Cedars Park, Cheshunt

By J Ruffell

The Ornamental Pond at Cedars Park 2003
Jane Ruffell
Celebration Gates, Erected in 2002 for Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee
Jane Ruffell
Part of the original Palace garden wall
Jane Ruffell
Ornamental 'Folly' Summer House C. 2003
Jane Ruffell
Enfield Archaeological Society Dig July 2009
Jane Ruffell

A Brief History

This fantastic park is on the site of the former Palace of Theobalds, owned by King James I and the birthplace of King Charles I.

Steeped in history the Palace boasted many famous connections including Queen Elizabeth I who visited Theobalds many times during her reign as the guest of William Cecil, Lord Burghley.  King James persuaded Lord Burghley to swap Theobalds for the royal estate of Hatfield, which includes the famous Hatfield House.

There are some portions of the red brick garden wall enclosure still to be seen in Theobalds Lane near Cedars Park, however, one of the stones rescued from part of the original Palace wall enclosure, most of which was demolished in the 1950s, is now on display in Cedars Park (re-positioned on the wall of the entrance to the ‘Pet’s Corner’).

In 1919 Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux, the then owner of the Theobalds Park Estate gave the park to the people of Cheshunt.

Cedars Today

The park offers something for everyone including a scheduled ancient monument, 18th century domed summerhouses, woodland walks, formal gardens, ponds, pets’ corner, an arboretum and a conservation area.  New gates to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II were added to the entrance in 2002, these contain a time-line of historical events at Cedars Park.  There are many exciting changes scheduled and soon to be added is a natural play area, Turf Maze, Bocce Court and a Willow Tunnel.

A Park Manager now lives on the site and there is a tea room which is open during the summer months, with many events being held throughout the year ranging from archaeological digs and Teddy Bears Picnics to art workshops and ‘Health Walks’.

For details of forthcoming events and new developments at the park check out the web-site: http://www.cedarspark.info/

A Valuable Local Space

Cedars has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and my family and I have spent many happy hours there over the years.  In an ever-changing local environment the essence of the park has not altered and it’s wonderful to see so much money and time being invested in this valuable local space for the pleasure of generations to come.

This page was added on 07/05/2011.

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  • 12/2021 update to Roy’s 2019 comment – the website recently changed address from cedarspark.org, and is now at the original cedarspark.info! So the link already on this page now connects to the correct site.

    By Jake Gutteridge (22/12/2021)
  • Hi Maxine, if willing to share please could you e-mail these images to admin@hertsmemories.org.uk (and the admin will forward them). I am interested to see how the park looked at that time.
    Thanks – Jake

    By Jake Gutteridge (03/11/2021)
  • Hi Penny, one of the stuffed cats is in the Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon, I think.

    By Jake Gutteridge (02/05/2020)
  • I lived in LEVEN Drive,Waltham Cross,I spent many a day in that park with my brothers,1965 ish,it was stunning, old buildings the tiger house,an Aviary you could jump back in time then,just explore,Iā€™m 69yrs now,just thought of the park and if it was still there, just across the enterence was a small bridge then a lane,we used to go down,and hop over the wall and go Scrumping.good old days.Thank You.

    By Val Smith (19/04/2020)
  • I am a committee member of the Friends of Cedars Park and it says above “For details of forthcoming events and new developments at the park check out the web-site: http://www.cedarspark.info/“.
    Our website is actually http://www.cedarspark.org and we would love to connect with some of contributors via our new forum.

    By Roy Gibbs (30/06/2019)
  • I remember the tigers and the leopard well and the subsequent addition of the budgerigars. The building that contained them had a locked door at the back that gave access to some cellars. There was a hole in the ground behind the Tiger House allowing a view in to one of the cellars and I recall lots of bottles being visible. At the time (1950’s) the council had a small scrapyard there and a paper recycling operation in one of the outbuildings. Newspaper was bundled up in a hydraulic press between layers of cardboard and then shipped out presumably to be reused.
    At the time there was a massive Cedar Tree outside the Tiger House.
    One of the old outbuildings had a folding wooden chair in with a battledress jacket over the back. Always wondered if there was some military presence there in WWII.

