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Urban Tree Festival 2019: Explore the Urban Forest: Borough to Bermondsey
Sun 19 May @ 10:30 am - 12:30 pm BST£4 – £8
Part of London’s 2019 Urban Tree Festival, made possible by city-greening charity Trees for Cities. We are delighted to welcome Paul Wood, author of “London Street Trees” and “London is a Forest” to lead a 2 hour walkshop to Explore the Urban Forest.
We will trace the old borough of Bermondsey, which we can thank Ada Salter, former Bermondsey Mayor, a devotee of the ‘Tree of Heaven’ (Ailanthus altissima) for which she organised the planting around the borough. Although Bermondsey has been absorbed in Southwark many of these trees remain and the boundaries may just be discerned through the historic planting decisions. Ada Salter is commemorated at various points along our route, so the walkshop will be a part social history, part street tree exploration.
Our route will include visits to the Thames riverside, at Bermondsey Wall East, Bermondsey Spa Gardens and three sites where Ada Salter is commemorated. It will follow the old Bermondsey Borough and will also provide an insight into this once industrialised area, where new housing was created for the poor and Mayor Salter’s vision for healthy neighbourhoods began to evolve.
‘Tree of Heaven’ (Ailanthus altissima) flourish in London’s micro-climate as it is resilient to air pollution. It was brought from China in the 18th century, when ‘Chinoiserie’ was the height of fashion. It was popular as a street tree as it could grow in smoke filled streets, offering welcome shade. It grows for little more than 70-100 years, but some specimens from Ada Salter’s original plantings at the beginning of the 20th century still survive. Now it is very rarely planted as it is very invasive so it can often be seen sprouting from railway embankments and cracks in walls.
Ada Salter encouraged tree planting across the borough, not just at the borough’s boundary, and fortunately she did choose other varieties too. Those with more recent plantings provide a wide variety of street trees for explorers to discover.
It is recommended that you book in advance to ensure your place however, please note tickets will only go on sale after Easter.
- London postcode (first part)
- London Borough
- Detailed directions to the venue
- Exit from rail station closest to Platform 16
- Project contact name at the venue
- Paul Wood
- Nearest tube station / rail station
- London Bridge