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Bonnington Square Lambeth

Summary

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'.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
The Pleasure Garden

Site location:
Bonnington Square, off Vauxhall Grove

Postcode:
SW8 1GA ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Housing/Estate Landscaping

Date(s):
1970s; 1990s

Designer(s):
1994: Dan Pearson, James Fraser (Bonnington Square Garden Association)

Listed structures:
None

Borough:
Lambeth

Site ownership:
LB Lambeth

Site management:
Bonnington Square Garden Association

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
check opening times
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 18 times, most recently in 2017.

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Bonnington café nearby, check www.bonningtoncafe.co.uk for opening times

Events:
annual festival; regularly participates in OGSW

Public transport:
Rail/Tube: Vauxhall (Victoria), Oval (Northern). Bus: 2, 36, 88, 185, 436; 44, 77, 87, 156, 196, 322, 344

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.bonningtonsquaregarden.org.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ306778

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

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.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
Yes

Conservation Area name:
Vauxhall

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
No

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
None

Bonnington Square

Photo: Diana Jarvis

Click photo to enlarge.

Album

Fuller information

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.

Sources consulted:

The Guardian, 11 December 1998; Bonnington Square Garden Association

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