Pimping my dovecote

A grade II listed Tudor building in Pimp Hall Park, Chingford is being restored to its former glory.

The dovecote – which is nearly 500 years old – is the last surviving structure from the former Pimps Hall, gardens and farm. The area is now a park and nature reserve run by the council.

The name Pimp originates from Reynold Pympe, lord of the manor in 1500.

The building, made from massive oak timbers, was capable of supporting 500 doves or pigeons, which were kept for food.

It has been put on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register, as the structure has been a victim of vandalism and the frame has warped and deteriorated. The council has pledged funding for restoration works, and to improve the entrance.

Pimp Hall was a working farm until it was purchased by Chingford Council in 1934. The farm and gardens were made into allotments, a nursery and a small park, where the dovecote is located.

It is rumoured that a secret passage once linked the farm under the dovecote to Manor House at Friday Hill, 250 metres away. The farmhouse became derelict and was demolished in 1939, while the barn was destroyed by the Burns Day storm of January 1990.

The dovecote restoration plan is part of the council’s wider plan to conserve the borough’s heritage.

Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “As well as saving Pimp Hall dovecote for future generations, we want to open it up to the community and enable residents and visitors to learn more about its history and the Pimp Hall site through a series of events and educational resources.”

It is hoped once the dovecote is fully restored, it can be used for special events, exhibitions and open days.

Pimp Hall Dovecote
Pimp Hall dovecote (Council Leader Chris Robbins third from left and Claire Ford, Chair of Friends of Pimp Hall Park and Nature Reserve, fourth from left)

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