Third Day of Christmas


On the Third Day of Christmas Bankside Open Spaces Trust gives to you, three of Octavia Hill’s creations also on the anniversary of her birthday.

Octavia Hill is the founder of our beautiful Red Cross Garden, which was built alongside the neighbouring cottages in 1886. After it fell into disrepair, BOST restored the garden to its former Victorian glory in 2005.

Octavia is also a co-founder of the National Trust which evolved out of campaigns to save green spaces threatened by expanding railways and housing. She felt green space should “be kept for the enjoyment, refreshment, and rest of those who have no country house’. Bankside Open Spaces Trust is inspired by Octavia Hill’s championing of green spaces and were delighted to host a ‘folly’ celebrating her life and work as part of an exhibition for the London Architecture Festival (see our 10th Day of BOST).

This year we also celebrated another of Octavia’s creations, the Army Cadets, with an event in the garden on 2 June, 100 years after she initiated the first meeting of the young people's Army Cadet Force. From that first meeting the force spread country-wide and now has over 40,000 members and offers progressive training to boys and girls aged 12 to 18. Young Cadets and their families filled the garden after a special service in Southwark Cathedral.

Every day Bankside Open Spaces Trust  keep Octavia Hill’s ideals alive by ensuring people can enjoy beautiful green spaces, what she called ‘open-air sitting rooms’. As she said, “Does it not seem that the quiet influence of nature is more restful to Londoners than anything else?”

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Olivia Mudie