Many of London’s large, beautifully landscaped civic parks sprang from the countryside estates that once existed on the fringes of the city. Others were purposely carved out of slum clearances; designated spaces to give everyone the chance to enjoy fresh air and space.
Today, almost eighteen per cent of London is green, open land, with around 3,000 parks across the whole city.
Many will agree Southwark’s Parks are its crowning glory, and this new accolade is well deserved.
But others will dispute whether parks are being kept for their original purpose.
Southwark Park, like others created in the Victoria era, was designed as a tonic to the overcrowded homes and terrible pollution. Although parks have always played host to events, councils like Southwark are increasingly licensing large festivals and events in parks throughout the year.
It’s a much-needed revenue stream in cash-strapped times, but controversial with many who live nearby and see their local park as the garden they don’t have at home.
New research shows seeing trees, plants, and animals has significant health benefits, mental and physical, due to reducing stress. There is a balance between funding their upkeep, and making sure these areas are tranquil and open to all throughout the year – not just those who can pay.
The Mayor of London is aiming to make London an even greener space by planting more trees, wildflowers, and encouraging more people to use and protect its greenery. In the meantime, many congratulations to the wardens and rangers for their excellent work caring for the jewels in Southwark’s crown.