Hatcham Gardens in New Cross

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…’.


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 and 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.

GeorginaTerrace, built for the employees of the Iron Works

Sadly, it will be some time before the Gardens return to the state described by Lewisham Council because 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?

The building site at Hatcham Gardens

Hatcham Gardens from Kender Street

Hatcham Gardens from Kender Street

A small grassy area with some rather sad wooden sculptures and two messy fountains remains under a large walnut tree on the narrow walkway between Kender Street and Pomeroy Street.

Playground?

Play area and water fountain

Young walnuts

The children’s sandpit on the left, and the dog-walking area on the right

 

The dog walking area and some of the albizia trees.

The Albizia trees

The Albizia trees

Heather Burrell metalwork? outside the Kender Primary School

And opposite the Gardens, across the walkway between Kender and Pomeroy Streets, is this open space – more scope for gardens?

We have to wait to see what happens with this garden, which Peabody says will be restored from 2020 onwards, and hope it will not be reduced in size.

Further information and sources
The History of the Hatcham Iron Works – very comprehensive E-book with photographs
And lots of information here on the Hatcham Iron Works
The Hatcham Iron Works

 

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