Hatcham Gardens (Lewisham)
Hatcham Gardens, despite being a small public park, is notable for being the only open space within some distance and as a result is well-used. It contains a grass rectangle on approximately a third of the site, with the remainder given over to play facilities. Prior to re-landscaping by East architects in 2010/11 it had been described as 'an unloved grassy field with some metal play frames and poorly lit routes'. East's design was drawn up in consultation with the local community, including nearby Kender Primary School. A grid of Albizia (Persian silk trees) was planted around the new play area, which included a large sandpit, the first one in the borough. A fenced-in dog area was provided, and plaques on the new benches were inscribed with poems about love and kindness written by local schoolchildren in a workshop with local poets. Hatcham Gardens is part of the North Lewisham Links programme, which is aiming to improve local walking and cycling opportunities in order to offer residents healthy pastimes. Since 2018/19 a proportion of the park including a number of the new trees, has been boarded off by hoardings while a new housing development by Peabody is under construction, to be known as The Pomeroy. It is hoped that Hatcham Gardens will be restored once the scheme is completed.
- Site location:
- Pomeroy Street / Kender Street, New Cross
- SE14 5HZ
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Public Park
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Special conditions:
- Play equipment including a sandpit, chess tables and tennis table
- Public transport:
- London Overground/Rail: New Cross Gate
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks/hatcham-gardens
Full Site Description
The area was known as Hatcham (Hacheham) as far back as the Domesday Book, and was once woodland dotted with occasional, substantial mansions. Today the name only persists in various local institutions as the area gradually became known as New Cross after the toll gate was moved in 1813 to what is now New Cross Road. New Cross is believed to have been named from a nearby coaching house called The Golden Cross. John Marius Wilson's ‘Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales’ (1870-72) describes Hatcham as 'a manor and a chapelry in Deptford-St. Paul parish; the former in Surrey the latter partly also in Kent. The manor lies on the London-Bridge and New Croydon railway, at New Cross station, 2 miles SW by W of Deptford; and has two post offices . . . '. The arrival of the railway in 1835 had prompted speculative development and what had been a largely rural area of farms and country houses was soon built over. Among the properties lost to make way for the new residential and commercial development was Hatcham Park, a late C18th mansion set in substantial grounds, which was demolished in 1869. The house had been built for Joseph Hardcastle on the site of the medieval manor house. The manorial estate had been in the ownership of the Haberdashers’ Company since 1614 and the Haberdashers played an important role in determining how the area developed, particularly their own estate lands.
In 1839, George England, an engineer from Newcastle, played a large part in developing heavy industry in this location. He rented a vacant factory (previously used for tanning leather) between Pomeroy Street and Kender Street and renamed it The Hatcham lron Works. He built locomotive engines and his business was successful enough to enable him to build a substantial house for his family in 1853, 'Hatcham Lodge' (now 56 Kender Street). The firm reached its zenith in 1861/2 and George England retired in 1869. After his death in 1872 the works were sold off piecemeal to various firms, including one notable purchaser, J. C. Eno, which was seeking premises for the manufacture of their famous Eno’s ‘Fruit Salt’. Nothing now remains of the original buildings. William Grahame Hood and Douglas Hills of the Reliance Foundry Ltd (a remainder of the Hatcham lron Works and still operating in Kent) have lectured and written extensively on George England. Another claim to his name is the development of the first truly successful steam locomotives to run on a narrow gauge railway, which were run on the Ffestiniog Railway that opened 1833. His ‘Little England’ locomotive, built at the Hatcham Iron Works, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
The former site of Hatcham Ironworks fronting onto Pomeroy Street is clearly shown on OS and other maps from the mid C19th onwards, and the land between Pomeroy and Kender Streets was soon built over, for both residential and industrial use. The OS Second Edition of 1894-6 (published 1897) and the OS 25 inch map of 1915 show the substantial Hatcham Ironworks site now divided into a number of uses, with Eno’s Fruit Salt Works to the north; by 1915 a Paper Warehouse is shown to the south of Eno’s, south of which is a smaller Hatcham Ironworks site, and an Engineering Works, the latter marked on an area shown as Vinegar Works on the 1897 OS map. By the 1960s it appears that there was open land to the south of these industrial works, spanning between the two streets and crossed by paths, in the approximate area that the public park now is. It is unclear whether this was part of recreational facilities provided by the local authority.
The most recent redesign of Hatcham Gardens took place in 2010/2011 as part of the North Lewisham Links programme, and was undertaken for Lewisham Council by East, an award-winning architecture, landscape and urban design practice based in East London that has worked extensively across London, as well as throughout the UK and Europe since 1995. Their design was drawn up in consultation with the local community, including the nearby Kender Primary School. East introduced malleable Breedon Gravel and sand safety surfaces under a canopy of 47 Albizia julibrissin f. rosea trees planted in a grid formation that also shelters the new play area. From June to September, Hatcham Gardens showcases an eye-catching display of these beautiful Persian silk trees. Despite being native to south-western and eastern Asia, these medium-sized trees with mimosa-like leaves and fluffy rose-pink flowers are surprisingly hardy and able to cope with the English climate.
Prior to the re-design, East described Hatcham Gardens as ‘an unloved grassy field with some metal play frames and poorly lit routes […] mostly used as a dog toilet’. To address this they worked with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to initiate dog training sessions and free microchipping, and the design included a fenced-in dog area ‘as a positive space within the larger project’. To address issues around vandalism new park benches were engraved with poems about love and kindness written by the children in a workshop with local poets. As a result of working closely with Lewisham Council on the park’s management plan, East was able to include a large sandpit in their design, ‘the first one in the borough’. Other play equipment included climbing poles and chess tables for the Kender Primary Chess Club.
Since 2018/19 a significant proportion of the park including a number of the new trees, has been boarded off behind hoardings while a new housing development by Peabody is under construction. Named The Pomeroy this new development boasts ‘a diverse mix of houses, duplexes and apartments in a convenient Zone 2 location’ which seeks ‘to build a community where people love to live. Plus, the homes benefit from either balconies or gardens, and neighbouring Hatcham Gardens offers green space right on your doorstep’. It is hoped that Hatcham Gardens will be restored once the scheme is completed.
Directly opposite Hatcham Gardens is Kender Primary School, which has an attractive plant-based frontage and a burgeoning children’s garden. As part of the North Lewisham Links programme, the design was drawn up in consultation with locals, including children from the school.
LPGT Volunteer Research by Rosanna Cavallo, 2021/2022
Sources: https://www.goparks.london/park/hatcham-gardens (Accessed 13/11/2021); https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/deptford/north-lewisham-links (Accessed 13/11/2021); https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks/hatcham-gardens (Accessed 18/11/2021); https://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/lewisham/assets/histories/new.html (Accessed 13/11/2021); https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk (Accessed 15/11/2021); https://www.georgeengland.org/index.php (Accessed 15/11/2021); https://www.east.uk.com/ (Accessed 18/11/2021); https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/77621/albizia-julibrissin-f-rosea/details (Accessed 14/11/2021)
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ353769 (535377,176927)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Lewisham
- Site management:
- Glendale Grounds Management
- East architects (2010/11)
- 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:
- Area of Archaeological Priority
- Other LA designation:
- Public Open Space
Hatcham Gardens: Hoardings and Albizia trees, August 2021. Photograph 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.