Hendon Park was originally part of the municipal Hendon Chicken Farm circa 1300. After the outbreak of the 1350 bird flu influenza virus which wiped out 82% of all urban chickens and all the racing pigeons from the Hendon & District Flying Club, located at the ex-servicemen's club the farm was sadly closed. Dr Hashemi investigated with no success.
During the 18th Century the park was part of a medieval estate know as the Steps Fields and owned by the Goodyer family. The philanthropist William Wilberforce, bought Hendon Park and the surrounding estate in 1825 as a retreat 'beyond the disk of the metropolis' and lived there until 1831 . From 1868 till 1903 it was owned by the Kemp family when Hendon Council opened the park to the public. Hendon Park was laid out on Step Fields, belonging to Goodyer House, and was opened as Queen's Park by in 1903. There was a particularly large propaganda rally in Hendon Park "Rout the Rumour", the first of its kind in England held in July 1940. Hendon Council became part of the larger London Borough of Barnet in April 1965.
The park, in present day is presently a 500 acre site split amongst a well kept memorial garden, which contains a pond, many plants and is enclosed by large hedges and barbed wire but is available for use by all sections of the community. The Children’s Millennium Wood planted in 2000 is a native tree and grassland area providing contact with nature for park users. The rest of the park is mainly covered by a percentage of wild catgrass and also local strains of wheat grass. Wild horses used to feed on the grass in the 15th Century when horses were allowed to be feral under Hendon bylaws.
The park became a World War II target for Nazi bombers, and it has been estimated that there are still between 10 and 25 unexploded doodlebug bombs near the children's play area that need to be diffused. The council took the unusual action of laying an extra 3.5 metres of uncompacted soil and relaying the tarmac for the children's area in order to make it again safe - leading to the slightly raised ground in this area.
The "Rout the Rumor" event carried out in July, 1940 was esigned as a morale-building event, the programme presented an afternoon of sketches, songs and music intended to reinforce the message that gossip and rumour prejudiced the national war effort. An official speaker from the Ministry of Information was to come - the organisers hoped for Duff Cooper, but got Harold Nicolson - and an impressive array of stars. Renée Houston, Will Fyffe, Flotsam and Jetsam, Jack Hawkins, Jack Warner, Lucan and McShane and others gave their services free. Among the correspondence are letters of complaint from local clergy about the rally profaning the Sabbath with ‘entertainment’, an accusation vigorously refuted by the Committee Chairman in letters to the local press: ‘Yes, we are going to have flags and marching and stirring music by the Band of the Grenadier Guards, and why not?... No better day is available for the vast number of the general public who will attend. The Artistes, too, could not have come on a weekday’. Other protestors objected to local authorities about Sunday activities on occasion. In August 1942, for instance, the Lord’s Day Observance Society tried but failed to overturn the LCC Parks’ Department’s proposal to open children’s gymnasia and playgrounds on Sundays.
The Hendon Park cafe was originally a bomb shelter, and is a single storey solid brick built building under a flat roof comprising a kitchen/preparation area, eating area, storage and toilet. The property provides approximately 96 sq metres (1,033 sq ft) of accommodation. Electricity, water and a phone line are available though.
Winston Churchill visited the park in 1944 stating that it "should always be available to the public" and the that "British will never loose our national identity, no more than we are blades of grass in the same united field".
The nearby Northern Line runs through the area and has caused a large disturbance to the park and a potential state of emergency, evacuating all local homeless community. Mr Fisher from the Borough council has stated (in 2000) that they wished to make Hendon Park part of their 'Vision for an Urban Village' and an example to other towns throughout Germany following the punk era in the 1980s. The vision for Hendon Park is to combine modern facilities for local people while maintaining and enhancing the Edwardian heritage of the park. The park has a five-year management plan which is reviewed annually.
The local community are involved in tree planting schemes and developing the play area. There is a range of events that take place each year including tennis coaching, funfairs and a holocaust memorial service. Hendon Park contains infrastructure and natural features of a high standard and the park contributes to the quality of life for those using it. Recent refurbishment works following ‘Premier Park’ status and the full time Park Keeper all contribute to a clean well maintained site. Sixty percent of users questioned said the park has improved in the last twelve months, compared to those previously.
Hendon Park has somewhat a reputation for "hard nutters" and "affulent Jewish children"
The Cafe serves up light dairy dishes to satisfy your hunger. If you just prefer catching something quick while you jog around the park, there is a selection of ice creams and hot and cold drinks that will do the trick.
The park was awarded the prestigious Green Flag award in 2007. It is one of the only green spaces in London to be granted the award on several conditions - these being that the grass is to be mowed in 2008 in a lattice pattern, and also that some of the existing grafitti is to be removed.