Inventory Site Record

Fordham Park (Lewisham)

Brief Description

Fordham Park is a sizeable and spacious space with numerous trees, which has been dubbed 'a greenspace in the heart of New Cross' (GIGL). It was opened in 1975, named for the last Mayor of Deptford, Charles Frank Fordham. Regeneration took place in 2010/11 and the park now has new facilities and incorporates new and improved walking and cycling routes that aim to improve opportunities in north Lewisham.

Practical Information
Site location:
Pagnell Street/Achilles Street/Edward Street/ Childeric Road, New Cross
SE14 6LU
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
All-weather full playing pitch; athletics track; play equipment for children; car parking
Various events, such as Party in the Park: check Lewisham website for details
Public transport:
Rail/London Overground: New Cross Gate
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.glendale-services.co.uk; https://www.facebook.com/friendsoffordhampark/

Full Site Description

According to information on the Friends of Fordham Park website, the 1916 OS Surrey map makes it clear that the park did not emerge from original woodland but from the clearance of tightly-packed urban streets, many of which were demolished in the 1970s. The park opened in 1975 and was named for the last Mayor of Deptford, that office having been abolished in 1965 as a result of local government reorganisation, which led to the creation of the London Borough of Lewisham. Charles Frank Fordham, as well as a politician, was also a keen amateur gardener, who competed regularly, often winning, in the Deptford Gardeners' Guild competitions.

The park was redeveloped in 2010-2011 when Lewisham Council, having identified parts of the area as top priority for regeneration, made improvements to streets and public spaces using government funds. It was during this time that children's play areas and equipment were installed in the park. Lewisham Council used VolkerHighways as their main contractor for the Fordham Park urban regeneration project, who were highly commended at the 2012 Landscape Institute Awards.

The Friends of Fordham Park was set up in 2014 and works with Lewisham Council and Glendale Parks Management on improving the park. They have successfully applied for funding for projects, such as for new weather- and animal-proof bins, bird nest boxes and a water fountain, through the Lewisham Council Greening Fund in 2019. They are currently applying to the 2021/22 Greening Fund, which has the themes of Young People and Play, Access, Biodiversity and Sustainability.   

Within Fordham Park is a large, commemorative stone engraved with the names of those who perished in the New Cross Fire, a devastating event that took place nearby on 18 January 1981 when a fire engulfed party-goers in 439 New Cross Road, killing 13 young Black people between the ages of 14 and 22. One of the survivors committed suicide 2 years later, becoming the 14th victim of the attack. Racism-fuelled arson was suspected as the cause. 

The Moonshot Centre, an eye-catching building with a triangular glass entrance picked out in bright blue is a key feature that dominates one end of the park. Local people successfully lobbied for a building that would provide a base for the African and Caribbean communities of New Cross and the Centre - a clubhouse with many activities including the IRIE dance studio - was constructed in 1981 in the wake of the fire. 

Fordham Park is surrounded on all sides by residential streets, and as a result it is well, even heavily, used. There is a considerable amount of foot traffic taking advantage of the cut-through even on a Sunday plus a great deal of recreational use. The atmosphere is pleasant and the excellent design clearly pays off for the park users.

Paul Browne, a local blogger who was growing up in the period before the new park was commissioned has fond memories of the space being used. Firstly it was for skateboarding and later for BMXing. Both pursuits eventually waned in popularity and then disappeared. Paul comments poignantly: 'In later years I would spot Fordham many times from the train on the way to central London . . . Then one day I looked and the park had gone, redeveloped into a sports ground.' 

Part of the park is within a Site Allocation (SA17) in the Lewisham Local Plan (adopted June 2013) to provide a new upper and lower school on the Edward Street Annexe of Deptford Green Secondary School. This will take in a small section of land at the north-east corner of Fordham Park. It is proposed that the Amersham Vale (upper school site) would be developed for a new public open space (39%) and housing (61% of the site). The Lewisham Site Allocations Local Plan identifies sites, usually 0.25 hectare and above, which are likely to be developed during the lifetime of the Lewisham Local Development Framework (LDF) (2011-2026).

Sources consulted:

LPGT Volunteer Research by Rosanna Cavallo, 2021/2022

Sources:  https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks/fordham-park Accessed 02/12/21 (2) https://transpont.blogspot.com/2016/02/friends-of-fordham-park-se14.html Accessed 02/12/21; (3) http://lewisham-heritage.wikidot.com/people:lbl-fordham-charles-f Accessed 02/12/21 (4) https://www.openplay.co.uk/view/1470/moonshot-centre Accessed 03/02/22; (5) https://www.goldsmithssu.org/news/article/6013/new-cross-fire-2021/ Accessed 02/12/21 (6) https://www.londonremembers.com/new-cross-fire-fordham-park Accessed 02/12/21; (7) https://www.iriedancetheatre.org/moonshot-centre Accessed 02/12/21

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ364772 (536488,177215)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Lewisham
Site management:
Glendale Parks Management. Friends of Fordham Park
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:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Part of park with Site Allocation Plan 2022 (SA17)
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space

Fordham Park

Fordham Park playground, August 2021.Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo

Fordham Park, August 2021. Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo
Fordham Park, August 2021. Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo
Fordham Park playground, August 2021. Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo
Fordham Park: A visit to the park on a sunny August afternoon revealed a small group of men sitting outside the Moonshot Centre and tapping out rhythms on hand drums, August 2021. Photographer: :Rosanna Cavallo
Fordham Park, August 2021. Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo
Fordham Park, August 2021. Photographer: Rosanna Cavallo

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.