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Lottery cash for Red Cross Garden

London SE1 website team

Red Cross Garden in Redcross Way is to receive £514,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards Bankside Open Spaces Trust's work to return the space to its former glory.

How the gardens look now

How the gardens looked when new in the 19th century

The reinvigorated Garden will provide a haven for local residents just as it was originally designed to do. When first created in 1888, the garden would have been an oasis of plant life, water and recreation space, providing a much needed open space and alternative to the cramped housing of the working poor.

Situated in a conservation area, the garden is considered to be one of the best surviving examples of the social housing and environmental schemes of Octavia Hill, and of national heritage merit. Over recent decades it has suffered from inappropriate management, with a layer of topsoil covering the original Victorian layout.

Restoration of this once-loved space will reflect the original design of features such as railings and furniture, faithfully re-create lawn and planting beds, and provide learning tools to open up the Garden's history for everyone. A programme of fun events will help broaden the understanding of the Garden's history and local nature, and a full-time Community Gardener employed to provide a welcoming experience.

The project will have considerable benefits for Southwark's diverse community, offering environmental regeneration to improve quality of life in an area suffering from deprivation. Currently some 2,000 people visit the park each year, and an extra 10-15,000 are expected once the work has been completed.

Sue Bowers, Regional Manager for HLF in London, comments; "We are always very happy to bring green spaces in London back to life, and regeneration of the Red Cross Garden will have a tremendous benefit for people in Southwark. This is a great heritage asset and important open space in an area of deprivation, and we very much look forward to working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust to make the project a success."

Helen Firminger, Director of Bankside Open Spaces Trust, added; "We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has looked sympathetically on this project, which will help not just in re-vitalising the garden, but in setting up a series of exciting events to reflect the importance of this space in Victorian Bankside. We expect five times as many visitors to the garden after its official re-opening, and we hope Octavia Hill would be proud."

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