Inventory Site Record

Walworth Garden (Southwark)

Brief Description

Now named Walworth Garden, this community garden was previously known as Walworth City Farm or Walworth Garden Farm. It was established by local residents in 1987 on a plot of derelict land and, a registered charity, it now has a learning centre, wildlife pond, orchard, horticultural training centre, bee hives and food-growing as well as a wide variety of plants. Its Garden Services Division employs local people to create and maintain gardens for clients including Southwark Cathedral.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Walworth City Farm; Walworth Garden Farm
Site location:
206 Manor Place
SE17 3BN
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Community Garden
Open to public?
Opening times:
daily; Mon-Fri 8am - 5pm; Sat/Sun: 10am - 4pm (may be subject to seasonal variation, check website)
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 16 times, most recently in 2023.
Special conditions:
Garden Centre
Various events, workshops; has participated in OGSW
Public transport:
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.walworthgarden.org.uk

Full Site Description

The site of Walworth Garden was once at the entrance of the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, which was established by Edward Cross in 1831 on the site where Pasley Park (q.v.) is now situated. After the closure in 1872 of Surrey Music Hall and Pleasure Gardens, which took over the site here after the zoo's closure in 1856, the area was largely built over for housing and the OS of 1896 shows housing on the site where Walworth Garden is today.

However, by the 1970s the area was becoming rundown and houses unoccupied; by 1980 buildings including a parade of shops on Manor Place were demolished and the site left empty. Soon after, a group of local residents including 3 new ward councillors began to work together to transform the site as a community facility, initially planning an urban farm here. The site was originally nicknamed 'Concrete Relief'. An early community project here was the Asian Women's Vegetable Project, aimed to assist recent immigrants from Vietnam and other places to grow their own vegetables. Work to clear the site of building as well as industrial rubble began in 1987.

In 1988 the garden was officially opened by Harriet Harman. In the early days a gardener and an education outreach worker were employed, the latter publicising gardening to local schools and the community. Young women were among those employed to help with manual work, which was quite unusual at that time. A fence was erected, drains were laid and the building that is now the Horticultural Training Centre was built. The garden has evolved over the years, and, now renamed Walworth Garden, it is an important community facility, winning the Community Green Flag Award on numerous occasions since 2000, as well as an Outstanding Certificate in the RHS London in Bloom 'It's your Neighbourhood' award scheme. In addition to numerous community activities and workshops, a range of plants and garden produce are for sale. An accredited City & Guilds training centre, Walworth Garden has been running level 2 courses in Work Based Horticulture for over 19 years, with three levels of training offered, an award, a certificate and a diploma. The courses are free to unemployed people aged 16 - 25 in Southwark or 16 - 29 in Lambeth.

Sources consulted:

'The History of Walworth Garden' on www.walworthgarden.org.uk

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ318781 (531859,178174)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Walworth Garden
Site management:
Walworth Garden
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:
Yes - Air Quality Management Area
Other LA designation:
Borough Open Land; Urban Density Zone

Walworth Garden

Walworth Garden, June 2017. Photograph Sally Williams

Walworth Garden, June 2017. Photograph Sally Williams
Walworth Garden, June 2017. Photograph Sally Williams
Walworth Garden, then known as Walworth City Farm, February 2011. Photograph Sally Williams
Walworth Garden, then known as Walworth City Farm, February 2011. Photograph Sally Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.