Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park

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Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park - - 492856.jpg
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, July 2007.
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park is located in London Borough of Southwark
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
Location within Southwark
LocationLambeth Road, London, SE1
Coordinates51°29′46.23″N 0°6′35.59″W / 51.4961750°N 0.1098861°W / 51.4961750; -0.1098861

Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park is a public park in Kennington, south London. It is maintained by the London Borough of Southwark and bounded by Lambeth Road, Kennington Road, St George's Road and Brook Drive.[1] It covers an area of 5.9 hectares (15 acres).[2]


The park was opened in 1934 after the land was gifted to the 'splendid struggling mothers of Southwark' by Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere. The park was named in remembrance of Rothermere's mother.[1] The land had previously been the grounds of the Dog and Duck tavern and later the Bethlem Hospital, after which the freehold was purchased by Rothermere following the relocation of the hospital to Surrey. The hospital building, constructed between 1812 and 1814, was largely demolished, with the remaining central portion being leased to the government's First Commissioner of Works to accommodate the Imperial War Museum.[3]

The park received its first Green Flag Award in 2012. The award was renewed in 2013.[4]

Sports facilities[edit]

The park's sports facilities include five-a-side football pitches, and netball, basketball and tennis courts.[1] The provision of these facilities was supported by a £1.4 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.[5]


Soviet War Memorial

On 9 May 1999 a Soviet War Memorial was unveiled by the Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson, and the Russian ambassador Yuri Fokine. The date of the unveiling was significant as 9 May is marked as Victory Day in Russia. Since its inauguration the memorial has been the site of commemorations of Victory Day, Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembrance Sunday.[6]

Also in May 1999 the Dalai Lama opened a Tibetan Peace Garden, commissioned by the Tibet Foundation, in the park. The garden features a bronze cast of the Kalachakra Mandala, contemporary western sculpture, and a pillar inscribed with a message from the Dalai Lama in English, Tibetan, Hindi and Chinese.[7]

On 30 October 2004, two Araucaria araucana ('monkey puzzle') trees were planted near the park's eastern gates in memory of two Chileans who were forcibly 'disappeared' in 1974 following a military coup in Chile. The plantings were part of the Chilean Human Rights International Project's 'Ecomemoria' campaign.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Southwark Council (2012). "Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park". Southwark Council: Parks and open spaces. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and Vauxhall Park to lose Park Rangers". southeast 11. Lurking about SE11. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  3. ^ Ida Darlington, ed. (1955). "Bethlem Hospital (Imperial War Museum)". Survey of London: volume 25: St George's Fields (The parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington). English Heritage (British History Online). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  4. ^ Southwark Council. "Green Flag awards". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  5. ^ Big Lottery Fund (October 2004). "New Opportunities Fund Annex 1: Details of grants over £100,000 made during the period 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004" (PDF). The Stationery Office. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  6. ^ Society for Cooperation in Russian and Soviet Studies. "Soviet War Memorial". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  7. ^ Tibet Foundation. "Art and Culture: Tibetan Peace Garden". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Pinochet's victims remembered in SE1 park". London 10 November 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2012.