A rather modern take on the public park can be found hidden away in the narrow side streets to the south of London Bridge station in a corner you’re unlikely to stumble upon by accident.
It’s a courtyard space that was created by the construction of the blocks of student flats around it and was originally laid out with a few large trees and planting. However, just under a decade ago it gained its current, rather more practical appearance, which reflects how busy the park gets during summer lunchtimes.
The current design came after the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity ran a landscape design competition to design a space that’s suitable both for the local student residents, but would also be open to the public.
The winning design saw a brick wall that surrounded the pocket park removed, and the area cleared. The single large Fraxinus tree was removed, and replaced with 11 smaller Pyrus Chanticleer trees, which are a popular street tree thanks to its tall narrow shape, while the paving was replaced with a permeable surface to allow rainwater to drain away.
The space is also divided into open-air rooms, with medium height hedges, but the most noticeable features are the two large raised grass circles in the middle, with seating around the edges. The grass was originally real grass, but replaced with artificial a few years back as the real grass didn’t cope with how many people would sit on it.
The garden has however proven to be a victim of its own success, and there are plans to put a timber wall with gate in front of it. It’ll remain open during the daytime, but the intention is to lock it at night to deter rough sleepers and burglaries into the surrounding flats.
Although it’ll still be open, it’ll look a bit more private when the wall is added, but don’t worry, you’re still able to sit in this unexpected patch of greenery behind Guy’s Hospital.
The easiest way to find it is to walk down Talbot Yard, a narrow street off Borough High Street, and pass through the narrow covered tunnel to the pocket park.