Caledonian Park and Community Orchard is located on the site of the 19th-century Metropolitan Cattle Market and retains at its heart the market's imposing listed Victorian clock tower and railings. The architect James Bunning, who was responsible for the market, worked mainly in Italianate style.
The clock tower was constructed near the site of a demolished 17th-century manor house, Copenhagen House, in an extensive area of open ground known as Copenhagen Fields. This was the scene of a huge demonstration in April 1834 to support the Tolpuddle Martyrs, a group of agricultural labourers deported to Australia for attempting to form a union. The Metropolitan Cattle Market was opened by Prince Albert in 1855 and operated as a market until its slaughterhouses closed in 1963. The associated Cally ‘flea’ market closed in 1939.
Islington Council in 1970 created Caledonian Park on 18 acres. Extensive tree and shrub planting gives the park its tranquillity and provides habitats for wildlife. The park is a borough grade 1 nature conservation area, mainly for its woodlands, and offers woodland walks. A new ‘natural play’ area was opened in 2010 and a section of the park with formal garden spaces and extensive tree, shrub and herbaceous planting was opened in August 2013.
In 2010 the Caledonian Park Friends Group planted a small community orchard to add to the biodiversity. The group is responsible for the watering, pruning and general maintenance of the trees. In autumn 2013, the group developed an area of the park as a nature garden, introducing plants and other features attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, a hibernaculum and loggery. Another community group is developing an ‘art garden’ with mosaic planters and a school group grow vegetables in raised beds.
Capital Growth garden: