Walking in Edith Nesbit Gardens off Leyland Road is a delight because this is another little park which hides away! This park is a friendly neighbourhood green space which sits in the middle of modern and Victorian housing in Lee Green. This green space is particularly important because it is the only public park in the area. Local residents and their children enjoy the park and the playground. And then there are the inquisitive squirrels! Similar to all the green spaces where I have walked in Lewisham the Edith Nesbit Gardens have history, although it is a blurred history at this point.
Edith Nesbit (1828-1954) lived down the road from where I live, and in various other addresses around Lewisham, on her own or with her husband and family. At one time they occupied 8 Dorville Road, just round the corner from the little park which carried her name. Later they moved to ‘The Gables’ in Baring Road, alongside what has become the Grove Park Nature Reserve, and finally she moved to Well Hall in Eltham. She was of course the well-known children’s author, a poet, and a Co-Founder of the Fabian Society together with her first husband.
History of the area
In OS Maps of 1985 and even 1935 Tudor House stands on Eltham Road, and its grounds back on to the houses on Osberton Road. Lee Green Farm stood on the site of today’s Leegate Centre but was demolished in the 1840s and rebuilt as Tudor House. (Full information about the farm can be found here.) So it looks as though the park stands on what was farm land. However, today’s park covers the site of the houses on Osberton Road. I don’t know when these houses were demolished, or why, and I can’t currently find out when the park was officially opened to the public.
Edith Nesbit Park today
The park today is a pleasant green area. The park is grasses and uneven, which is curious, and it has some large trees including mature London plane trees and sycamores.
Children’s play area
The compact children’s play area is attractive and as in all the parks in which I have walked it entertains squealing children. The brightly coloured equipment stands out in the low winter light and will be shaded by the surrounding trees in the summer. I am sure Edith Nesbit would approve.
There is a busy and healthy-looking population of squirrels in the park. Local people obviously feed them because as soon as I stood still they scampered up. I know many people think they are just a nuisance but I like them. These little animal had particularly bushy tails – lovely!
Walking in Edith Nesbit Gardens in Lee is a delight once you discover the park. Even though I have lived in South East London for many years the parks have been a real discovery in a time of severe restrictions and uncertainty. I hope we will continue to treasure them in the years ahead as life becomes freer.
- The Edith Nesbit Society: http://www.edithnesbit.co.uk/society-publications.php