Bonnington Square was originally built in the 1870s for railway workers. In the 1970s the houses were compulsorily purchased by the GLC and an area of WWII bomb damage, now the site of the communal garden, was laid out as playground, but this later fell into disrepair and became wasteland.
The properties were left empty, squatted, then leased until 1998 when LB Lambeth enabled the residents to form themselves into a co-op in order to buy the property. In 1990 they formed Bonnington Square Garden Association and transformed it into a ‘Pleasure Garden’, so named in homage to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which had been located 100m north of the site. The design aimed to be ‘a unique mix of the classic English and the exotic tropical, of gentle textures and the bold architectural’.
The planting has been embellished since then by Andrew Gleave-Coley and Evan English. Adornments in the garden include the Boat above the wisteria-covered pergola, and at one end is The Wheel, a 1860s industrial artefact rescued from a nearby marble factory.