Marchmont Community Garden was initiated by members of the Marchmont Association in 2004/2005, whose purpose was to identify eyesores in the area. The site, which today accommodates the MCG, was considered the site most in need of improvement. As a result, the MA set about creating a community garden to be appreciated by residents and visitors to the area.
MA appointed Architects Network to design a scheme for public consultation with bio-diversity and tranquillity at the heart. The public consultation generated much public interest, and ideas from local people were fed into the overall deign of the garden. J Murphy & Sons Ltd were appointed as contractor and completed the project in late August 2011, in time for the official opening September the 3rd.
With its situation on a ‘gap’ site between the Brunswick Centre and a Victorian housing block, MCG provides pedestrians with easy passage between Marchmont Street and Kenton/Handel Street. Consequently, many people (including myself) enjoy the garden as part of their daily commute. MCH also serves as a green lung for people to enjoy their lunch or just wind down out of the busy streets.
The construction of the MCG was funded with a £100,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund and a contribution from Camden’s Section 106 ‘pot’. MCG has also benefited from support from local sponsors and donors. Today the garden in fully owned and managed by the local community thorough the Marchmont Community Garden Partnership.
Since MCA opened to the public, it has been much appreciated by the local community as well as shoppers, office workers and visitors to the area. On sunny days it gets so busy that two additional benches were added in autumn 2012. Its success is highlighted by winning 1st prize for the ’Best Community Run Garden’ in the Camden in Bloom 2012 and by being awarded first place for the ’Best Communal Garden’ in 2014. Regular events to involve the community in gardening and promote bio-diversity have been organised. As part of the Bloomsbury Festival, visitors of all ages come along every autumn to plant masses of spring bulbs, providing the garden with a blaze of colour in the spring.
Image: © Alan Stanton