Many members and supporters of CREOS celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation with a party in the meadow near the playing fields on Sunday 25th June. Everyone enjoyed their picnics accompanied by a variety of live music, dog competitions and other entertainment on a hot summer’s day. The preservation of this wonderful green space near the heart of Crouch End is the primary reason for CREOS’s existence.
CREOS was originally called the ‘Crouch End Playing Fields Protection Society’, formed in 1973 in the face of threats to build on the playing fields, which at that time were still owned by a private company, Crouch End Playing Fields Ltd. There were concerns that the company was intending to develop the land – in particular, to build flats on the school playing field next to the allotments.
The inaugural meeting of the Society took place on 26 June 1973, and initial members included representatives from Highgate Wood School and the sports clubs, plus local residents. Its stated aims were to (1) preserve the playing fields as recreational open space, (2) ensure the fields were administered properly, and (3) seek a long-term improvement plan. The Society was influential in stopping any development, and this eventually led to the end of the private company and the establishment of Shepherds Cot Trust.
After a few quiet years the Society was revived in 1984 in the face of a new plan to extend Highgate Wood School by encroaching on the playing fields, which by now were protected Metropolitan Open Land. It was shortly after this that the Society was renamed CREOS, and since then we have been forever vigilant to make sure the playing fields are not developed and built on.
Part of the land is now owned by Haringey Council and is natural woodland with the meadow at its centre. CREOS volunteers carry out conservation of this part of the area, maintaining a delightful green space for all local residents to enjoy. Our recent focus has been to improve the pathways that used to become boggy quagmires in winter. Here’s to another 50 years!