You may well know that a while ago Debra Gosling, one of our long-standing supporters, published a unique and lovely history of Southwark Park Road, called 'Down The Blue'. It was so popular it quickly went out of print. The good news now is that Debbie has republished it herself, and copies are available from her directly at £10.00 plus £2.50 post and packing.
In September 2009 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded The Friends a grant to carry out a reminiscence project entitled "Our Park". Considering it was the first municipal park in London to be open to the public, we believed that the story of Southwark Park was not as well-known as it should be. Apart from a small booklet published in 1999, there was no substantial written or oral history of one of London's first public parks, a gap of local and regional significance, not only to adults, but also to children. Through "Our Park" we set out to tell that story to our local community in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, and we also drew upon their memories of the park to make the tale as rich as possible.
project was completed by the summer of 2010, and activities included
heritage walks and talks; exhibitions; work with local schools
(including an educational resource pack) and community groups; and a
floral display in the park. A full-colour book was published, based on
interviews and writings of local people. In addition a history of
Southwark Park Bowling Club was produced. In all, over 200 people took
part in a very successful project, and we thank them so much for
volunteering their time. And thanks to Debra Gosling for her book design work.
The Rotherhithe Caryatides
On Saturday 4th June 2011 something magical happened in the park.
Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Lorraine Lauder M.B.E., unveiled two lovely
statues, which once flanked the main entrance of the old Rotherhithe
Town Hall on the corner of Neptune Street and Lower Road.
designed and constructed by Henry Poole RA, and opened on 28th April
1897, the Town Hall was severely damaged during the Second World War and
was subsequently demolished. The caryatides remained on site until
1974, but were then moved to the Heygate Estate in Walworth.
campaign for their return to Rotherhithe was begun and sustained over
many years by longstanding Friends member, Gary Magold.
You can download copies of the books (for free) here:
Dr Salter statue
UK Power Networks
Our park faces a very serious issue at the moment. The major utility company, UK Power Networks, have been in negotiations with Southwark Council to dig a deep tunnel for electric cables to improve power supply to the City of London. They want to use part of Southwark Park as their main works compound, and if Southwark Council grants planning permission, the project could start on site in November. Once there a works compound will be in place for up to two years.
The Friends of Southwark Park strongly oppose the plan because it will:
- Stop the public using a large area within the park between the China Hall entrance and Hawkstone Road
- Turn the southern end of the park into an eyesore, with green space, flowers and trees giving way to hoardings, cranes, compressors, excavating machines and staff offices
- Disrupt the landscape and wildlife and increase noise and nuisance for park users and nearby residents
- Add to traffic congestion in the area with over 20 lorries a day taking away the spoil from the tunnel
- Lead to a loss of public land, because UK Power Networks will have access rights to their tunnel forever
- Undermine all of the good work carried out over the last ten years to improve the park.
We believe the plans are completely inappropriate for our park and call upon you to help us in urging UK Power Networks and Southwark Council to think again. You can:
Contact Southwark Council on firstname.lastname@example.org to register your views
Sign our online petition at www.gopetition.com/petitions/southwark-park-under-threat.html
The Friends Blog