Brockwell Park renewed

The project to restore and refurbish Brockwell Park, one of Herne Hill’s best-loved assets, is nearly complete. 

The Park, opened in 1892, had been showing its age and obvious signs of wear and tear. Brockwell Park Community Partners, the umbrella stakeholder group, came together with Lambeth and the Heritage Lottery Fund to produce and implement a new, refreshed vision for the Park. 

The Playground has been completely designed and remodelled; and the former paddling pool replaced by a new Wet Play Area. The ponds have been restored with particular attention paid to their ecology. Other areas of historic interest and heritage merit have been beautifully restored, such as the Walled Garden and the Temple. Throughout, the imprint of past eras on the landscape has been respected and strengthened.

Thanks to everyone who has worked so long and hard on this project, Herne Hill again has a park of which we all can be justly proud.

Park plan with key

The playground has been extended, re-modelled and integrated into the landscape. With soft landscaping, upgraded facilities and toilets, and new timber play equipment it now caters for a greater age range.


These waters have always fed a tributary of the Effra. They were laid out as a boating lake and ornamental ponds for the Victorian park. The ponds have been drained, de-silted, stabilised, and JJ Sexby’s cascades between the ponds has been reinstated with a new water-recycling system. New features include the creation of a footbridge, balustrades and viewing platform for interpretation. Overgrown planting has been thinned with sight lines opened up and marginal planting introduced to provide a rich fresh water habitat.

Wet play

The old paddling pool from the 1970s was past its serviceable life and discharged its chemical laden water into the ponds! A re-modelled landscape with updated design and materials provides sandpits, water pools, pumps, rivulets and water jets giving an imaginative play experience.

Walled Garden

Originally the kitchen garden for the Hall, the garden was designed by JJ Sexby when it became a public park in 1892. Its intrinsic beauty is in the contrast of the geometrical layout reinforced by the topiary and the more informal height, shape and colour of the herbaceous planting. The paths,edgings, pergolas and fountain have all been restored and the topiary rescued. The works have retained and enhanced the ambience of this much loved, quiet and tranquil garden.


The Temple has undergone extensive building repairs including the restoration of the portico, columns and Yorkstone plinth. The toilets have been re-modelled and it has a new and usable internal layout. Its significance in the park landscape is undeniable. Conceived as a ‘folly’ in the Georgian landscaped estate, it was used as a ‘bothy’ in its municipal years and is now a community asset offering hireable space.

Community Greenhouses

The Greenhouses and depot area once served the municipal park. Since 1996 it has been run by a charity as a volunteer-led growing project offering educational services. Identified as a key part of audience development, it now has a new timber framed building providing kitchen, washing and toilet facilities, new paths, boundary railings and watering points. This new infrastructure work has impressed grant-funders, with three paid staff now in position ready to serve the park again.

Norwood Lodge

Built as the Estate Gate-keeper’s Lodge, it continued to serve as Park Keeper’s accommodation, the Lodge has been restored and refurbished for a new use. It is now occupied by the community partners (BPCP) offering useable space to stakeholders and community groups. The restoration of its cottage garden is a volunteering project in conjunction with the Community Greenhouses.


The restored clock-tower

The Friends of Brockwell Park successfully raised £20,000 for the original Victorian’s clock’s restoration to full working order. Find out more ->

Brockwell Hall

The Bristowe bust

The roof is being replaced at last. Recently the Society helped to return the bust of Thomas Lynn Bristowe MP to the Hall. Find out more on our blog [external link]

Reader Comments

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr November 26, 2015

My dad used to be Brockwell Park’s old park keeper about 40 years ago. I am wondering if you have any old pictures please. His name is Michel or Milton Smith.

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