Today the Park and the Peckham Rye Common provide 113 acres of open space for the public to enjoy.
In 1995 the Friends of Peckham Rye Park was formed. They held their inaugural meeting on the 10th July at Waverley Lower School. The Park was falling into disrepair and neglect. Vandalism (the blight of today's society) had caused a lot of destruction and other problems, such as flooding of the streams, was taking its toll. It was felt that an action group was needed to stop the Park decaying further. It is one of the most beautiful parks in South London.
A campaign was launched to bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Park to its former glory. This was successful and the works were started in 2004 and completed in 2005.
The Friends are an important group who care about the Park and the Common. All issues from vandalism to football to the building of the new café for the Park are discussed by the Friends. Ideas and potential problems can then be brought to the attention of the relevant Councillors from Southwark and appropriate action taken.
The restoration of the Park
The greatest achievement of the Friends to date is the restoration of the Park to its former Victorian splendour. FOPRP were responsible for launching the campaign to bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this restoration, which took many years of hard work but with the help of Southwark Council, the money was granted and the campaign was successful.
The restoration works started in 2004 and were completed in 2005. The works were commissioned and supervised by Chris Blandford Associates and carried out by Waterers Landscape Associates.
The works included:Drainage of the lake - which involved the removal of all the accumulated silt, rubbish and debris that had collected over the years and made the lake so polluted and dirty. The terrapins and any fish were collected and rehomed.Clearing the streams and other ponds in the parkRemoving all the dead trees and shrubs and replacing with new. This includes the re-creation of the former Elm avenue (see history page)The total restoration of the Sexby Gardens - one of the largest projects.Re-building of the bowls pavilion.Resurfacing of all the paths.Repair and renewal of all the railings both around and in the ParkNew pillars to the main entranceInstallation of a new drainage system to prevent floodingVarious other projects such as repair or rebuilding of bridges, pergolas, water features, rockeries etc.
The restored Park is a joy to the community and a source of civic pride.
One of the terms of the grant from the HLF was that the London Borough of Southwark commit to a 10 year programme of maintenance. This should mean that the works and infrastructure will be maintained to the current standard and it is one of the things that FOPRP members can keep their eye on.