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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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