Green spaces #1: Bernie Spain Gardens

Situated at the heart of London, Waterloo and the South Bank are urban. Yet, a walk around our neighbourhood will unearth several green spaces. In this series, we bring you open spaces in our local neighbourhood that allow us to breathe and connect with nature!

Just a few minutes away from Waterloo, Southwark and Blackfriars stations, Bernie Spain Gardens is "an oasis at the heart of our neighbourhood... enjoyed by local residents, local employees and millions of visitors every year!"

Before Bernie Spain Gardens was created in 1988, the area was heavily industralised


The gardens, located between OXO Tower Wharf and Gabriel's Wharf, are owned and managed by Coin Street Community Builders. They told us that "the Gardens are named after Bernadette Spain, a local campaigner for health and housing provision in the 1980s."


Bernadette Spain

The Gardens are named after local resident and founder member of the Coin Street Action Group, Bernadette Spain (1936-84). Bernie epitomised the motto of her school – ‘Women in time to come will do much’. After training as a clinical psychologist, she worked tirelessly to challenge inequality in health and housing. Bernie’s work with the Coin Street Action Group in the 70s and 90s changed the entire fate and face of the area in which she lived.

Exciting news - a planned upgrade!


This sanctuary of green is even more valuable in a post-lockdown world.The neighbourhood needs quiet green spaces where local people can find peace from the busyness of the South Bank.


Coin Street writes: "Bernie Spain Gardens have not had a major upgrade since they were created in 1988. Since then the neighbourhood has experienced significant change with new homes, offices and hotels being built. To maintain this well-used and much-loved local amenity, improvements are taking place." Coin Street want to transform a pedestrian walkway into an idyllic garden, with a focus on nature and quiet relaxation.


"The proposals follow consultation with neighbours in 2016. A landscape design competition commenced in 2017, and detailed design work began in 2018. The re-landscaping project developed through this process received planning approval from Lambeth and Southwark in Spring 2019. Dutch landscape architect West 8 won the landscape design competition for its ‘pollinator garden’."


You can see some illustrations of the proposed design below. We’re seeking council and mayoral funding to cover the cost of transforming and extending Bernie Spain Gardens north. Signing your name in support will make it possible to get that funding. Sign here: https://coinstreet.org/bsg/ Please share with friends and family via Facebook or Twitter too.



Find us at:

St John's Waterloo

Waterloo Road

London SE1 8TY

Presented by:

Website design and illustrations:

Hart Club

David Bassadone

Presenting sponsor:

HB Reavis logo.jpg