London Gardens Online
London Gardens Online


Lavender Pond Nature Park Southwark


Lavender Pond Nature Park was created in 1981 by LB Southwark in conjunction with the Trust for Urban Ecology and Landuse Consultants Ltd. It was once in the northern part of the Surrey Commercial Docks established in 1864, which finally closed in 1969. Nearby are remnants of the earlier industrial use, the Lavender Lock built in 1863 to serve a timber pond that belonged to the Surrey Docks, and the Pump House, built by Port of London Authority in 1928/9 over the channel through to the Thames. It was used to regulate the water in Lavender Pond and was converted to educational use in 1982 and from 1997 it was the Rotherhithe Heritage Museum (now closed). The site was designated a local nature reserve in 2005, becoming one of the oldest urban nature reserves in the country.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Pump House/Surrey Commercial Docks

Site location:
Salter Road, Rotherhithe

SE16 5DZ ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Open Land



Listed structures:


Site ownership:
LB Southwark

Site management:
Trust for Urban Ecology/Friends of Lavender Pond

Open to public?

Opening times:
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 8 times, most recently in 2018.

Special conditions:



Public transport:
London Overground: Rotherhithe, Canada Water then bus. Tube: Canada Water (Jubilee) then bus. Bus: C10, 381.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2018
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

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:

In Conservation Area:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:
Regeneration Area. Green Chain Walk.

Lavender Pond Nature Park

Lavender Pond and Nature Park - Photo: Candy Blackham

Click photo to enlarge.


Fuller information

Lavender Pond Nature Reserve was once was in the northern part of the Surrey Commercial Docks created in 1864 when the various companies owning Rotherhithe's C19th commercial docks amalgamated. Surrey Docks came to cover over 185 hectares, and was particularly important for imported timber. The Docks were finally closed in 1969; Lavender Pond Nature Park was created in 1982 by the Trust for Urban Ecology, when the landscape was naturalised with funding from LB Southwark and the London Docklands Development Corporation to provide a small wild-life pond. The park also has a wet meadow and woodland planted with native trees; a small tree nursery was established in 1985.

Nearby are the remains of Lavender Lock, built in 1863 to serve a timber pond that belonged to the Surrey Docks. The Pump House, built by Port of London Authority in 1928/9 over the channel through to the Thames, was used to regulate the water in Lavender Pond, keeping the timber damp to prevent cracking, and the wharves near the building were used by the timber trade. The Pump House was converted in 1981/2 for educational use and run by an educational trust with an emphasis on environmental education. From 1997 the basement was used as Rotherhithe Heritage Museum, which exhibited archaeological finds from the area ranging from prehistoric tools to C20th dockers' implements, the collection reflecting the work of the dockyards, wharves and associated industries that were an important part of Rotherhithe’s economy. The grain trade was prominent in the wharf near Church Stairs along with mills and biscuit makers.

By 2018 the site has become rather neglected and the Pump House and its museum are closed while there are various plans for its future use pending. Lavender Pond has reed beds on two sides, and the outlet is the broken Lavender Lock gate, leading past the Pump House. In the locked woodland section there is now another pond surrounded by a boardwalk with a pier leading out to Lavender Dock.

Sources consulted:

Elizabeth Williamson & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England: London Docklands', Penguin 1998 p266, 270; John Archer, Bob Britton, Robert Burley, Tony Hare, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Southwark' Ecology Handbook 12, London Ecology Unit, 1989

Page Top

Discover. Visit. Research. Explore.