Gilmore Road Triangle in Lewisham is almost on the market place in the centre of Lewisham and although I have lived here for over forty years I have never seen it before! It is almost certainly a little pocket of farmland dating back to goodness knows when – quite extraordinary.
History of the site
OS Maps from the 19C show this as open farmland in 1867. The Mercer’ Company owned land here and this was probably College Farm. By 1897 the area was rapidly developing as housing but Gilmore Road Triangle was still listed as a nursery, although the site was slightly larger than it is today.
John Russell (1731-94) built an extremely lucrative business in Lewisham, ‘..living many years like a gentleman..’ on his retirement. His son-in-law took over and John Claudius Loudon, writing of the Commercial Gardens in Kent in his Encyclopaedia of 1822, says the principal nursery is that of John Willmott, covering 150 acres, and employing 70 people. The Nursery Catalogue of 1806 was extensive, and even sold to exotic plants to Kew Gardens. The nursery finally closed in 1860 and I believe it was situated in this area, although I can’t pinpoint the exact location. Could Gilmore Road Triangle be a little patch of this nursery? Wisteria Road suggests this because the nursery grew Wisteria and this would place the nursery in field 320.
Gilmore Road Triangle today
Today this little green space hides away behind housing and is just a delight! Even in the winter months!
Gilmore Road Triangle in Lewisham is completely hidden and a total surprise. If you plan to visit Manor Park do walk down the road and visit this green space.