Welcome to Abbey Gardens, a community garden in West Ham
surrounding part of the ruins of a
12th century abbey.

There are free garden club sessions and new gardeners are always welcome. The garden is open to visitors from dawn till dusk.


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In the garden:

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Gardening sessions take place on
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm
Thursdays 4pm-7pm
Saturdays 10am-4pm

Urbanism

Vacant space and creative use: contributing to the debate

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Above: garden club leader Hamish Liddle interviewed by Kristallia Kamvasinou and Sarah Milne from Westminster University

Some visitors come along to get involved, others to enjoy the garden and we’re also contacted by academic researchers interested in studying Abbey Gardens. Kristallia Kamvasinou and Sarah Milne from Westminster University have been visiting us for several weeks as part of their research project ‘Interim spaces and creative use’, which investigates whether vacant spaces can be beneficial for local communities and urban resilience if officially brought into interim use. Their study builds on an historical review of such spaces, both in the UK and internationally, and focuses on three to six London sites, one of which is Abbey Gardens. Kristallia and Sarah are involving some of our gardeners through filmed interviews, a blog and there will be a public workshop towards the end of the project.

Mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens by students from The Cass wins RIBA NWLSA student award

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Students from Undergraduate Studio 3 at The Cass, part of London Metropolitan University, have won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North West Society of Architects (NWSLA) student award for their mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens.

Undergraduate Studio 3 is a live projects studio which explores new ways of looking at the role of the architect within social projects in the city.

The students learnt how to set up and initiate a community governed public project by studying Abbey Gardens. To immerse themselves in our community of gardeners and build a relationship with us, the students created ‘conversation kits’ – products using the garden as a source of knowledge. The conversations led to the students working with Friends of Abbey Gardens to redefine and redesign a previous structure built by studio 3 students in 2008 which, by 2013 was run down and useless.

The trailer meets the need at the garden for a dual-purpose workshop and product display space. Its first use at Abbey Gardens has been for a tiny top hat workshop at our history-themed Vintage Summer Party.

Learning from the process and community at Abbey Gardens, the students took the trailer to Hayes, where they had been asked by the local authority to initiate community run gardens in the Austin Housing Estate. The students set up events to find key players who would be interested to engage with such a community project. Identifying local partners such as Grow Heathrow and Hillingdon play association the students used their conversation kits again to discuss how a productive landscape can nurture ecological products to sell and educational workshops.

The project will be on show at RIBA in November. Meanwhile, visitors and gardeners can see the trailer on site at Abbey Gardens.


Students: Weon Young Choi, 
Ludovica Cirillo
, Gerald Darling, 
Errol Houston
, Riam Ibrahem
, Hongjae Kim
, 
Fadwa Mezughi
, Haneen Shames
, Mirko Solinas, 
 
Halil Yorel
, Valerie Ziregbe

Tutors: Torange Khonsari and Sandra Denicke-Polcher

More about the project and The Cass here

More about the NWSLA here

Venice

What Will The Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens had the pleasure to be part of this years 13th Venice Architecture Biennial. The Hands on Urbanism exhibition curated By Elke Krasny which was originally shown in Vienna, a reduced version of the show made it to Venice where it can be seen over the next three month in the International Pavilion in the Giardini.

Hands on Urbanism shared a space with some old friends from Paris. AAA (Studio for Self Managed Architecture) came to visit Abbey Gardens very early on to show their ECHO BOX film about the development of a community garden in Paris. It was one of the first events before we had access to the site.

Torange enjoying a moment of Abbey Gardens glory in Venice