    By Alec Beanse (28/05/2018)
  • Does anyone remember a formal garden in the park in the 1950’s with trees laid out in a square, with thatched summer house on two sides? A very tranquil place. Our Mum would sit & enjoy the peace while my brother & I climbed the summer house sides. Is the garden still there?

    By Jan Campbell (21/01/2018)
  • My great grandfather was the park superintendent from at least 1926 to 1929 but I am not too sure whether or not he lived on the site

    By Andy Seager (14/05/2017)
  • Hi Nicholas. Thank you for following this through.I am so pleased these cats have remained safe and are in public view. It would have been a shame if they had been disposed of. It is a pity one of the tigers were stolen. I look forward to further updates. Penny šŸ™‚

    By Penny Odell (15/02/2014)
  • Having a whim to return to Waltham cross, having grown up in the 60s here. I was taken many sundays to Cedars Park By my parents. I well remember the stuffed animals. I was terrified of them and after seeing them once, refused to let my parents take me near them. I was also disappointed that the lovely wooden gates have been replaced..! I also remember the strange stone dome constructions,now locked away, and have many photos of my parents and self taken with these as background. It certainly revoked memories to revisit this lovely park…!

    By maxine (15/02/2014)
  • I’ve had some success. One of the tigers and a leopard are now in Lowewood, the Borough’s museum in Hoddesdon. Apparently, the other tiger was stolen. According to the notes in the museum, the one they have was shot on a hunting trip with “King George V (then the prince of Wales)”, which would put it between 1901 and 1910. I didn’t have my camera with me, but they’re very happy for me to take pictures, so I’ll go back and do that as soon as I can. When I have the pictures, I’ll put up a separate article.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (15/02/2014)
  • I’ve been doing a bit of digging, but I’ve only managed to find a couple of very brief references. Cheshunt in Hertfordshire by Jack Edwards (1974) refers to the “tiger house” – “now an aviary, but still houses a pair of stuffed tigers presented to the council by Sir Hedworth Meux.” There’s similar information on http://edithsstreets.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/theobaldsbrook-theobaldsbrook-continues.html I’ll keep digging and see if I can find out what happened to the stuffed cats.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (11/02/2014)
  • Hi Penny. I hadn’t heard about the stuffed cats. I grew up in Cheshunt in the 50s & 60s, but at the Turnford end, and I didn’t know Cedars very well. I’ll see if I can find out anything about them.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (28/01/2014)
  • Thank you, that is very kind of you. I research the big cat sightings anywhere in the UK past and present. I remember those musty glass cages. I believe if my memory serves me well their was either a spotted leopard or a cheetah. I am hoping that someone else may remember them too šŸ™‚

    By Penny Odell (28/01/2014)
  • I was born in Cheshunt..I am interested in the stuffed cats that were in cedars park in the 50s . I played there frequently as a child until I moved from Cheshunt in the early 70s. Does anyone know what has happened to them.

    By Penny Odell (22/01/2014)
  • I lived in Waltham Cross from 1951 until I married in 1966 and Cedars Park was just across the railway line from where I lived. It was an integral part of my growing up and I along with my friends spent so many hours there. It is with interest that I now read the history and think what a shame that I did not know it before, I think I would have taken a much greater interest in it than I did.

    By Charles Youens (25/09/2013)
  • I have lived in Cheshunt for over 40 years and have spent a lot of time in this wonderful park,but I’m I right in thinking that the park had a bandstand in the early 70’s.and if so when was it demolished.Can anybody help.Keep up the good work.

    By J Turner (03/08/2013)
  • I have read with great interest and fond memories of many happy hours spent in Cedars Park. Thank you

    By Ann Pink (10/05/2011)