We believe in a world where living in cities is not at odds with — but deepens and enriches our relationship with the living world
Offering us the sense of connection, humanity and transcendence which that relationship brings.
For Sayes Court to be the place where everyone can explore, educate and advocate the transformative relationship between ourselves, the living world and the city.
A world class public garden and research centre on the site of John Evelyn’s 17th Century garden
The three ages of the garden
John Evelyn FRS established his garden at Sayes Court in 1653. Over the next 30 years he laid out his innovative designs, bringing ideas from the Continent and plants from around the world, using the garden as a setting for his experiments and research. The garden was famous in his own day, and the texts which he wrote from his research remained influential long after his death. Many of his concerns remain relevant today, such as adapting for climate change, or growing trees to purify the London air.
200 years later, when John Evelyn’s garden had long since faded away, his descendant was concerned by the appalling living conditions in Industrial London. W J Evelyn decided to create a public park on the site of Sayes Court, to provide a place of beauty and fresh air for the people of Deptford in perpetuity. Through his discussions with Octavia Hill, this project at Sayes Court led to the formation of the National Trust.
Only a portion of Sayes Court Park still exists: the remains of the manor house, the site of John Evelyn’s garden and the rest of the former Park now lie within the boundary of Convoys Wharf. The approaching development plans bring the opportunity to reclaim this land for the public, to create an experimental 21st Century garden and a cutting edge building to act as a centre of research, education and enterprise.
This project has the power to help integrate the proposed new development into the local community as a place for everyone - bringing education, jobs and training as well as a place.