Inventory Site Record

Christ Church Garden

Christ Church Garden (Southwark)

Brief Description

Christ Church Garden is the former churchyard of Christ Church built here in 1671, which was rebuilt in the C18th and added to in the 1890s but destroyed by bombing in WWII. The current church dates from 1960. The churchyard was enlarged a number of times but closed to burial in 1856. It was converted into a public garden by the MPGA and opened in 1900. A drinking fountain was donated by John Passmore Edwards. When the church was bombed, the cross fell into the churchyard scorching the ground, its position now marked by a stone cross in the grass. The garden was redesigned in 2000.

Practical Information
Site location:
Blackfriars Road/Columbo Street
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Southwark (Jubilee). Bus: 45, 63, 381.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Following an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of Charles II, the original church was built on land purchased in 1670 from William Angel that was formerly in the Liberty or Manor of Paris Garden in the parish of St Saviour, Southwark. The 100-acre Manor dated back to 1113, originally owned by the Knights Templar and then the Knights Hospitallers. The manor house, once owned by Jane Seymour, was acquired by the Bailiff of Southwark who opened it and the gardens to the public for bowling, gambling and refreshments. Paris Garden was reputedly 'much frequented on Sundays for bear-baiting, a favourite sport in the time of Queen Elizabeth' (E. Walford, Old and New London, vol 6). During the Commonwealth bleaching of cloth took place here, and in the reign of Charles II housing and a church were built on the land. John Marshall had bequeathed £700 in his will for building a new church and providing a churchyard. The church was consecrated in 1671. In 1737 Mr Marshall's Trustees applied to Parliament for permission to rebuild a new church and steeple, as a result of which a brick church with stone quoins was built in 1738-1741, probably designed by James Horne, at which time the churchyard was extended. It was extended again in 1817 when adjoining cottages were demolished but closed to burials in 1856. Among those buried were Captain Thomas Eyre Hinton (d.1829) whose flat stone remains as does that of John Lloyd (d.1836), a millwright and engineer. In 1890-91 a Romanesque chancel was added to the church, designed by C R Baker King.

The church was destroyed in WWII by bombing on 17 April 1941. The burning cross from the church fell into the churchyard scorching the ground, its position now marked with a stone cross set into the grass. On 24 February 1960 a new church, designed by R Paxton Watson and B Costin, was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh; the main meeting room is called John Marshall Hall. It is now the headquarters of the South London Industrial Mission Centre.

In 1900 the churchyard had been laid out as a public garden by the MPGA and was opened on 16 June 1900 by the Lord Bishop of Rochester. A plaque records that the garden was maintained by St Saviours District Board of Works. A drinking fountain was erected by the MPGA in 1900 donated by John Passmore Edwards who provided three other fountains in Hoxton Square, Duncan Terrace, Islington and Leyton Square, Camberwell. A few gravestones remain, and a plaque to commemorate the bombing in 1941 is set into the back wall.

A Christ Church Garden Group has been set up, and in 2000 the garden was renovated by Bankside Open Spaces Trust with Groundwork Southwark, to designs by Marcus Beale Architects, and re-opened on 16 June 2000. A stone plaque commemorates this, listing the sponsors, among whom were Bankside Open Spaces Trust, the MPGA, Sainsbury's, the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and many others. The garden has a large area with picnic tables to the west.

Sources consulted:

John Beasley, 'Southwark Remembered', Tempus Publishing, 2001; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; Joyce Bellamy notes (n.d.); 'The London County Council and what it does for London: London Parks and Open Spaces' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1924); Southwark Listed Buildings data; Edward Walford 'Old and New London' Vol 6 (Cassell & Col., c1885/6) pp380/1; Ron Woollacott, 'Southwark's Burying Places, Past and Present', Magdala Terrace Nunhead Local History publication, 2001.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ316802 (531590,180281)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Southwark (building owned by Marshall's Charity/Diocese of Southwark)
Site management:
Parks; Christchurch Garden Group; Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST)
1671; c.1900, 2000
Listed structures:
LBII: Drinking fountain.
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:
Churchyard, Tier Three

Christ Church Garden

Photo: Colin Wing

Click photo to enlarge.

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