Following recent consultation, The Friends of Vauxhall Park are delighted to announce that the new sensory garden in the Park will be called The Fawcett Garden, in honour of Henry and Millicent Fawcett who are so important to the very existence of the Park.
Henry Fawcett and his wife Millicent Fawcett, the great Suffragist, lived in a house whose site was near to the current Tennis Courts. It was Henry’s wish that the people of Vauxhall had access to a freely accessible open space for their enjoyment and to benefit their health. Millicent, with Octavia Hill (Social Reformer and co-founder of the National Trust) together with many members of the local Community honoured this wish after Henry’s death, in 1884, which resulted in our wonderful Park (opened in 1890). The Park is still benefitting the residents of Vauxhall today. Millicent is well know for her work to increase women’s suffrage but Henry was also a remarkable figure of his era: Henry was blind but this did not stop him being responsible for many notable reforms including making it easier for the poorest to save and have access to Life Insurance at a time before the Welfare State, introducing the Parcel Post and Postal Orders during his time as Postmaster General and becoming a well respected academic and economist. He is remembered on the Reformers Monument in North London.
The FOVP have been closely involved with the replanting and redesigning of this area: the plants have all been chosen for their ‘sensory’ qualities, the paths have been laid out to make access easy, particularly for wheelchair users and those who are less mobile. There will be plenty of benches so not only can visitors linger to enjoy this special space but our older visitors are catered for. This redesign is to especially honour Henry Fawcett who was blind but always appreciated the benefits of the natural environment. We hope you will approve!