My third illustration for my Secret London Garden Series – this is Red Cross Garden in Southwark, London.
Red Cross Garden is located right behind the shard and is a small community garden looked after by the Bankside Open Trust – @bostse1. It has a remarkable history, which is what made me choose this lovely spot for my next #illusration. It was originally the site of a paper mill in the late 18th century and almost a hundred years later Octavia Hill, one of the three founders of the National Trust, took it under her wing.
Octavia Hill was passionate about creating quality clean housing for the working poor. This was her flagship project for her ongoing efforts that later became known as the Octavia method. What set her housing approach apart from other similar initiatives was her belief that by keeping regular personal contact with the tenants and encouraging them to better themselves, their prospects and general life experience could be improved.
She was keen to create green spaces in the city and described the garden as an open-air living room. As part of the project, she commissioned Elijah Hoole to design 6 cottages in 1887, which strongly represent the arts and crafts movement with their features and decorative fronts. Octavia had a love for creepers which is why my two chosen flowers are jasmin and wisteria – the two most common Victorian creepers. Although her method was difficult to scale, she has a lasting legacy. The garden was restored to its original Victorian layout about 15 years ago.