Crossbones Garden June 2022 Bulletin

Selection from the June 2022 bulletin by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who look after the Cross Bones Garden. You can subscribe directly (and for free) on their page:
If you sign up for the bulletin, you’ll get it with all the photos and links (for more information) which aren’t given here. Hej’s report:
“I hope lots of you were able to join us for the BOST Fest 2022, held on 3rd June – our celebration of open spaces and the community who loves them.
Many thanks to our wonderful wardens who opened the garden and to Father Christopher Pearson from The Catholic Church of the Most Precious Blood (opposite Crossbones Graveyard) who led a beautiful service at Crossbones, to remember victims of the terrorist attacks of 3rd June 2017 and their loved ones. Father Christopher gave his own poignant memories of that day and a moving reflection. Volunteer Ginny laid a wreath, made of Crossbones flowers, in the Graveyard at the top of the Goosewing shelter.
During the BOST Fest, we were delighted to welcome in two visitors from Kyiv. One of the visitors, Виктория (which they explained is Victoria in English) generously offered to translate our Ten Things about Crossbones information sheet, into Ukrainian and Russian and I’ll be bringing laminated copies of this to site on Friday. Many thanks to Виктория/Victoria!
June in Crossbones
Having asked our volunteers to volunteer so much of their time to extend the gardening opening hours in May for the Chelsea Fringe and for various other events, we’re having a quiet month to catch our breath. Despite this, volunteers Emma and Sharon still managed to open Crossbones last Sunday for London Square Open Gardens Weekend. They reported an interesting addition to the garden – a wheel caught on the apple tree. As with all things which blow into Crossbones, we’re leaving it to see if it would like to find a home here.
Jesse from the Outside Project this week undertook a photoshoot at Crossbones for 50 Years of Pride in association with our local Business Improvement District and community partner, Better Bankside. To celebrate the 50th London Pride, Better Bankside has commissioned an exhibition by Eve Milner to celebrate the beautiful and unique stories of Bankside’s LGBT+ community. The exhibition will be hosted by Omeara, and will be going on for the whole of July. Eve writes:
“The exhibition – Faces of Bankside – will be portraits made with members of the Bankside LGBTQI+ community. I have asked each volunteer to let me know a place in Bankside which holds a special significance for them, and we have done the photoshoots in their ‘special place’. The Crossbones Memorial Garden was chosen by Jesse both as a lovely place where he can indulge his love of nature, but also because he is concerned that trans people are often not buried as they would like to be buried, and this chimes with the history of the Garden.”
July Events at Crossbones
Blessings and Bards, Sunday 24th July, 1230pm – 330pm
A free event unique to Crossbones Graveyard, the event encompasses an Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration from the Dean of Southwark to those buried at the site. Following the blessing, local champions of Crossbones Graveyard share songs, music and poetry led by George of Peckham.
12:30pm: Meet at Southwark Cathedral with a walk to Crossbones Graveyard.
12:45pm: Arrival at Crossbones Graveyard.
1pm: Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration by the Dean of Southwark.
2pm-330pm: Bards (songs, music and poetry).
Many thanks to our volunteer wardens for enabling this event by opening the Graveyard.
Booking: No need to book but due to the limited space, please come early to secure admittance.
This event is free and open to all, wheelchair accessible. Dogs on leads welcome.
Community biodiversity day, Monday 25th July, 1-5pm
Hannah, a Crossbones volunteer who is also undertaking a PhD in Psychosocial Studies, inspired by Crossbones, is leading this workshop for the local community to get involved in monitoring biodiversity on site at Crossbones, supported by Jon Best, Senior Ecologist at Southwark Council. This is an opportunity to learn new skills in a relaxed environment, taking a close and sustained look at the ecology of the garden. We will also look to thicken our understanding of the garden’s ecology by engaging with multiple ways of knowing it, through exploring the stories, memories and sensations that are tangled up with plants and critters. More details to follow in the July bulletin.
Crossbones gardening
(full bulletin shows photo of) some of my inexpert attempts to capture the bees in action at Crossbones on our Jerusalem Sage, Lavender, Mallow and Alkanet. The latter two are considered ‘weeds’ in other gardens but a walk around Crossbones will make you understand why we keep them here! If you’d like to know more about the importance of weeds for wildlife, please do save the date for Hannah’s community biodiversity day (see above).
Thanks again to our wonderful team of volunteer gardeners who take care of the Graveyard every Friday 12-2pm.
Welcoming new Community Gardener, Matt – also our new Crossbones Engagement Manager!
We’re delighted to say that Barney, our current Community Gardener, has accepted a new position with BOST as our Green Hub Facilitator, empowering communities across SE1 (north Lambeth and Southwark) to improve their local spaces whilst learning new skills. I know our volunteer gardeners will be sad not to see Barney at Crossbones every Friday, but he’s still very much at BOST – even more so! – so you’ll see him again in another guise!
