Bonnington Square

Coordinates: 51°29′03″N 0°07′12″W / 51.4843°N 0.12°W / 51.4843; -0.12
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Bonnington Square

Bonnington Square is a square in Vauxhall, south London, which was built in the 1870s. It became famous in the 1980s when all the houses in it, vacant and awaiting demolition, were squatted.


Bonnington Square was constructed in the 1870s in order to house railway workers.[1] By the late 1970s, Bonnington Square was compulsorily purchased by the Greater London Council (GLC) for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), which intended to demolish it in order to build a new school.[1] A Turkish shopkeeper in one of the buildings managed to prevent the demolition through legal means during the period in which all the houses' occupants were departing, and shortly afterward squatters began moving into the vacated buildings.[2]


In the 1980s, the square was almost completely occupied. The squatters established a volunteer-run vegetarian cafė, a community garden on part of the square that had been bombed during the Second World War, a bar, a nightclub and a wholefoods shop.[3] The squatters subsequently formed a housing cooperative and successfully negotiated with ILEA for the right to lease the buildings.[4] The café and garden continue into the present.[3]

In November 2021 the café was forcibly closed by Bonnington Centre community association’s (BCCA) management committee.[5]

Recent events[edit]

Inside the garden

The residents of the square undertook a project in 1990 to change the garden into a "Pleasure Garden" (named in homage to the nearby Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens), and in the process formed the Bonnington Square Garden Association.[6] In 1998, the housing cooperative was permitted by the London Borough of Lambeth to purchase the buildings.[1]

In June 2018, two performances of Twelfth Night by Flute Theatre were held in the gardens in a production directed by actress Kelly Hunter.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Bonnington Square". London Gardens Online. 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  2. ^ Bell, Annie (24 June 2010). "A taste of Italy in Vauxhall". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b Dee, E.T.C. (1 January 2016). "Squatted Social Centers in London". Contention. 4 (1). doi:10.3167/cont.2016.040109. ISSN 2572-7184.
  4. ^ "Bonnington Square – London – Self Help Housing". Bonnington Square Garden Association. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Bonnington Cafe on Instagram".
  6. ^ Pearson, Dan (8 June 2008). "Pleasure garden". The Observer. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  7. ^ Production of Twelfth Night on the Flute Theatre website

51°29′03″N 0°07′12″W / 51.4843°N 0.12°W / 51.4843; -0.12

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