Grade II Listed Status

Ruskin Park has been listed Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens since 1988.


The Bandstand in the centre of the park is a simple wooden structure, and has become a focal point for events such as our summer fete and concerts.

After falling into disrepair, it was restored in 2006 with the help of the Friends and funding from Lambeth Council. Further repairs and re-painting have taken place to keep it in good condition.

Ornamental Pond and Wildlife Pond

The ornamental pond with its small island is an original feature of the park.

In 2010 two ponds were dug between the tennis courts and the orchard to create a new wetland habitat and marshy area. We are currently undertaking work funded by the Mayor of London and in partnership with Froglife to improve and develop both ponds.

Community garden

The Ruskin Park Community Garden aims to be a source of education and enthusiasm for growing vegetables. It’s managed by a group separate to the Friends of Ruskin Park. They encourage inner city gardening to reduce the carbon output involved in food production and transport. At their regular dig days people can learn how to grow veg by doing. Anyone is welcome to come along, and they harvest the veg that is ready and share it among the group.

Lambeth’s Arboretum

floraRuskin Park has more than 870 trees and a volunteer tree group which protects the park and promotes it as ‘Lambeth’s Arboretum’. As well as many horse chestnuts, common ashes and limes, the park contains rare trees which can be discovered by following the tree trail.


The Portico is all that remains of 170 Denmark Hill and was originally at the back of the house. When the house was demolished the porch was converted into a shelter and turned to face the opposite direction.

A commemorative tablet recording that the house was occupied between 1799 and 1814 by a Newcastle-born sea captain, James Wilson, has disappeared. It detailed Captain Wilson’s “adventurous life at sea, during which he was present at the Battles of Lexington and Bunker’s Hill and was confined for nearly two years in the Black Hole at Seringapatam, served the London Missionary Society as Honorary Commander of the ‘Duff’, the first British Missionary Ship of modern times”.

The Portico was separately listed grade II, in 1951. The Portico was added to the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register in 2005 but we are delighted that it has recently been restored.


stable blockThis major feature is hidden in the corner of the park at the Ferndene Road and Denmark Hill junction opposite the Fox on the Hill pub. It was part of the old estate of a house on Denmark Hill, used for pony and trap, or carriage and horse, with accommodation above for the groom and storage for hay. The building was last used as a staff depot, but has now fallen into disrepair.We have been working to bring the building back into use for the benefit of the community for the past five years. You can read more about the proposals here.


Labyrinth Garden (former Bowling Green)

Ruskin Bowling Club was formed in 1905 which is surprising given the park was not opened until 1907. The former bowling green was apparently considered to be one of the best in the area during the 1950s and 60s but declining maintenance and numbers of bowlers, alongside competition from another local bowling green, caused its eventual closure.

The bowling green was later planted with wildflowers, and in 2010 funding was secured by the Friends from Western Riverside Environmental Fund to complete a garden design based around a labyrinth. Our wonderful volunteer gardeners do a fabulous job to ensure the garden is well-cared for all year round, with guidance from Urban Canopy.


The pergola, a covered walk with climbing plants trained over trellis work, is part of the original layout of the park as designed by Lt-Col JJ Sexby in 1907. It forms an attractive walk alongside and overlooking the old bowling green and was an excellent vantage point from which to view games when the bowling green was still in use.

The pergola is constructed from brick pillars, with wooden beams across the top to provide support for the climbing plants, Wisteria, Climbing Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle and Virginia Creeper, which cover the structure. The latter has particularly flaming colours in the autumn.

Mendelssohn Sundial

The sundial was erected in the park to commemorate the visit of the classical composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) to his relatives, the Benecke family, at Dane House, 168 Denmark Hill. Over time, the sundial sustained considerable damage, with the terracotta plinth cracking and the brass sundial going missing.

A project to restore the sundial commenced in 2021, funded through Heritage of London Trust (HOLT) and Lambeth Council. The restored sundial was relocated from its hidden away location  to the Labyrinth Garden. In keeping with the original design, the sundial’s inscription reads “Here stood the house where Mendelssohn wrote the Spring Song 1842”.

More park features