The Gardens were first created in 1977 to celebrate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and 35 years on, the new Jubilee Gardens have opened in the landmark year 2012 after a £5m transformation.
At the same time, responsibility for the gardens, part of the Southbank Centre site, will be transferred on a long lease to the Jubilee Gardens Trust, a registered charity comprising representatives of neighbouring landowners, local businesses, and community organisations.
The re-landscaping of Jubilee Gardens transforms what was a flat and featureless patch of grass into a lush, green landscape of the highest quality.
The new green space has many appealing new features. 10,700m2 of high quality turf has been laid, and flowerbeds of the highest quality have been planted with Geraniums. Lilies will be planted in summer and Asters in October. There are elegant granite edges, formed from 1,169 granite pieces, providing extensive seating alongside a generous new granite path network. 27 lighting columns have been installed, together with a brand new playground including a ‘timber tangle’, ‘jungle arena’, ‘spider web’ and a flock of wooden sheep.
In addition, the International Brigades Memorial, a tribute to British volunteers serving with republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, has been restored and re-located in a more accessible position, with adjacent seating areas.
69 mature new trees have been planted including English and Pin Oaks, Common Beeches, Red Beeches, Sweetgums, Bald Cypresses and Small Leaved Limes. Particularly elegant examples of the Common Beech may earn the name ‘Queen Beech’, which befits the Royal associations of the Gardens.
The transformation of Jubilee Gardens has been made possible by the partnership of neighbouring landowners, local business and community organisations, who now make up the Jubilee Gardens Trust. The construction contract was let by Lambeth Council and overseen by the Jubilee Gardens Project Board comprising Lambeth Council, Southbank Centre, the Jubilee Gardens Trust and Transport for London. The contract was jointly managed by South Bank Employers’ Group and the Council.
The £5m project was funded with contributions from Shell and the EDF Energy London Eye, secured under planning agreements with Lambeth Council, as well as £1.5m from the Mayor of London (via Transport for London) and contributions from several charitable trusts.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said:
“The reinvigoration of this stretch of grassland into a welcoming oasis for visitors and Londoners is simply superb. It not only makes this part of the capital an even more pleasant place to work and live but also more attractive to business looking to locate in the capital.”
Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council said:
“Jubilee Gardens forms part of a truly iconic setting on the South Bank that is famous the world over. With the eyes of the world on London in 2012 it’s fantastic that the place has been transformed from what was previously a fairly uninspiring park, into a tremendous new public space that will be visited by millions.
This is a really exciting moment for Lambeth and for London. Lambeth Council is delighted that the management of the Gardens is being handed over to the Jubilee Gardens Trust. This means local people and businesses will have a direct hands-on role in shaping the area’s future. This is what our Cooperative Council plans are all about.”
Alan Bishop, Chief Executive of Southbank Centre said:
“I am delighted and proud of our role in creating these wonderful new Gardens at Southbank Centre, which have been made possible through working in partnership with our neighbouring landowners, the local community, Lambeth Council, Transport for London and the Government. I am particularly pleased that these world-class gardens have been so beautifully transformed by West 8’s designs and delivered by Frosts Landscape Construction Ltd in time for the Diamond Jubilee Weekend.”
Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall said:
“I am so delighted that Jubilee Gardens are open in time for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee weekend. These gardens are loved by the local residents, the wider local community and now will be able to be enjoyed by millions from all over the world. My thanks to everyone who has made this happen.”
Ted Inman, Chair of the Jubilee Gardens Trust said:
“The Jubilee Gardens Trustees are delighted with the exceptional quality of the design and construction of the new Gardens. We are determined to manage and maintain them in the best possible way for the benefit of the millions who will use and enjoy them.”