Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
The park was opened in 1980 and was formed as the result of lobbying from the local community for an open space rather than new GLC housing which was proposed. On the site where the park now stands were three blocks of four storey tenement blocks erected in 1886. Called Salisbury Buildings, the investigator for the Charles Booth Poverty Maps reported they were lived in by an ever changing population of labourers and carmen, and the buildings were said to contain two brothels. Though not as bad as similar blocks nearby, the blocks were described as dingy and dirty.
The area was badly bombed during the second world war and as part of the reconstruction of the area, Salisbury Buildings were emptied by the council and the last block demolished at the end of the 1970s. Southwark Council cleared and fenced the site and agreed to its use as a local garden. They top soiled the area and handed it over to the community who created the garden. The park was refurbished in 2007 by Southwark Council but the local community still hold regular planting days and events and contribute to its management.
Victory Community Park is a small L-shaped park a little way away from the Bricklayers Arms in Old Kent Road. The park is named after the adjoining Victory Place which is itself named after Britain’s victory in the Napoleonic Wars. It has a children’s play area, a sunken sports court for teenagers, a striking high level walkway, and one of the beds has been planted with shrubs from all over the world and named the World Plant Border.