Inventory Site Record

The Gardens Square

The Gardens Square (Southwark)

Brief Description

The Gardens is a relatively rare example in this part of London of a C19th residential garden square. The green enclosure remains in private ownership, for the use of the residents of surrounding houses. At one time there were tennis courts and croquet lawn but today the garden is largely grass with a number of mature trees, and perimeter shrubs and hedging.

Practical Information
Site location:
The Gardens, Peckham Rye
Type of site:
Garden Square
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Peckham Rye then bus. Bus: 12, 312, 63

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

This area of Peckham was mainly agricultural until the early C18th; residential development took place from the early C19th as road networks to London improved, and accelerated particularly after Peckham Rye Station opened in 1867, attracting the new middle classes. The tall brick terraces that comprise The Gardens were built as select housing around a central garden enclosure between 1870-80, the east and south sides completed by 1875, followed by the west side, and finally the north side by 1880. Prior to this the land had been used for market gardens. The central garden was enclosed in 1875-1880 at which time it was owned by Edwin Newman. It was reserved for the recreational use of those living in the houses of the west, south and east sides of the square and was covenanted to be 'retained in perpetuity as a pleasure ground for the use of the residents entitled to its use'. Those in Nos. 1-17 on the north side of the square had no rights of use as the sites for these houses were not part of the original estate. In 1928 the garden was described as surrounded by a thick privet hedge and had tennis courts and a croquet lawn. The residents of the surrounding houses contributed a guinea for the right to make use of the garden, tenants of houses divided into flats paying half this sum. Its maintenance was undertaken by a Committee of the residents.

Today there are no tennis courts, and the garden is largely lawn with mature trees and shrubbery / hedge around the perimeter to railings. For many years the estate was owned by the Tilt Estate Company, a family run business, which maintained the garden for the use of its tenants. In 2007 Grainger plc acquired the entire shareholding in the Tilt Estate Company and continues to maintain the garden.

Sources consulted:

Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; The Gardens Conservation Area Appraisal, LB Southwark (n.d. 2008/9?)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ343752 (534310,175214)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Grainger plc
Site management:
Grainger plc
Listed structures:
LBII: surrounding terraces of The Gardens
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:
Conservation Area name:
The Gardens
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

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