents’ death, she sold the entire estate to Wimbledon Corporation and Surrey County Council for £40,000. The sale had a number of covenants separating areas for Council housing, Royal Wimbledon golf club, the use of the House as an “old peoples home “and 35 acres set aside as a public park and a small set of allotments.

JOIN THE FRIENDS

We always welcome new members and volunteers to help the Friends of Cannizaro.

DONATE

We are a charity and rely on donations. All donations are very welcome