Phoenix set to restore magic of Peter Pan with new pocket park

Lewisham’s special association with Peter Pan is set to be restored after Phoenix residents voted to name a new riverside retreat and pocket park after the children’s book and cartoon character.

Peter Pan’s Park will be created on a currently neglected patch of land next to the site of the former Peter Pan’s Pool, a pleasure park which opened in Bromley Road in the early 1920s as the first public space worldwide to be named after ‘the boy who wouldn’t grow up’.

The naming of the new park, at the junction of Bromley Road and Beckenham Hill Road, SE6, follows a vote by Phoenix residents.

Jim Ripley, Chief Executive of Phoenix Community Housing, said: “We’re working with our residents and the broader community to invest in south Lewisham and to deliver improvements that will make it a place people want to live and work.

“But it’s important we don’t lose sight of the past and that we retain the area’s heritage. A large number of our residents have very fond memories of Peter Pan’s Pool, and it’s fantastic that we’ll be able to restore that name through the new park.

“We’d be very keen to hear from anyone who visited the original Peter Pan’s Pool so that they can share their photos and their memories.”

Peter Pan’s Pool was a ‘children’s pleasureland’ that opened in June 1922, for the ‘benefit of all child visitors to Southend Village, Catford’, as reported by the Beckenham Journal and Lewisham Borough News. The site included a boating lake, trees and gardens and later a small fun fair, sandpit and play park. 

The owners of the pool were given permission by the author JM Barrie to name the pool after his famous character, on the condition that profits from the pool were donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital. It is widely thought that this decision was the precursor to the author donating the proceeds of all copyright of the book to the hospital in 1929. 

The pocket park makeover has been part funded by the Mayor of London in partnership with the environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London and will include a new hedgerow, wild flower gardens, seating areas, a nature reserve and a riverside path.

If you have memories of the original Peter Pan's Pool, we would love to hear from you. Please use our online contact form or call 0844 264 2800 to get in touch and help to shape our new pocket park.