Morpeth pupils help preserve 120-year legacy of Bethnal Green’s Meath Gardens

Morpeth pupils bulb-planting at Meath Gardens

Morpeth pupils bulb-planting at Meath Gardens - Credit: Archant

Youngsters who volunteered to help plant 2,000 bulbs before winter set in have helped save an old Victorian garden open space in London’s East End.

Pupils from Bethnal Green’s Morpeth Secondary joined members of Friends of Meath Gardens which was set up in the summer to protest at Tower Hamlets council plans to chop 25 trees.

The protest succeeded—and was followed by a campaign to plant spring bulbs ready for the New Year.

“I was keen for pupils to be involved in the project so they could develop a commitment to their community,” Morpeth’s Jill Moore said. “They also learned the responsible action of looking after the environment in which they live.”

The Meath Gardens open space next to the Regent’s Canal was originally Victoria Park cemetery, a “much more grim space” to what it is today.

The land was reclaimed by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association in 1894. The designer was the first woman to be qualified as a landscape gardener in Britain who was motivated by a desire to bring open green spaces into poor East End communities.

Today the park is named after the benefactor who paid for it’s landscaping, Lord Meath.

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The Friends group was set up by householder Alison Figueiredo, concerned at preserving the legacy of the Victorian open space.

She said: “The whole community has rallied behind this little park to help preserve it.

“Morpeth School has played a vital part in the bulb-planting—the students worked hard with enthusiasm.”

The Friends group organised the protest against council plans to cut the trees and cut a deal with the Town Hall to preserve the park.

The Gardens Association which first laid out Meath Gardens 120 years ago donated the bulbs as part of a campaign to keep the community spirit thriving, following the summer tree protest.