Westerly Ware stands on land that was used by 15th century fishermen to pull up and dry their nets and sort their catch. The name stems from the netting weirs set to trap fish.
The plot of land that we see as the Ware today was created by the Enclosure Act of 1823, by which George IV divided up pasturage rights over 19 acres of land in Kew. The King kept these two and a half acres for himself, but with rights of common for the people of Kew. It remains Crown Land. The land was a water meadow used for cattle throughout the 19th century and then in 1921 was landscaped and dedicated as a WW1 memorial, overseen by a committee of local residents. Six clay tennis courts were laid out in 1926, with half replaced by a bowling green in the 1940s, following the arrival of Richmond Corporation as managers of the park. The playground was also created in the 1940s.
The park was well kept by an on site groundskeeper until the early 1990s, but following his departure things started to slide. It quickly became quite derelict, with broken fences, dilapidated equipment and a lot of graffiti. Westerly Ware Association was set up by local residents in 1997 and has been working with the council to improve the park ever since. We've cleaned graffiti, planted lots of trees, shrubs, wild flowers and bulbs, provided benches, repaired stonework, and paid a gardener for ongoing maintenance. We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2007 by commissioning the decorative gates, made by Shelley Thomas from the Brentford Forge at the Steam Museum.