Lewisham Council’s site tells me that ‘…Hatcham Gardens is part of the North Lewisham Links project. The design was drawn up after consultation with local people including children at the local Kender Primary School, which borders Hatcham Gardens. Access [to] the gardens via Kender Street and Pomeroy Street…’
The Park reopened in 2010 after a redesign by London firm East and their website tells me ‘…the remodeling of the park includes planting of 40 Albizia trees replacing existing patches of tarmac and fencing; two large sandpits; new custom-made furniture and play equipment in galvanized steel, including swings, climbing equipment and roundabouts; a water fountain; an area for playing Boules; and a meadow area…’.
History of the area
This is an interesting area for a rather surprising reason. George England’s Hatcham Iron Works in Pomeroy Street was the most important factory of railway locomotives in London from the 1840s to 1869. He built himself a house, Hatcham Lodge at 56 Kender Street, in 1858 in the grounds of his railway engineering works. Alongside his home George England built a terrace of houses, Georgina Terrace, for his employees. Some of the Hatcham Iron Works engines are still working today on the Festiniog Railway in Wales! and George England’s legacy continues in today’s Maybrey Reliance. Ownership of the business changed in the last part of the 19C and part of the site was sold to John Crossley Eno for his Fruit Salt Works.
Sadly, it will be some time before the Gardens return to the state described by Lewisham Council. New housing is being built on the site of what must have been the original Hatcham Iron Works, and latterly the Packham Glass Works. Have some of the Gardens been sacrificed?
Hatcham Gardens today
Opposite the school on Kender Street there is a gravelled playing area.
And there is a small grassy area with some rather sad wooden sculptures and two messy fountains under a large walnut tree on the narrow walkway between Kender Street and Pomeroy Street.
On Pomeroy Street there is another small play area with a sand pit, and a fenced square for dog walking.
Remaining Albizia Trees
Opposite the Gardens, across the walkway between Kender and Pomeroy Streets, is this open space between houses and blocks of flats – could this offer more scope for gardens?
We have to wait to see what happens to Hatcham Gardens, which Peabody says will be restored from 2020 onwards, and hope it will not be reduced in size.