Margaret McMillan Park in Deptford

Margaret McMillan Park in Deptford

The history of the park

Margaret and Rachel McMillan were tireless campaigners for and pioneers in nursery and early years education for children, particularly those who lived in poor areas. They worked in Deptford and lived in Hither Green so it is appropriate the park should remember their work in this area.

The park was originally only the area between Watson’s Street and Glenville Grove and opened in 1954 in an area which was heavily built up. In 2009 the park was redesigned and relandscaped as part of Route 1 in the North Lewisham Links Project.

Douglas Way

Douglas Way is the straight ‘spine’ which supports the park – the small section near the New Cross Health Centre, and then the larger part between Glenville Grove and Watson’s Street. 

Douglas Wal in Margaret McMillan Park
The start of the pedestrianised Douglas Way near the New Cross Health Centre
Douglas Way
Douglas Way

The first section, between Douglas Way and the housing around Turnpike Close, is lovely – green and pleasant, crossed by paths, with comfortable benches, and sensibly planted. The lavender was in full bloom when I visited, accommodating lots of busy bees; senecio was flowering, euphorbia just going over, and I recognised hebe. There are Cherry trees and a large lime tree.

Seating in Margaret McMillan Park
The first section of the park, between Douglas Way and Turnpike Close
Lime Tree in Margaret McMillan Park
Lime Tree
Bees in the Lime Tree
Bees in the lime tree
Cherry Trees in Margaret McMillan Park
Cherry trees

In the centre of Margaret McMillan Park

The houses in Glenville Grove, built in part of the park in the 1980s, give the residents a lovely view!

Glenville Grove housing besides the park
Glenville Grove overlooks the park
Entrance from Glenville Grove
Entrance from Glenville Grove
Children's play area
Children’s play area near the Glenville Grove entrance to the park
The children’s play area near the Glenville Grove entrance to the park

John Maine stone bridge

John Maine RA created the stone bridge in the park when he was Artist in Residence with the design team for Lewisham Town Centre.

Bridge by John Maine in Margaret McMillan Park
The bridge by John Maine in Margaret McMillan Park
John Maine's bridge in Margaret McMillan Park
Neglect around the above bridge

Redesign of the park

In 2010 a complete renovation of Margaret McMillan Park was completed in 2010. Larger shrubs were removed, the main footpath was straightened, and new lighting installed to improve visibility and safety. New paths and seating made the area a place to linger, rather than just pass through, and the children’s play area was upgraded. Wooden sculptures and posts add interest in the park. The park’s redesign has won awards including a Civic Trust Award in 2010 for Community Recognition and an award for the Best New Urban Space at the London Planning Awards in 2012.

Wooden posts in Margaret McMillan Park
Wooden posts in Margaret McMillan Park
Looking across Margaret McMillan Park towards Glenville Grove
Looking across the park towards Glenville Grove
In Margaret McMillan Park
In the centre of Margaret McMillan Park

The park is part of Route 1, a network of walking and cycling routes in Lewisham and Deptford.  Route 1 or ‘Kender to the Creek’ is 3km of open spaces linking New Cross Gate to Deptford High Street. The route goes through Fordham Park, Douglas Way and Margaret McMillan Park.

Access to Margaret McMillan Park from Watson's Street
The entrance to the park from Watson’s Street
The continuation of Douglas Way towards Deptford High Street through the market

Margaret McMillan Park is an interesting and well-used park and another surprise in Lewisham. It is friendly and open and particularly attractive in the summer months.

Further information & sources
Lewisham Council


  1. So sorry, Candy! I must have got side-tracked the other day, and it’s only when I’ve come to ’round up’ the walks that I realised I hadn’t paid you a visit. Amazing how much green space you can find when you look, and some very nice planting too. 🙂 🙂

    • No need to apologise! Yes, I am constantly surprised by the parks I am visiting in South East London, and also struck by how many local groups are involving themselves in their surrounding green areas.

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