Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
The recent renovation was completed in September 2014 and Nunhead Green is now more open and inviting, and the space used in a more cohesive way. There is a carved wooden sculpture of a fox escaping through the railings and a mosaic at the eastern entrance which shows wildlife and buildings that face onto the Green. There is a new children’s playground at the western end, a platform area adjacent to that, seating and a planted area at the eastern end, and shrubs planted on the southern perimeter alongside Nunhead Lane. All in all, most definitely an improvement.
Nunhead Green is about 1 acre in size and was purchased by Camberwell Vestry in 1868 at the same time it purchased Peckham Rye Common and Goose Green to prevent it being sold for development. Once known as Nun Green, there seems to be no colourful history attached to it, no riotous fairs as held on Camberwell Green nor frequent political meetings as held on Peckham Rye. W H Blanch makes reference to a livelier time when “village lads and lasses were wont to dance and romp on Nun Green.” This may have been after a visit to the Nun’s Head that faces onto the Green, a popular place of entertainment and refreshment for many centuries past. Other places of interest that face onto the Green, built in varying styles of architecture, are the Pyrotechnists Arms, the former almshouses of the Metropolitan Beer and Wine Trade Society, the Salvation Army Church on the Green, Nunhead Library at the top of Gordon Road, and the newly completed community centre, The Green next door to the Old Nun’s Head.
Nunhead Green has recently been given a new lease of life and is once more the focal point and heart of the centre of Nunhead. The renovation cost £1.2 million, paid for by Southwark Council and the Mayor of London, and was a part of an overall project to regenerate the wider area around the Green to make it a more attractive destination and encourage visitors.