This is a park in two halves that sits next to the railway in Vauxhall, and is the result of a school closing in 1960.
It was, unsurprisingly, once all fields, but the area was starting to develop in the mid 19th century, and the arrival of the main railway line helped to spur housing along the roads that already existed. In the 1880s, there was still empty land behind the houses, but just 20 years later, the whole area was fully filled in, with a large school occupying the eastern half of the modern park.
The school, St Saviours Salamanca School was open from around 1870 to 1959/60, after which it was demolished and the pupils moved to nearby St Peter’s school in Vauxhall. The cleared land was set aside as a public park, originally as a fairly plain open space in 1968.
The park is named after the “Pedlar of Lambeth”, a possibly legendary William Le Pedlar who is said to have bequeathed land to St Mary’s church in Lambeth in around 1400. A stained glass window used to be in the church, but was damaged during WWII, and is now part of the Garden Museum.
In 2006 during improvements, the park was expanded to include the small park on the other side of the road, increasing the size of the combined space by about 40 percent. At the time, the park extension was also laid out as a fairly plain park, but since then they’ve encouraged a more wildlife-friendly layout to build up.
The main park is about three-quarters lawn surrounded by trees on all sides, and in one corner is a children’s playground and a small sunken seating area surrounding some rather neglected planting and trellis.
There’s a plan to revamp the park again. with a £227,000 facelift so that the park can support the increased population in the area.
The council papers at the time said that “A large number of local residents live in social housing ﴾with a fair proportion in high‐rise blocks﴿ and many with no gardens. And therefore the refurbishment of Pedlars Park will be very welcome.”
New seating will be fitted and repairs will be made to the pergolas, while the garden in the centre of the park will be replanted.