The vision of a Garden of Remembrance goes back to the dawn of this millennium when local residents successfully opposed plans to develop the site of the old Crossbones Graveyard.
This aspiration has been recognised by Southwark Council in its Supplementary Planning Guidance. An 'invisible' wild garden already flourishes on Crossbones.
The next phase of our work is to protect and build on what has so far been achieved. If you would like to get more involved with the campaign for a Garden of Remembrance, please take a little time to get to know where we've come from and where to hope to go. See below and main 'History' page.
On behalf of Transport for London (TfL), Drivers Jonas Deloitte are currently marketing the entire site as 'Landmark Court' for potential development from 2012. The planning guidelines make clear the particular constraints relating to the Crossbones Graveyard area, which is marked on the site plans as public open land. These guidelines are not binding on developers, but Friends of Crossbones will seek to ensure that any prospective developer is aware that any attempt to build on the burial ground would entail enormous logistical problems, prohibitive costs and a public relations disaster. By contrast, an appropriate development on the northern part of the site, linked with the establishment of a public garden of remembrance on the graveyard would win considerable local support and could be a PR triumph.
TfL have taken some account of our proposals in their planning-brief for the entire site, which recognises the constraints of developing the graveyard area. In April 2011 we wrote to ask The Mayor, in his capacity as Chair of Transport for London, to gift the Crossbones Graveyard to the people of Southwark – thereby separating the burial ground from the commercially viable 'Landmark Court' area.
We recognise that a prospective developer may wish to cede the graveyard area to the public as part of a more comprehensive agreement with Southwark Council. If this is the case, then TfL or the developer could make a clear and unequivocal statement of intent: that any future 'Landmark Court' development will ensure the provision of a public park and garden of remembrance on the distinct Cross Bones Graveyard area.
The establishment of this garden will unite Londoners in a shared project: to protect our heritage for future generations, creating a green public space in an area currently undergoing the disruption of massive construction projects. Cross Bones will quickly become a unique Heritage Site, a truly inclusive memorial to 'the outcast dead' and to the ordinary working poor of London. The Cross Bones land could be held by the Council or by a specifically constituted trust.
The establishment of the garden would unite Londoners in a shared project: to protect our heritage for future generations, creating a green public space in an area currently undergoing the disruption of massive construction projects. Cross Bones would quickly become a unique Heritage Site, a truly inclusive memorial to 'the outcast dead' and to the ordinary working poor of London. The Cross Bones land could be held by the Council or by a specifically constituted trust.
The importance of protecting the graveyard was made explicit in a 2008 question from Valerie Shawcross AM to London Mayor Boris Johnson. In reply to her follow-up question in 2011, The Mayor stated: 'I am aware of this issue and recognise the cultural and historic importance of the Crossbones burial ground. The Deputy Mayor for Transport is discussing this issue with Transport for London (TfL)'
It is vital that any prospective developer is fully informed as to the legal, moral and commercial constraints on developing the graveyard. Crossbones is estimated by the Museum of London to contain up to 15,000 burials, more than half of them children. We ask that any future developments should protect the graveyard area as a public park - the Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance - and maintain the gates in Redcross Way, which were long ago transformed into a people's shrine.