|Brockley Hill Park Estate Ornamental Garden||Lewisham|
Brockley Hill Park Estate Ornamental Garden is a hidden private garden owned and managed by residents of adjoining properties represented by a Trust formed in 1853, an arrangement common in Kensington and Westminster but unusual in south-east London. By the mid C19th the land was being developed by the Conservative Land Society as Brockley Hill Park Estate, offering plots for detached and semi-detached houses, a few shops, a church (not built) and an area reserved for an Ornamental Garden. In 1929 the Trustees purchased the two vacant plots that had been left for the access road for the church, ensuring that there was no road access to the garden. In 1951 Lewisham Borough Council wished to purchase the garden for public open space but this was vigorously opposed and the proposal was abandoned. The park consists of three terraces, the upper and lower of which are wooded with the middle terrace occupied by tennis courts since at least 1913.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
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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.
The area was formerly woodland, and shown as such on John Rocque's map of 1745, although none of the extant trees date from that time. The Conservative Land Society divided the land into plots in the early 1850s, which were offered for sale for the erection of detached and semi-detached houses. A few plots were reserved for shops, one plot, where 'intoxicating liquor' could be sold, is now the site of a pub, and an area was reserved as an 'Ornamental Garden . . . for the use and enjoyment' of those who would eventually own the surrounding houses. On the original estate plan a church was shown in the middle of the garden with an access road running north/south, but this was not carried out, the church of St Saviour's was eventually built in Brockley Rise in 1875. By September 1853 a few of the plots surrounding the garden had been sold and in order to retain and manage it the Brockley Hill Park Estate Ornamental Garden Trust was set up, its Trustees appointed by the owners of those plots that were sold at that time. This is a situation that still persists with only a few of the surrounding owners having the power to appoint Trustees.
The secluded communal garden, nicknamed The Park by the residents who enjoy it, is surrounded by the back gardens of the houses on the four roads that enclose it. The eastern, higher terrace has fine views to the west, with grass, seating and numerous trees planted, including wild cherry, ash, horse-chestnut, pine, poplar and hawthorn, and elms prior to their loss to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. The bottom terrace is less formally planted, containing London plane, Turkey oak, lime, horse-chestnut and aspen, the grass planted with spring bulbs and other plants. A tennis tournament takes place each year and other events are organised for the residents by the Trust's social club.
John Archer, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Lewisham', Ecology Handbook 30, London Ecology Unit, 2000.