Margaret McMillan Park in Deptford

London Gardens Online tells me: ‘…The park is named after Margaret McMillan who with her sister Rachel McMillan were pioneers of nursery education. Margaret McMillan Park opened in 1954 and was originally laid out between Watson’s Street and Glenville Grove with a series of lawns along Douglas Way. In the late 1980s part of the park was eroded by housing development and in 1998 improvements were carried out to the park, including a bridge by sculptor John Maine. In 2009 the park was redesigned and re-landscaped as part of Route 1 of the North Lewisham Links project, the works completed in 2010…’.

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.

It seems to me this is a very good opportunity to develop a ‘Friends of’ group – with a little bit of time the convolvulus could be controlled and the rubbish removed. Even the blank spaces could be planted with cuttings from existing plants.

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

The centre of Margaret McMillan Park

Housing in Glenville Grove overlooks the park and apparently was built over part of the park in the 1980s – what a lovely view the residents have!

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

A sculptural feature in the form of a stone bridge, with planting executed with members of the local community, was created by sculptor John Maine RA, at that time 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

Improvements to Margaret McMillan Park were completed in 2010 and included the removal of larger shrubs, straightening the main footpath and new lighting to improve visibility and safety. There are new paths and seating and the children’s play area has been 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 is also called ‘Kender to the Creek’ and consists of 3km of open spaces from New Cross Gate to Deptford High Street, drawing in Fordham Park, Margaret McMillan Park and Douglas Way.

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!

Further information & sources
Lewisham Council

6 thoughts on “Margaret McMillan Park in Deptford

  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. 🙂 🙂

    1. 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.

I'd love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.