Inventory Site Record

Lorrimore Gardens

Lorrimore Gardens (Southwark)

Brief Description

Lorrimore Square was built in the 1850s, its name deriving from Lorrimore Common, one of two commons in the Manor of Walworth, which was enclosed in 1769. A site south-west of the former commonland was donated by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury to build the church of St Paul, Lorrimore Square, which was consecrated in 1856, the ground around the church let for building. The church and much of the area suffered bomb damage in WWII. The church was rebuilt in 1955-60, a number of the houses restored, and the former green space became part of the large LCC Brandon Estate, designed in 1955 and built and extended into the 1960s.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Lorrimore Square Gardens
Site location:
Lorrimore Square
SE17 3QT
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Church open for London Open House
Public transport:
Tube: Kennington; Elephant and Castle (Northern). Bus: 3, 159, P5

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Lorrimore Square was built on land to the south-west of former commonland known as Lorrimore, Latamore or Lower Moor Common, one of two commons in the Manor of Walworth, which was enclosed in 1769 and use for grazing until 1831. The manor and commonland were then acquired by Edward Cross who established a menagerie here that became known as the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, which along with its pleasure gardens and events such as fireworks and concerts, became a popular attraction. The Zoological Gardens eventually closed in 1856 and for a time Surrey Music Hall flourished here but the land was eventually auctioned in 1872 and was built over by c.1877. Pasley Park (q.v.) is now on part of the former site of the zoological gardens.

A site nearby had been donated by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury to build the church of St Paul, Lorrimore Square in 1854-56 to designs of Henry Jarvis. The ground around the church was let for building in several lots to three builders, John Marsland of Walworth Road, John Lucas Allen of Finsbury Square and John Abbott of Manor Road South, Newington. Stanford's Library Map of 1862 shows the church surrounded by green space. The Victorian church was destroyed by bombing in World War II, and a new church was erected in 1955-60, a geometric design of interlocking triangles. Designed by Woodroffe Buchanan & Coulter, it was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as 'one of the most ambitious post-war churches in Southwark', and an early use of concrete and coloured glass.

The former green space around the church is now within the large Brandon Estate, designed by the LCC in 1955 and built and extended into the 1960s. The housing estate's name recalls the Brandon family, who held land in Walworth Manor from the C18th, and were instrumental in the development of the area. This was the first LCC housing estate to incorporate existing houses, and the south side of Lorrimore Square retains the restored 1850s terrace, with new buildings built on the north and west. Lorrimore Gardens today is a small recreation ground, recently re-landscaped, and with new gates that have the name 'Lorrimore Gardens', cut-out images of flowers and a cat. It is laid out with informal landscaping, largely grass with scattered trees and play equipment, with a few mature trees of the former layout. Adjacent to the church is another railed area of landscaping with grass and a number of trees..

Surrey Gardens Tenants' and Residents' Association (Surrey Gardens TRA) made a successful application in c.2000 to the Big Lottery Fund to improve the gardens. Carved animal sculptures were installed in the park in 2002, recalling the former history of the site. Animal sculptures are also found in the nearby Pasley Park. In 2010 a new artwork undertaken by children at John Ruskin School was launched at the annual TRA picnic in the gardens.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; Southwark Listed Buildings data; Ida Darlington (ed.) 'Survey of London: volume 25: St George's Fields (The Parishes of St George the Martyr Southwark and St Mary Newington), 1955, pp81-90

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Southwark
Site management:
Parks; Surrey Gardens Tenants & Residents Association
1850s; 1950s
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:
Conservation Area name:
Sutherland Square (part)
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Page Top