The oak could so easily have been forgotten, buried under layers of tarmac and traffic lights, until a local charitable organisation, Invisible Palace, decided it deserved to be marked in some way. The location, at the southwest corner of Crystal Palace Park, was chosen for a design by garden designer, Lou Yates, who also sought to improve the poor current layout where the most convenient route from traffic island to park gates involved trampling over a municipal flower bed. This 'desire' line was facilitated in the design for Vicar's Oak path, by replacing the single bed with 2 separate ones either side of an oak trunk from a deceased tree felled from a nearby remnant of the Great North Wood, which once covered this part of South London.
Set into the ground around the oak, are decorated ceramic letters announcing, "Near this site, stood the Vicar's Oak boundary tree". The letters were made by volunteers, under the guidance of Beth Mander at the Paxton Centre, and indeed, once the groundworks were done, all the planting was also carried out by local volunteers.
And so, two weeks ago, the path and garden were formally opened by Bromley's Deputy Mayor, Councillor David Cartwright, accompanied by a talented local children's steel band, Panash.
Congratulations to all who were involved in this wonderful community scheme, may the Great North Wood, and in particular, the Vicar's Oak, live on in local folklore.
|The Panash Steelband|
|Speech given by Julia Honess who was one of the project's co-ordinators|
|Deputy Mayor of Bromley, Councillor David Cartright|
|Deputy Mayor doing the honours|
|The garden's designer, Lou Yates|
|From left to right: Jules Hussey, Trustee of Invisible Palace, Lou Yates, garden designer, Julia Honess & Sue Giovanni, project co-ordinators|