Bonnington Square was originally built in the 1870s for railway workers. In the 1970s the houses were compulsorily purchased by the GLC and an area of WWII bomb damage, now the site of the communal garden, was laid out as playground, but this later fell into disrepair and became wasteland. The properties were left empty, squatted, then leased until 1998 when LB Lambeth enabled the residents to form themselves into a co-op in order to buy the property. In 1990 they formed Bonnington Square Garden Association and transformed it into a 'Pleasure Garden', so named in homage to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which had been located 100m north of the site. The design aimed to be 'a unique mix of the classic English and the exotic tropical, of gentle textures and the bold architectural'.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2009
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
Photo: Diana Jarvis
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Bonnington Square was built in the 1870s for railway workers; in the 1970s the houses were compulsorily purchased by the GLC. Left empty, squatted then leased, in 1998 LB Lambeth enabled the residents to form themselves into a co-op in order to buy the property. The communal garden is on the site of WWII bomb damage which in the 1970s LB Lambeth laid out as playground installing swings and seats but it was not maintained and fell into disrepair and became wasteland. In 1990 a builder applied to LB Lambeth for use of the site for storage at which time residents formed the Bonnington Square Garden Association with the aim of transforming it into a 'Pleasure Garden', so named in homage to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which were located 100m north of the site. Money was raised by August 1994 and the garden was designed by local residents and an architectural firm with the intention of creating 'a gentle and beautiful slice of nature that could serve all sides of the community'.
The original planting plan was by Bonnington Square residents Dan Pearson and James Fraser from New Zealand creating 'a unique mix of the classic English and the exotic tropical, of gentle textures and the bold architectural'. Planting included a walnut tree, tropical banana and bamboo, New Zealand planting in raised beds. The planting has been embellished since then by Andrew Gleave-Coley and Evan English. Adornments in the garden include the Boat above the wisteria-covered pergola, and at one end is The Wheel, a 1860s industrial artefact rescued from a nearby marble factory. The Garden Association has since planted trees, vines and street gardens in the surrounding neighbourhood as part of its 'Paradise Project'. 2003: It has been the recipient of S106 money from Vauxhall Cross Development, also enabling planting of rosemary and lavender by street trees.
The Guardian, 11 December 1998; Bonnington Square Garden Association