2/10 - The identity of Fanny Wilkinson is interpreted in the second folly revealed

Interpreted Identity: Fanny Wilkinson
Architects: Stephen Kavanagh Architects
Showcased at: The Marlborough Sports Garden, Union Street, SE1
Exhibited: 01 - 30 June

Fanny Wilkinson's identity, interpreted by Stephen Kavanagh Architects (SKA), is the second folly to be revealed. 

Wilkinson studied at the Crystal Palace School of Landscape Gardening and Practical Horticulture where she completed an 18-month course in landscape architecture. The course was meant for men only and Wilkinson was the first woman to even attempt enrollment. Come 1884 she was serving as a landscape gardener for Octavia Hill’s Kyrle Society and to the Metropolitan Public Gardens, Boulevard and Playground Association (MPGA).

"I certainly do not let myself be underpaid as many women do. There are people who write to me because I am a woman, and think I will ask less than a man. That I will never do. I know my profession and charge accordingly, as all women should do," she said in 1891.

SKA chose to interpret Fanny’s life and achievements as a victory for determined action over inaction and discontent. She saw an imbalance and methodically set about overturning it so that she could do what she loved doing.  Having cut through social constraints, her work thrived and Southwark, among others, benefited from the results.

The black cage represents the social constraints of the late 19th Century, inside which creativity is stifled and life subdued.  A single tree rises up to escape these constraints by cutting through the glass ceiling, not in a reckless manner but with determined and deliberate intent. Once free, it has room to explore its full potential.

“It’s fantastic to see the new Marlborough Sports Garden being used for this design challenge,” said Tim Wood, Chair of BOST. “It's also been wonderful working alongside the LFA to celebrate these unsung local heroes whose stories we are proud to tell.”

Each day we will be showcasing a ‘folly’, so watch this space for the reveals and of course come and see all ten from 01 June - 30 June.

To find out more about the Interpreted Identities design challenge, click here.

For more information on the designers or follies please contact: Concrete Communications olivia@concretecomms.com




Stephen Kavanagh Architects is a conscientious design practice with a particular interest in the role of craft and tactility and the joy they bring in the modern age of mass production.  From homes to offices to retail, we make spaces that people want to be in.

With experience designing Passivhaus projects, a commitment to sustainability runs through everything the practice does - we believe sustainable architecture can be more joyous, more comfortable, more beautiful and ultimately better value.  

As a full service architecture and design practice, having applied our skills to residential, commercial and cultural projects, we look forward to working with interested and engaged clients to create well-crafted buildings, unique to each client's needs.  


Olivia Mudie