Winsford Gardens (Bromley)
Winsford Gardens were formerly part of the grounds of Winsford House, built as a private residence in c.1936 by Stephen Gee, a wealthy local property developer. It stood on the right of the Garden Road entrance to the public gardens. Prior to this the area was part of the Chesham Park estate. There were once a number of large houses here, but from the 1960s many were cleared and replaced by flats such as Benwick Court and later Burmarsh Court. In 1977 Gee's property was conveyed to Bromley Council. Winsford Gardens opened as a public park but later became neglected. In 2011 the environmental charity BTCV recruited local volunteers to restore and transform the gardens as a community space, establishing Penge Green Gym to undertake the task. Features remaining from the original garden include ornamental shrub beds, fruit trees, rose gardens, ponds and areas of lawn.
- Previous / Other name:
- Penge Green Gym
- Site location:
- Croydon Road/Garden Road, Anerley
- SE20 7RN
- Type of site:
- Public Gardens
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- 7.30am weekdays/9am Sat/Sun/BHs - half hour after dusk Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend in the past.
- Special conditions:
- Activities organised by Penge Green Gym incl practical gardening sessions Wed 11am-2pm
- Public transport:
- London Overground: Anerley, Penge West. Rail: Kent House. Bus: 176, 197, 356, 358, 75
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2014
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.pengegreengym.org.uk
Full Site Description
Stephen Gee started acquiring land here in 1930, which included the then properties fronting Croydon Road. It is believed that he built Winsford House in 1936 for his own residence and laid out his private gardens with ponds, rose arbours, trees, greenhouses and other outbuildings, which can be seen on the 1954 1/2500 Ordnance Survey map. Although the large houses fronting Croydon Road appeared to survive the World War II bombing that devastated parts of Penge, they were partially replaced from the 1960s by blocks of flats such as Benwick Court. Gee died in June 1956 and administration of his estate eventually passed to a Victor Lawson, who conveyed Winsford House and its gardens, together with 71-77 Croydon Road, to Bromley Council in March 1977. This is probably the date when the garden opened as a small public park, with the entrance from Croydon Road created when Burmarsh Court was built.
Winsford Gardens having become rather neglected, in 2011 the environmental charity British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) recruited local volunteers to restore and transform the gardens as a community space, establishing Penge Green Gym to undertake the task. BTCV originated in 1959 when Brigadier Armstrong was appointed by the Council for Nature to form the Conservation Corps in order to involve volunteers in practical conservation work. Its first project was at Box Hill in Surrey when among the 42 volunteers was David Bellamy, now the renowned environmental campaigner, broadcaster and botanist. Since the early days BTCV has gone from strength to strength, and in May 2012 was renamed The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).
In May 2013 Penge Green Gym was established as a community group independent of TCV and now manages Winsford Gardens, which has been transformed into an exciting, attractive community space and wildlife garden. Weekly work sessions have increased colour and vibrancy in the gardens; a sustainable food-growing space, herb garden and propagation area have been created and native wildflower meadows have been planted. Increased wildlife habitats have been created through constructing stag beetle loggeries, insect hotels and wood piles and an urban orchard and hedgerows have been planted. Recent projects include an interpretation board, some natural seating and a new children's play area. Where possible the volunteers use only natural, locally sourced and sustainable materials, and they have successfully encouraged the local community back into the gardens. More funds are being sought to create a bog garden, renovate the damaged willow dome and arch, and build a compostable toilet facility for volunteers.
Winsford Gardens is a beautiful and peaceful community environment and has won a number of awards. In 2012 Penge Green Gym received an environmental award from Bromley Council, and in 2013 Winsford Gardens received a Penge In Bloom award for the Most Interesting Residential / Community Area.
David Faergusson, 'The History of Chesham Park and Winsford Gardens', The London Gardener, issue XXI, 2017; OGSW 2012 booklet; Information from members of Penge Green Gym;
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ353696 (535280,169610)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Bromley
- Site management:
- Penge Green Gym
- 1936; 2011
- Listed structures:
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- 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:
- Not known
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation:
- Urban Open Space
Winsford Gardens - Photo: Duncan Catterall
Date taken: 21/06/17 13:37
Click a photo to enlarge.