About the Gardens

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The Gardens were created during the 1870s by Joseph Bazalgette, and was part of a project for the Metropolitan Board of Works to provide London with a modern sewerage system. In 1879 a gift of £1000 from the Rt Hon W H Smith was supplemented by £1400, voted by Parliament, towards enclosing and laying out for the use of the public the ground to the south of the Houses of Parliament which has recently been embanked. The southern part of the gardens was added in 1912.

Today the Gardens and playground are well used by residents, local office workers and tourists who enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of the park, with its views of the Thames and Parliament and its popular playground.

Victoria Tower Gardens is also used by charities as a stopping place in round London walks e.g. Shine London for Cancer Research UK, and was used to fund raise for St Thomas's Hospital when a zip wire was placed across the Thames from the hospital to the Gardens.


Other uses of this popular park are by schools visiting the Parliamentary Education Centre, audiences of the Luna Cinema which shows outdoor films in the summer, Artangel for a spectacular art installation, filming crews (especially James Bond river scenes) and by the Westminster Dog of the year competition sponsored by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust to promote responsible ownership.


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The wonderful, uninterrupted view of the Palace of Westminster and the excellent view of
the River Thames is enhanced by the two rows of magnificent plane trees, which give
the gardens their secluded feel.

   

Buxton Memorial
Commemorates MP Thomas Buxton, whose campaign for the abolition of slavery helped make slavery illegal in the British Empire. Buxton also helped found the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, with the aim of abolishing slavery throughout the world.
The Burghers of Calais
French sculptor Auguste Rodin's stunning statue represents freedom from oppression. It depicts the six burghers who offered to give their lives to spare those of their town's people. Rodin himself chose here to site one of his most famous statues.
Children's Playground
Emmeline Pankhurst
The children's playground in Victoria Tower Gardens was orginally created in 1923 and consisted of a large sandpit funded by paper merchant and local philanthropist Henry Spicer. His vision was to provide an exciting and safe area for children, especially those from poorer neighbourhoods, to play and socialise together.

The playground now has swings, a wide slide, dance chimes and a water play installation designed to represent the River Thames. Beside the playground are metal railings, designed by artist Chris Campbell, based around a River Thames theme. They depict events such as The Great Fire of London and Lord Nelson's Funeral Barge, and includes views of the River Thames where landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral and The Shard are visible.
“For children, playgrounds represent freedom, the freedom to explore, use their imagination, make friends and just have fun".
Mark Wasilewski, Park Manager, St James’ Park.

​​​​​​​​​​​The statue of our most famous suffragette, flanked by one of her daughters, celebrates the early heroines who helped women get the right to vote. Inside the plinth is a box holding her personal letters and her obituary in The Times.

Trees


The roots of the  two rows of magnificent plane trees that flank the park will be threatened by the underground Learning Centre.​​


The Gardens are well-managed by the Royal Parks ​​
and open daily from dusk to dawn with a seasonal refreshment kiosk, and public toilets.