London's Little Gardens: Gibbon's Rent

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 79 months ago

Last Updated 04 October 2017

London's Little Gardens: Gibbon's Rent

Gibbon's Rent is a green oasis nestled among the gentrified warehouses of Bermondsey, overshadowed by the glass and metal pillar that is The Shard.

Created in a little known cut-through between Magdalen Street and Holyrood Street, Gibbon's Rent is a community garden. If you weren't actively seeking it out, it's highly unlikely that you'd stumble upon it, despite its proximity to Tooley Street and the hustle and bustle of City Hall.

Narrow in shape, the curving tarmac path is lined with greenery on either side, from smaller plants in pots, to long-rooted trees. An information board at the entrance encourages people to bring their own plants, or pick up a watering can and do some watering as they pass through.

The focus is more on horticulture than in most public spaces. There's no grass, but a few benches and chairs lie scattered about the narrow path for visitors to make use of. Whatever time you go, you're unlikely to be fighting for a seat — we visited in rush hour and the three other people that we saw were merely in-the-know locals using the cut-through to go about their business — all seats were available.

Best of all, a narrow wardrobe against one wall acts as a Little Library. You can drop your old books off for others to read, and pick up a new one to get stuck into while in the garden (and take it home with you).

The rumble of the trains on the London Bridge arches can be heard in the distance, and if the wind's blowing the right way you'll hear the train announcements. But the high warehouse surroundings and dense greenery make these feel a whole world away.

Despite the name, not a primate was to be seen swinging among the greenery when we visited. If you know why this lovely little space is called Gibbon's Rent, let us know in the comments below.

Other little gardens in London:

The Shard looms over the garden.
The public are encouraged to do their own planting.
A Little Library has books to rent, or drop your old ones off.