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Learn About Us

What We Do

Friends of Betts Park was established in 2019 by Walter Leonard as a means of creating a more engaged community and bringing pressure on the borough to maintain a valuable asset. We’re a local volunteer group that works towards bringing the community of Anerley together. We work hard to create a healthy and sustainable park that everyone can enjoy. It's more than planting bulbs and picking litter; there are events, research, wildlife, exercise classes, history, picnics or simply walking and talking to others.

Betts Park is flourishing, and we love seeing the changes in both the park and community with each passing day.

Brief History

How It All Began

Penge Common was an area of ancient woodland and grazing first recorded in deeds in 957AD when it was gifted by King Eadwig to thane Lyfing as part of the Manor of Battersea. On the south side of the common was a coppice known as Clay Copse, used by commoners to provide firewood for their daily needs. Penge Common remained unchanged until 1827 when it was enclosed by act of parliament, divided and sold in lots for development.

The current space known as Betts Park was donated to the people of Penge in 1928 by Frederick Betts in memory of his mother Sarah Betts. Mr Betts was a local landlord known for his unusual firm-but-fair approach to tenants. He donated the large residence and gardens of Oak Lawn villa bordering the Croydon Canal, for use as a library and park for the common people of the district.

In 1939 the park was doubled in size with a purchase of additional land by King George's Fields Foundation and a deed was applied to protect the land from any commercial activity or development in perpetuity.

In 1965 the Urban District of Penge was amalgamated into the London Borough of Bromley who became the landowner and the deeds of perpetuity passed to Fields in Trust for administration on behalf of the crown and the people.

Friends of Betts Park was established in 2019 to encourage better maintenance and investment in a park that was suffering from long-term neglect and to unite local communities.

In 2023 the children's playground was revamped and the canal desilted with a donation from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee Fund.

In 2024 the Heart of Anerley obelisk was erected in celebration of the bicentenary of Anerley, and as a monument to all the ordinary people whose names never appear on monuments.

A pale stone obelisk

Our Mission

What We Aim For

Among all the positive work we do at Betts Park, our main goal is to help the community of Anerley get involved in a green initiative that nourishes their souls and educates their minds. We work together with people of all ages to create opportunities that promote health, friendship and wellbeing.

If you are interested in getting involved please email 

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