St Peter's School and Church, Walworth

St Peter's School and Church, Walworth

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

O is for Octavia Hill - Walworth A to Z

O is for Octavia Hill
Octavia Hill by John Singer Sargent 1898 (National Portrait Gallery)

A hundred years after Octavia Hill’s death, the housing estate she helped build still stands and bears her name. Meanwhile just a stone’s throw away the bulldozers are already at work razing the Aylesbury Estate to the ground. Twin planning disasters the Heygate and the Aylesbury might have benefited from an Octavia Hill. She was undoubtedly one of the noblest characters of her time, seeking her utmost to better the conditions of the poor, preventing open spaces being built upon, and founding many notable organisations of which the National Trust is the most well known. But it was her work with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners that she will always be remembered for in Walworth. The transformation of a notorious 22 acre slum site into several new streets and groves (Merrow, Portland, Villa, Wooler, Liverpool, Burton, etc.) filled with healthy affordable homes in the shape of pretty cottages and low-rise tenement blocks. The Faraday Gardens recreational ground was thrown in for good measure, a green space we are still profiting from today. 

Part of a letter from Octavia Hill regarding Faraday Gardens

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