I was delighted to discover recently a small (no pun intended) model village in a secluded corner of Vauxhall Park. It’s utterly charming and evokes a wonderful sense of nostalgia with its olde worlde character.
There is something quite magical about walking down the path of a model village, feeling like a giant looking down at the tiny buildings.
The village dates from 1949, when it was made by Edgar Wilson of Norwood. He also made other models including the Tudor Village in Melbourne, Australia. In 2001 the houses in Vauxhall Park were restored by Nobby Clark.
The village consists of just nine buildings, including the thatched roof cottage above, is lovingly maintained with its pretty flower beds.
There is also a Tudor style black and white timber framed house.
Each minature building is skillfully made and well preserved.
There are three small white buildings which maybe dovecotes.
There is some more information about the park in the rest of this blog, or if you just want to to find out how to get there then take a look at the Practical Information section.
View of the Park with St George's Tower on the right
"St George's Tower is the tallest residential building in the UK" - Julie Chandler, dear friend and Blue Badge Guide
Vauxhall Park is a fine example of one of London’s small municipal public parks. The park has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award, which recognises the best green spaces in the country.
Although it is just eight and a half acres in size it’s like a tardis with lots of things to see and do inside a relatively small space. As well as its delightful model village its other facilities include a children’s playground, tennis courts, a large grass lawn area, a beautifully maintained formal garden, lavender garden, a cafe and fenced off areas for dogs.
Victorian style fountain
The Victorian era (1837 – 1901) saw the opening of many public parks across the UK. The first publically funded park in Britain was Birkenhead Park in the Wirral in 1847, of which it is said that Central Park in New York is based on.
Pergolas in the Formal Garden
In 1890, Vauxhall Park was formally opened by Prince Albert, the future Edward VII, in the presence of Prince Alfred, Princesses Alexandra, Louise, Victoria and Maud, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a large crowd.
Rose beds in the Formal Garden
Previously on the site there were houses, including one belonging to Henry Fawcett, a MP and Postmaster General. After his death Millicent, his widow and the younger sister of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, with the support of others including Octavia Hill raised money to purchase a piece of land for the creation of the park.
Chess picnic tables (bring your own pieces)
Fanny Rollo Wilkinson laid out the original design for the park. She was one of the 1st British female professional landscape gardener and she also designed Paddington Street Garden in Marylebone, which I feature in some of my tours and is included in one of my earlier blog posts.
While some of the parks original features have been retained there have been some recent additions, such as in 2003 the Lavender Garden was created to celebrate Vauxhall Motors' Centenary.
Inside the Lavender Garden is a human sundial. Sorry there is no photo but each time I've visited someone has been sunbathing on the spot!
Just by one of the entrances to the park is Parco Cafe, a friendly, Italian style cafe. The building was originally the park's public toilets but it has been refurbished and transformed into a delighful cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. It is open daily and serves a good range of hot and cold savoury food, delicious cakes and a range of hot and cold drinks.
Address: Vauxhall Park, Fentiman Road, London, SW8
Nearest Tube and Train Stations: Vauxhall in Travelcard zone 1 and 2. The park is located an easy 5 - 10 minute walk from Vauxhall Station.
Opening Times: From 7.30am to 15 minutes before sunset
I am planning to write a second blog about Vauxhall soon and reveal some more hidden delights in the area.
If you enjoyed this you might like to read my blog about the Tea House Theatre which is also located in Vauxhall.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds