It was not until 2005 that the garden was restored to much of its original layout through the work of Bankside Open Spaces Trust with support by local people and funding from HLF and Southwark Council. It reflects its Victorian origins as a community garden and combines C19th and ecological planting.
Red Cross Garden formed part of Octavia Hill's pioneering social housing scheme here, which consisted of two rows of cottages and a community hall, designed by Elijah Hoole. The garden pre-dated the buildings and was laid out in 1887, the opening ceremony taking place in 1888. It was created to provide 'an open air sitting room for the tired inhabitants of Southwark' and had an elaborate layout of curved lawns, flower beds and serpentine paths, an ornamental pond with fountain, bandstand and covered children's play area. There were once two mosaics in the garden, that depicting 'The Sower' remains, restored in 1956 and again in 2005. During WWII the railings were removed for the war effort and the caretaker dismissed, and by 1948 the layout of the garden had disappeared. Sir Sidney Cockerell writing to The Times of his visit in July 1948 found 'a desolate flat space part of it newly asphalted'. The garden appears treeless in a photograph of 1965, although some trees were subsequently planted.
Visitor FacilitiesThe garden is open from 7.30am - sunset.
- Access & Directions
Access Contact DetailsThe garden is open from 7.30am - sunset.
DirectionsRail: London Bridge. Tube: London Bridge (Jubilee, Northern), Borough (Northern). Bus: 21, 35, 40, 133, 343, 344, RV1, C10.
London Parks and Gardens Trust