Cottenham Park

Cottenham Park, Merton

A ‘high-class’ neighbourhood, as its creators called it, situated north of Raynes Park in west Wimbledon

looking down the slope in Holland Garden on a sunny afternoon

Prospect Place was a grand man­sion built on Copse Hill in the mid-18th cen­tu­ry by a Lon­don gold­smith, with grounds that were lat­er improved by Humphry Rep­ton. When devel­op­ers bought part of the Prospect Place estate in 1851 they named it Cot­ten­ham Park after for­mer own­er Charles Pepys, 1st Earl of Cot­ten­ham (1781–1851), who served two terms as Lord Chan­cel­lor. Cot­ten­ham is a vil­lage in Cam­bridgeshire.

New roads were laid out and giv­en aris­to­crat­ic names that had asso­ci­a­tions with the estate. But only a few large hous­es were con­struct­ed, with their frontages at least 30 feet from the road. It was not until the inter­war peri­od that most of the area was built up, and the orchards and pig­geries of Cot­ten­ham Park Farm sur­vived until around this time.

St Matthew’s church was com­plet­ed in 1927, although ser­vices had been con­duct­ed in the east part of the struc­ture from 1909. The church was destroyed by a fly­ing bomb in 1944 and rebuilt in 1958.

Sev­er­al pub­lic spaces enhance Cot­ten­ham Park: allot­ments, a recre­ation ground and Hol­land Gar­den (shown in the pho­to­graph above), which was opened in 1929 in mem­o­ry of Sir Arthur Hol­land, a for­mer Wim­ble­don bene­fac­tor and pres­i­dent of Wim­ble­don FC. The Hol­land fam­i­ly house, Holmhurst (now demol­ished), was locat­ed at the top of the hill, near West­side ten­nis club. Hol­land Gar­den had been a plot of fam­i­ly land that includ­ed an orchard, kitchen gar­den and pad­dock.

Postal district: SW20