The Landscape Guide

Southwark Park

Southwark Park was opened in 1869 and the Illustrated London News reported that 'It was purchased chiefly of Sir William Gomm. The cost of the freehold and leasehold interests has amounted to nearly £70,000, some sixty acres of the land having been purchased at an average of £911 per acre. Sixteen acres thus purchased will be devoted to building purposes, in order to recover for the ratepayers at least some portion of the total outlay in connection with the park. While £70,000 has been expended in the purchase of the land, only about £20,000 has been paid for the formation of roads, drainage, and planting of trees; so that no unnecessary cost has been incurred. Judging from the numbers who congregated on Saturday to witness the opening of the park, and again on Sunday, the people seemed to highly appreciate the boon which had been conferred upon them.'

Despite only £20,000 being available for the layout the park has a stately quality. In the main this quality results from the London Plane trees. Southwark Park experienced miserable neglect toward the end of the twentieth century but the trees survived. In the early 20th century the Heritage Lottery Fund contributed £2,694,500 towards the restoration of Southwark Park. The work was well done, as it usually is for HLF funded projects, but insufficient thought was given to renewal (as opposed to restoration), as is usual on HLF funded projects. See comments on Heritage Lottery Funding for Public Parks.

See eBook Alicia Amherst on Southwark Park, 1907 


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