We were absolutely delighted by the news that Millicent Fawcett, the great Suffragist, is to be honoured with a statue in Parliament Square, making her the first woman to be represented there. Dame Millicent Fawcett GBE (11 June 1847 – 5 August 1929) was the founder of the National Union of Womens Suffragist Societies. She was an English feminist, intellectual, political and union leader and writer but is primarily known for her work as a campaigner for women to have the vote. She founded Newham College, Cambridge to allow women to attend Cambridge University (see this link for further information about her). The Sculptor Gillian Wearing has been selected to fulfill the commission.
Millicent and her husband, the Postmaster General Henry Fawcett lived in a house on The Lawn but moved away after Henry’s premature death. The living conditions Vauxhall at that time were extremely hard and is was Henry’s wish that the people of Vauxhall could have access to open space for recreational purposes. We think that Millicent heard of the plan to build over the open space at the back of the houses on The Lawn. Together with Octavia Hill and the Kyrle Society, Millicent Fawcett ensured that her husband wish was fulfilled. For further details about the history of the Park, please visit our History page.
In 2013 the Friends of Vauxhall Park and the South London Fawcett Group invited Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey to unveil a plaque commemorating the Park’s connection to the Fawcetts. We’re pleased that the nation is catching up with us! Our plaque is situated on the corner of the central grassed area near to Parco Cafe and the tennis courts. This is the site of the Fawcett’s house and the Doulton statue of Henry Fawcett which was demolished by Lambeth Council in the 1950s. A mulberry tree is planted next to the plaque to remember the mulberry trees that grew in the Fawcett’s garden
Once again, the lavender field echoed to the delighted shrieks of children taking part in the Friends of Vauxhall Park’s Easter Egg Hunt. Louise Norwood and her team at the Oval Montessori Nursery School, who mastermind this event, ensured that all 150 children who came to join in the hunt left with a big smile on their face and a chocolate egg. The ‘hiders’ of the eggs were amused to find that one of the clear plastic eggs that the children find to be able to claim one of the chocolate variety, was adopted by a pigeon who decided to try to incubate it! Two children in particular had an even better reason to smile when they won one of the two enormous Easter Eggs that were prizes in the raffle. Thank you Louise for giving so much pleasure to so many and thank you to the weather reports for wrongly predicting a thunderstorm for our event – we basked in sunshine!
The maintenance for Lambeth’s park has now been taken back in house and the team rebranded as Lambeth Landscapes. We are very sorry to say goodbye to Theresa Hoare who has been a fantastic Parks Officer supporting the work of the Friends and helping us to understand the mysterious workings of the Council. We will no longer have a dedicated Parks Officer for Vauxhall Park but Michael Penney, an Operations Manager will have responsibility for Vauxhall Park. Due to the 56% cut to the maintenance budget for Lambeth’s open spaces, we will not see Michael as regularly as we saw our Parks Officers but we are promised two walkarounds a year.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that local resident Christine Homer has volunteered to run the 2017 Summer Fair. After running the fair for many years, Polly Freeman is unable to continue but we are looking forward to the enormous energy that Christine will bring to this much loved part of the Vauxhall year. It promises to have the many favourites from past years but there will be plenty of new things to enjoy.
We are looking for ‘Merry Makers’ to make the day go with a swing! Could you help during the fair itself, put up and/or take down gazebos, share a talent you have with our community – juggling, music, story telling etc? We are very keen to make the fair something that people can enjoy without spending any money so if you could entertain the visitors we’d love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you have a business that you would like to promote to the 1,000+ visitors that visit the Summer Fair? Do you have a catering business that would like to be at the fair? Please get in touch – we’re waiting to hear from you!
Last Autumn, we were delighted to receive over 1,000 from Taylor’s Bulbs through the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. We are extremely grateful to them – every year, Taylor’s Bulbs send out, literally, thousands of spring bulbs to groups such as ours across London to bring a bit of spring colour to all of our lives. Community Payback, who work in Vauxhall Park once a week under the expert guidance of their manager Carla, planted the bulbs for us. We are delighted to say that some of the bulbs have escaped the attention of the local squirrels and are popping up all over the park. We received snowdrops (which can be seen by the South Lambeth Rd/Lawn Lane entrance), narcissi, crocuses,hyacinths and tulips so watch our for a changing carpet of colour in the Park. Thank you MPGA and Taylors Bulbs
On 10 September, the community came out in force (ably supported by volunteers from Team London) to help us harvest the lavender from the Vauxhall Motors Centenary Lavender Field. We’re not sure that when the field was planted, it was ever envisaged that the lavender would provide such a wonderful facility for the park; it is enjoyed all summer long not only by local residents but by the hundreds of bees that happily hum around it all summer. We took 79 kilos of lavender down to Carshalton Lavender Field where Laurie Rudham kindly let us use his Still again. We came away with 3 litres of lavender oil and lots of lots of hydrosol (which is made into products such as ironing spray). The oil will be left to mature until Christmas time and will then be on sale at Italo on Bonnington Square. A highly original and unique Christmas present!
We are delighted, and slightly astonished, to announce that Vauxhall Park has been awarded a Green Flag for 2016/2017. The cuts to the maintenance budget have had a profound impact on the Park. The awarding of this flag is a testament to the hard work of Theresa Hoare, our Parks Officer, and her team. We are also grateful to the continuing work of the Community Payback groups and the magnificent work of our voluntary gardening groups. Thank you and congratulations.
We’re delighted to announce that our application to become a Charity has been accepted by the Charity Commission. Our Registration Number is 1166894. We have also adopted a new constitution (click here to read it: FOVPConstitution 2016) which regularlises our aims and our governance. We always welcome involvement from all sections of our community and would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to join our committee
We are delighted to welcome Charles Vyvyan as our Chair. He was elected at our AGM on 23 January. Charles is a local resident and a passionate believer in the Park. He brings an enormous wealth of experience to this role as the Park moves into an interesting phase in its history and we are very pleased to have him on board. Charles Vyvyan spent 35 years in the Army in a variety of operational command and staff appointments throughout the world. Since he retired in 2000 he has worked as a strategic adviser to a number of government and commercial organisations. He has most recently been involved with Orbis the charity that takes planes converted into operating theatres specifically to deal with sight related problems in countries without access specialist eye doctors. We look forward to working with Charles and benefiting from his experience.
We are delighted to welcome Theresa Hoare as our new parks officer responsible for Vauxhall Park. Theresa has a wealth of experience working in open spaces such as Vauxhall Park so we are delighted that she has been appointed to be our champion. Welcome Theresa and thank you to Mickey Penney (who you might see in Kennington Park now) for all his work on our behalf