News

Jubilee Day in King’s Stairs Gardens

Jubilee Day in King’s Stairs Gardens – and our QEII Field status comes through!

We can’t say that the Jubilee River Pageant Day in King’s Stairs Gardens went without a hitch: the big hitch was the rain! Horrid, insistent English drizzle most of the day, and all of us involved in the set-up and bunting hanging in the morning got fairly wet and cross.

But in the end, it was a great day despite the weather. Thanks to the rain, fewer people than expected came to KSG to watch the Jubilee River Pageant yesterday – around 2,500-3,000 by late afternoon. But those of us who braved the rain had a wonderful (though damp) afternoon!

The entertainment was fantastic: thank you Jack Holding, Nigel of Bermondsey (and his two young assistants!), the inimitable Barrow Boys and the spectacular E2 for giving their all. Thanks too to Southwark Council, Friends of Southwark Park and the Bermondsey Beat guys – and all the SaveKSG stalwarts – for all their hard work in making this such a memorable event. And thanks to the inspiring contributions from Southwark Council leader Peter John, Deputy Mayor Abdul Mohamed, our MP Simon Hughes and Rob Hardy from Fields in Trust, all of whom reiterated their wholehearted support for our park against the threat from Thames Water.

The highlight for we supporters of KSG was the announcement by Peter John that our park is now a Queen Elizabeth II Field!

The QEII Fields programme, whose patron is HRH the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), is a nationwide campaign to protect 2012 outdoor recreation spaces to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a permanent living legacy. KSG is the first site in London to have its QEII Field plaque dedicated – and there couldn’t have been a more appropriate occasion for this to finally happen!

This is wonderful news and a fantastic recognition of the importance of our park. And it adds yet another layer of protection against the likes of Thames Water – how could they dare bring along their bulldozers now?

We'll be in discussion with Southwark Council to decide the best permanent site to mount the plaque: it can be set into the ground or on a wall, and of course it will need to be protected against metal thieves (although it's deliberately not made of a valuable metal). Any suggestions for placing it will be welcome.

The QEII Fields programme also comes with some exciting funding opportunities to carry out improvements to the park. Your Committee will be looking carefully at ways of maximising these opportunities and of course we'll keep you all posted.

All in all, Sunday 3rd June 2012 was a great day for King's Stairs Gardens! Here are some photos from the day.

Photos of the Stage in King's Stairs Gardens by Lucy Walker here

Photos of the Thames Pageant by David Potter here

Photos in the Park and of the Pageant by Roger Bilder here