Deptford Park in SE London was once part of John Evelyn’s estate, and a well-known market garden. Today it affords exercise and leisure opportunities to local people, adults and children alike.
The history of Deptford Park
London expanded rapidly in the second half of the 19C. The London County Council realised Deptford would soon be completely built up and so it bought land from the Evelyn Family to create Deptford Park. This area was previously market gardens, known for its onions, celery, and asparagus. Lt Col J J Sexby, Chief Officer of Parks of the LCC, notes that the family sold the land at £2,100/acre, (a total of c.£36,000) which was below market value, and also made a further donation of additional land. Lt Col Sexby laid out the park of 17 acres which opened on 7 June 1897.
‘…perhaps ‘park’ is too grandiloquent. It is really a recreation ground of simple design, consisting principally of a central playground, surrounded by a broad walk for promenade, with well-planted margins…’.Lt Col J J Sexby, The Municipal Parks, Gardens, and Open Spaces of London, London, Eliot Stock, 1905, page 123
The original layout ‘…included several built features that no longer survive. The entrance on Evelyn Street has iron gates and railings and a short avenue of London plane trees, and the structural planting and design is largely intact with a perimeter walk, and perimeter planting of mature London planes…’.London Gardens Online, April 2012
Entrances to the park
There are several entrances to the park these days in addition to the entrance described on LGO from Evelyn Street.
The Community Orchard
Quince, apple, and pear trees are planted in the little community orchard. The gap in the housing is the result of bombing in WWII.
The perimeter walk in Spring and Autumn
Facilities in Deptford Park in SE London
The park has an outdoor gym and a play area for children and both seem to be well used.
Views in Deptford Park in SE London
Looking out from under the trees over the park one sees a rose garden which will be pretty in the summer. And even here there are ring-necked parakeets!
From the Scawen Road side of the park, near the Primary School, you look over the playing fields towards the tower blocks of Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs.
Deptford Park in SE London is a generous, peaceful and beautiful park off a busy main road and well worth visiting!