Secret Gardens

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Monday 5 July 2010 12.35pm
All Hallows Church Gardens Copperfield Street

I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon here sitting on the grass reading a novel.

I'm sure the garden isn't a big secret to most SE1 readers. But I was surprised the gardens weren't full of people soaking up the sun.

Whoever maintains these gardens is doing an amazing job.

Does anyone know of other hidden gems in the area? I know the gardens on Redcross Way are pretty nice.

Also, does anyone know when the Canon of Southwark Cathedral will be bringing in the bulldozers? I read that the church is selling off the gardens to property developers or some such thing.
Tuesday 6 July 2010 8.41am
My wife had to go to the Southbank early on Sunday morning to help set up a gig for her students and I arranged to follow on later. I got off the train at Fenchurch St. and had a pleasant walk down Eastcheap and over London Bridge. (I never used to think it was so pleasant when I did it as a commuter years ago. Funny that.) I then cut through by Southwark Cathedral and on past the Golden Hinde. When I got near to Blackfriars Bridge I came to a dead end because of some reconstruction work. I found out afterwards that I could have made a shorter detour, but the one I took turned out to be serendipitous.
I turned left, took a big loop and ended up on Blackfriars Road, right by the site of the old Sainsbury's factory on Stamford St., where my dad worked throughout my childhood. Naturally I couldn't resist a little tour of the area, the first time I'd been back there since the early 1960's. The old factory building was, to my suprise, still there, but looked very shabby and possibly derelict. The building that was once the staff canteen on Columbo St., where they held the Sainsbury's staff's children's Xmas parties, is also still there, but is now a fitness suite. The parties were held in early January and I've got a photo of me at one of these parties, wearing the cowboy outfit I'd got for Xmas that year. (Circa 1954.) Did I look a dude or what?
I was pleased to see that the little church and churchyard are also still there and well maintained. There were a few people lying on the grass reading their boooks and taking advantage of the deep shade the little churchyard garden afforded on what was a very hot day. I'm sure most of you SE1-er's will know of this little place, but it was a nice surprise for me as some time ago I mentioned it on a thread and someone posted back that it was now all flattened and the churchyard was a hole in the ground waiting to be developed. I guess there was some confusion as to the exact location. Probably down to me as it's so long since I'd been there and maybe I gave a misleading description of the area I was referring to. For those who don't know of it, it's a charming little place, very peaceful and well worth a visit.
Tuesday 6 July 2010 12.48pm
Hi ssimps01
It's lovely to learn that you've recently discovered the All Hallows Garden in Copperfield Street. It is like coming across a secret garden. Lucky you to have it all to yourself for a few hours. It's one of my (and many others) favorite places too. The garden was made almost 40 years ago and has been maintained from that time by a handful of local volunteers - there is a noticeboard in the garden with a little more detail on the history etc that you may find interesting. Also,there is a looooong thread on this forum about our continuing fight to keep it from being developed into a block of flats by Southwark Catherdal (who own the site but have had no input into the garden) - search for "All Hallows Church,Copperfield Street" to read all about it. Please do join the cause to stop the destruction of this hidden gem.
Wednesday 7 July 2010 3.12pm
I had a look at the church's plans.

Looks like the big issue is blocking in the flats behind the old church, and the removal of communal access to the gardens when the flats are sold.
I mean the plans don't include doing anything to the gardens.

Still, a lawyer friend of mine suggested looking into squatters rights. But I presume the church has had access to the gardens during the 40 years they've been maintained by local residents?

Does anyone know who owns the gardens in Merrick Square and Trinity Church Square. They don't appear to be communal gardens belonging to the residents of these squares - the local residents website states that residents have only had access since 1997.
Their website also proud;y states that they open up the gardens to the public once a year on a Sunday afternoon.
Wednesday 7 July 2010 4.10pm
ssimps01 wrote:
Does anyone know who owns the gardens in Merrick Square and Trinity Church Square. They don't appear to be communal gardens belonging to the residents of these squares - the local residents website states that residents have only had access since 1997.

The gardens, like the rest of the Trinity Village/Newington Trust Estate are owned by the Corporation of Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar.

Residents have a key to access to the gardens. Merrick Square has been open to residents since 1994 and Trinity Church Square, as you say, since 1997.
Wednesday 7 July 2010 5.39pm
The concern of many is the loss of the gardens as they are. As has been pointed out at meetings, where exactly are they planning to place access for the building work? It can only be in the grounds itself requiring a leveling of the plot and a cutting back of hedges and trees. This will drastically effect the character of the area even if, as has been suggested the gardens are replaced once the flats are built. The further suspicion remains that access will effectively be for tenants of the new build and the essence of this peaceful oasis will have been lost to an insensitive development in opposition to the wishes of the local community that has tended this garden for a generation on a voluntary basis from a simple love for the area.

It is a garden used by many and its very lack of hordes soaking up the sun makes it a unique place in which to enjoy a book or partake a conversation. Its very randomness is what makes it special, not just an anonymous planting scheme, but one vested with love and care by those who live close to its borders. The quiet nature of the area is reflected in this 'secret garden' and should be celebrated as such.
Friday 9 July 2010 12.45pm
Exactly Tolstoy - beautifully put.

I've recently learnt that Southwark Cathedral are to put yet another planning application in - and yet again, no consultation has been given to those concerned. It is extraordinary behaviour from the church.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the All Hallows Church and Copperfield Street Garden please have look at the website at http://www.saveallhallows.com/ (I don't know how to do a link - sorry).

Also, do please come along to the Big Lunch with a picnic on 18 July and join in - notices on the garden gates.

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