My Surrey Square Park

The site is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Foley

Please note that the site is updated and modified irregularly.

This page is about to the Surrey Square Park (Google Map) and how I experienced it from its inception in the late 80's to 2021, when I retired from direct engagement with a local supportive group, the Friends of Surrey Square Park.

Henceforth all additions will be made through the blog section and apart from some occasional rearranging of the existent material, the site will remain mainly as a resource for information and sociological interest to any interested party.

Surrey Square Park is small but it is the only green space of any size existing between Burgess Park and the Old Kent Road (Bermondsey). It is a tiny speckle of green in South East London and the area on which it stands is so densely populated that it looks, to us that live around it, like a green oasis.

There are larger parks at some not enormous distance, namely the Burgess Park, but the Surrey Square one is our garden, the place where you stroll down in sleepers and where you know the neighbours and the dangers.

The park, as it appears in the Southwark Unitary Development Plan (July 2007 and subsequently re-branded "Local Development Framework" and the 2019 Amended Policies), shows that the area is legally classified as "Borough Open Space" and formalised as one of local importance for nature conservation in 2007 (page 31) and 2010.

There are also referrals in the 2012 "Southwark Open Space Strategy" and in parts of Southwark "Local Plan" policies (there have been many revisions of the original 2007 plan and developments are continuously progressing).

To the park users it means that the area cannot be built on (apart by the Council itself and they too would need a lot of legislative fiddling to be able to do this legally) and that within the Park administration the local Ecological Officer has to be consulted when changes are made.

Some images of the place (2010) can be seen from the abutting buildings.

In spite of the small size, the park is much needed because it is surrounded by dense conurbations of mostly large Council estates and throughout its history it has been cared and protected by residents in different forms and through various organisations.

This popular interest may accounts for the Surrey Square Park nearly miraculous preservation in spite of many attempts to reduce or even erase it.

The"Friends of Surrey Square Park" (FoSSP) are the latest incarnation of this interest; it is a dedicated group of local residents that volunteer some practical activities for the park maintenance, keep watch over it (and the Council offices that should care for it) and engages in lobbying and fund-raising to improve it.

The Friends of Surrey Square Park (FoSSP) are also very much part of a movement about green urban renovation that have seen developing (or some may say re-emerging) in recent years and there are many green initiatives large and small encompassing biodiversity, art, food cultivation, etc. in which the Friends are interested collectively or individually.

We are however experiencing times of deep economic and social decline and the future of these movements is at the very least questionable.

To document some of the happenings in our beloved green oasis I have built a short events, activities and history of the park and if anyone have photographs or material related to the subject and would like to share, please send me copies and I will try to include it somewhere with proper acknowledgment.

In the site much interest is devoted to the wildlife that can be encountered in the park and environs.

This, in fact, was the original inspiration for this site. At the moment however only a specific stub page with a "Species List" is focused on the topic (in addition to the remains of a previous site that dealt primarily with a specific section of the park).

The Friends of Surrey Square Park also produced a poster highlighting some of the many delights that can be encountered even in such small green oasis:

The page is interactive