This open space was created as part of the LCC's Pepys Estate, built over the site of the Royal Naval Victualling Yard, established for storage of provisions and clothing for the Royal Navy in 1742. The yard had a river frontage of 460 metres, and became the largest naval victualling yard in the country, manufacturing a range of provisions including biscuit, chocolate, mustard and pepper, and housing massive supplies of food, tobacco, rum, medical supplies and clothing. It closed in 1961.
The estate was named after Samuel Pepys, who was Secretary to the Admiralty in the reign of Charles II and so had connections with the area. He visited John Evelyn who lived at Sayes Court (q.v.).