Our garden is located in the original exercise yard for prisoners of the Old Kennington Courthouse, which was a Lambeth magistrates' court for 100 years, built in 1869. It is the last surviving Victorian courthouse in London, listed grade II since 1993.
Jamyang Buddhist Centre bought the Old Court House in 1995, when it was in poor repair. A large team of volunteers restored the beautiful old building over time, including the exercise yard, which retains the original Victorian cobblestones. The gated courtyard garden covers approximately 120 square metres. It features a magnificent golden Buddha statue and a small meditative garden space.
The garden, designed and maintained by volunteers, is planted entirely in raised beds and pots. A mixture of shrubs, climbers, perennials, herbs, fruit, vegetables, annuals and wildflowers also provides flowers for inside the building. There is a mini-meadow and a mass of bulbs in spring. An old Victorian cast-iron safe found on site nestles among boulders beneath the Buddha statue, forming the base for a pretty fountain.
We aim for the garden to be a haven in the city for creatures great and small. His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited in 1999. The idea of sharing the building is part of the commitment we made during the purchase campaign to bring the Old Court House back into community use. The centre is involved in a variety of partnerships and networks with local health, non-profit and community groups.
Volunteer Head Gardener:
Anne Swindell/Ros Williams