Although initially the group was to be called the Friends of Upton Park, the word
"Country" was added in 1978 to distinguish the group from supporters of West Ham
Football Club who’s home ground is called Upton Park.
Formed from all organisations having an interest in the Estate, the work of the Friends
was initially to have the grounds cleared, paths laid out, and dangerous areas fenced
off. The group undertook to provide Voluntary Wardens, and to assist the Council.
The Council spent just over £18,000 to provide a gravel car park for 40 cars, chemical
toilet block, fencing and notice boards. Gardeners would be employed, and one would
be resident within the grounds.
The "Friends" soon became a Registered Charity (No 272450) and set about formulating
ideas to raise money. This has been our number one priority from day one, and nearly
40 years later it is gratifying to see what has been achieved:
first in providing cups of tea and ice cream from a fully operational Kiosk,
controlling the first restoration of the Walled Garden
the transformation of the stable block into the Countryside Heritage Centre
restoration of the greenhouses and the creation of a Plant Centre
the provision of wildlife and the introduction of peafowl
the creation of a freshwater lake, and Nature Trails
the creation of “Project Peacock” - the Education Centre,
and from 1983 the restoration and re-equipping of Upton House itself
The House is a Grade II* Listed Building. Its fabric needs TLC. Some suggested uses
are not compatible, so there has to be a ongoing review.
A working partnership and Liaison Forum has seen the work of the Council change since
becoming a Unitary Authority in 1997, yet the Friends continue to raise monies and
donate towards Council projects. Exciting new ventures will come to Upton.
The family are still with us. Our first President was Miss Margaret Mary Llewellin
from 1976 to 1983, and Lord Llewellin watches from his portrait in the Drawing Room.
For those who gave us much, we owe to them what we do with it all.
Why not be part of the "Friends of Upton Country Park" and help protect Upton House
and Country Park for future generations.