Inventory Site Record

Nursery Row Park

Nursery Row Park (Southwark)

Brief Description

The southern portion of today's Nursery Row Park was laid out sometime between 1885-97, to provide open space for the growing local population. Known as East Street Recreation Ground, the park lay between Blendon Row and Orb Street. The MPGA assisted with funding for the layout and planting, which included perimeter plane trees that still survive today. In 1980 the park was extended to the north following slum clearance that saw demolition of streets including Nursery Row, after which the park was renamed,

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
East Street Recreation Ground
Site location:
Brandon Street/Stead Street/Orb Street, Walworth
SE17 1AL
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Events include Apple Day, Plaza Latina Festival (see Friends website)
Public transport:
Rail: Peckham Rye

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2017
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.;

Full Site Description

This area was used for market gardening in the C18th, with Locks Field shown on the current site of Nursery Row Park on John Rocque's map of 1746. By the 1820s house building was encroaching on the market gardens and by 1875 the area was entirely built up. East Street Recreation Ground was created to provide recreational space for the local population at the instigation of local MP for Walworth, Borough of Newington Division, Major Isaacs, according to the commemorative drinking fountain located in the park until the 1980s. However other archival material dates the park to 1897, when the site was acquired for £5,375, with £375 given by the then MP for Walworth James Bailey and the remainder from the local council and the Vestry of St Mary Newington. The MPGA also provided £1000 for its layout and planting, which included perimeter London plane trees that still survive today. A film by Ken Ashton made in 1973, 'We Was All One', documents the park, then nicknamed Old Swing Park.

In 1980 the park was extended following slum clearance in the 1960s and 1970s when Blendon Row, Eltham Street and Nursery Row were demolished. Between 1974-77, Brian L Sugden set up an adventure playground for local children on the site of the northern two blocks of Blendon Row tenements, later part of the extended park. Nursery Row, demolished 1978, after which the park was renamed, used to run between Brandon Street and Orb Street.

In the mid-1990s a gardening club was established by local Councillor Ro Shannon, and projects included a wildlife hedge, rose planting and a Community Orchard. The park's landscaping was renovated in 2006/7 when a meadow and central hill were created, the latter masking contaminated rubble. The Friends of Nursery Row Park was established in 2007 to save the park from encroachment by housing development and continue to improve the park, for example installing a new play area in 2010. The Wildflower Meadow has flourished in the park for many years, attracting a wide range of insects and invertebrates. Since 2012 numerous bulbs have been planted in the park, including over 2,000 daffodils, tulips, alliums and crocuses, and the monthly Gardening Days encourage anyone interested to participate in maintaining different areas of the park.

Sources consulted:

history pages on Friends of Nursery Row Park

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Southwark
Site management:
Parks; Friends of Nursery Row 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:
Other LA designation:
Other Open Space

Nursery Row Park

Nursery Row Park, June 2017. Photograph Sally Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

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