Inventory Site Record

Paragon Gardens

Paragon Gardens (Southwark)

Brief Description

This was originally the communal garden of The Paragon, a late C18th crescent. When the houses were demolished and replaced by a Board School the garden survived and was purchased by the Vestry of St George the Martyr. It was laid out as public garden by the MPGA and once had a bandstand. Part of the site was later lost as a result of road schemes when the Bricklayers Arms Flyover was built in 1970 although a strip of land was added to the west as compensation and planted with shrubs. Improvements have been carried out since 2009 as part of wider improvements to the Salisbury Row neighbourhood.

Practical Information
Site location:
New Kent Road/Searles Road, Walworth
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Elephant & Castle (Northern, Bakerloo) then bus. Bus: 1, 53, 63, 172, 188.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Originally this was the communal garden of The Paragon, a crescent built by Michael Searles in 1789-90. Searles was surveyor to the Rolls Estate and was also responsible for a number of fine building projects predominantly in south London. Only a few of his schemes survive, one such being The Paragon in Blackheath (q.v.). His house and office at 155 Old Kent Road, built in 1800, still stands. In the late C19th the crescent of houses was demolished and replaced by a Board School and terraced housing, but the former garden, an acre in size, was sold to the Vestry of St George the Martyr by its then owner, Lord Llangattock. He was a member of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and personally contributed £1,000 to the total cost of £3,400, with the LCC providing £1,700. It was laid out by the MPGA for £350 and was opened to the public by Lady Llangattock on 28 June 1899 (1889). The garden originally had a central bandstand and was scheduled under the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931. Since then much of the planting and features have been lost. Since 2009, Southwark Council, in partnership with Transport for London, Walworth Community Council and local residents has implemented several improvement schemes in the Salisbury Row area including improvements to Paragon Gardens, which were completed in 2010. The regeneration of the area between New Kent Road and Old Kent Road included planting of over 70 trees, 3,600 plants and 7,500 bulbs, creation of a new 'civic' zone for residents, some one-way working streets and a 20 mph speed limit throughout the whole scheme area, won a National Transport Award in 2011.

Sources consulted:

Joyce Bellamy notes. Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; Report of Royal Commission on London Squares 1928; 'The London County Council and what it does for London: London Parks and Open Spaces' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1924)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Southwark
Site management:
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:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Gardens, Tier Three; London Squares Preservation Act. Strategic Views Backdrop Consultation Zone

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