From July, Matt joins us as our new Community Gardener and, along with our regular community gardening groups on other sites, will be leading the Crossbones Friday gardening group from July onwards. We were excited to discover that Matt also possessed all the skills and experience necessary to engage even more of the community; he has now also agreed to join the BOST team as our part-time Crossbones Engagement Manager. Coincidentally, Masters student Meg approached BOST a couple of months ago; as part of her dissertation, she will be creating a community archive that includes documenting both past and future iterations of the site. This archive will be invaluable to Matt and eventually everyone involved at Crossbones. Thank you Meg! And welcome to Matt!
If you’d like to volunteer your time as a Crossbones warden or gardener or help in another way , please get in contact:
Crossbones Opening hours
Welcome to new volunteer warden Sharon – and also to Meg (mentioned above) who joins our warden team! Crossbones is open Wed, Thurs, Fri 12-2pm and some weekends when our fantastic volunteer wardens are available. If you’d like to become a warden, and help us extend our opening hours, please let me know (
Thanks to the generosity of our visitors, and our wardens for opening the garden, we received £146 of on-site donations during May.
Crossbones Vision detailed design and construction workshops
I know there are many new subscribers since the last bulletin, so I’ll bring you up to speed on these workshops! We’ve hosted the first five of a series of workshops, in collaboration with U+I (the developer responsible for the Liberty of Southwark development next to Crossbones and who will one day be our new landlord) which will explore how we create our Vision for Crossbones, and help to ensure that contractors working on site do so with sensitivity.
Our first workshop (Friday 12th November 2021) was held at the Liberty of Southwark site which is next to Crossbones. MOLA Archaeologist Antonietta gave us a talk about the fascinating discoveries made on the site. You can follow the dig here.
The second workshop (Saturday 27th November 2021) looked at the proposed construction of the boundaries on site. Sculptor Adrian joined us and shared his experience of metalworking and we looked at ways of involving the community in both the design of the boundaries and possibly even contribute to the features on the boundaries through community workshops. You can read the notes from the workshop here.
Note that the ribboned railings/’gates’ did not form part of the Boundaries workshop and will not be forming part of the Crossbones enhancements. TfL states:
“TfL have reviewed the ribboned gates and advised that there are no urgent works to be undertaken.”
The third workshop (Saturday 4th December 2021) looked at the proposed structures on site: new ramps, a new goosewing shelter to mirror the existing one, as well as new shelters. You can read the notes here.
Volunteer warden Simon gave a talk on the history of ramps and shared his thought-provoking poem Wheel, which details his experience of the city as a wheelchair user.
Joel from YesMake was on hand to answer questions and listen to ideas about what the new ramps and shelters should be like.
The fourth workshop (Friday 14th Jan 2022) looked at surfacing on site and a little more at the new ramps and steps. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here and here.
The fifth workshop (Friday 11th Feb 2022) recapped on the surfacing and also looked at Events and Visitor circulation and we looked at storage, seating and proposed new planting. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here.
The last workshop will likely be arranged sometime during the summer – we’ll be looking at a summary of our discussions.
Crossbones Vigil
Don’t forget that the Crossbones Vigil, held by Friends of Crossbones is on 23rd of every month at 7pm outside the gates on Redcross Way. You can also join the Vigil via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person. Just login to your Zoom account or link on the link here.
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240
Passcode 377295
For more information about the history of the Vigils, see:
This month’s Crossbones recipe: Gluten-free Vegan rainbow cookies
My family have had this recipe for years, and love making these at home anytime of the year. If you can’t find Vegan rainbow coloured sweets, then chocolate chips will be fine. We often put a dash of food colouring in the dough for extra rainbow.
100g vegan spread (palm-oil free)
100g brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
140g self raising gluten free flour
1/2tsp xanthum gum (makes less crumbly but don’t worry of you don’t have it)
100g choc vegan rainbow sweets / chocolate chips / chopped chocolate
Beat spread, sugar and syrup until creamy. Add half the flour. Then mix together the vegan rainbow chocolates/ chopped chocolate, and squish everything together with your fingers until you get a firm dough. Divide into 15 and roll into balls. Place on greased baking trays (grease proof paper works best) and squish down slightly. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden at the edges. Cool on a wire rack – they firm up when cold – great for tea dunking!
Got an idea?
As always, the best way to ‘weave Crossbones into the fabric of SE1’ is to get people involved on site. If you have an idea for an event, installation, tour, or other activity / initiative, I’d be delighted if you would get in contact with me via email, phone, WhatsApp, Signal etc. I’m also aiming to be on site most Fridays 12pm-2pm when the gardening team is there, so let me know if you have a positive way of spreading the Crossbones story, and you’d like to speak to me in person.
Liberty of Southwark development
For those of you receiving this bulletin for the first time, the Liberty of Southwark development is the one adjacent to Crossbones and an exciting archaeological dig is currently being undertaken.
Many of you will have heard the recent and exciting discoveries made in February 2022 and may even have been lucky enough to attend a tour on site and see the tremendous Roman mosaic which has received a huge amount of publicity.
You can also view the blog here and contact with the developer directly for information about the works on the site:
Best wishes
Hej and the team at Bankside Open Spaces Trust”