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Surrey Docks Farm Southwark

Surrey Docks Farm

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Surrey Docks Farm started life as a goat farm in the 1970s, and was then established in 1975 on a 1.5 acre site of derelict dockland between the entrance to Greenland Dock and the River Thames. The early impetus was to raise livestock and produce food from what was regarded as wasteland. In June 1986 the farm was re-located to its present riverside location at South Wharf, a historic site that had seen use as a shipyard, timber wharf, River Ambulance Receiving Station, and a station for the Auxiliary Fire Service.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Rotherhithe Street, Bermondsey
Postcode: SE16 5ET
Type of site: Other 
Date(s): 1986
Listed structures:
Borough: Southwark
Site ownership: Surrey Docks Farm Provident Society Ltd
Site management: Surrey Docks Farm Provident Society Ltd
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: 10am-5pm (summer time); 10am-4pm (winter).
Special conditions: dogs on leads
Facilities: Café (closed Mondays). Educational
Public transport: London Overground/Tube: Canada Water (Jubilee), Bus: 381. C10
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2015
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

Surrey Docks Farm grew out of an initiative by local resident Hilary Peters, who began grazing goats and keeping hens on what was then some 200 acres of scrub and wasteland of the former Surrey Commercial Docks, which had closed in 1970 but continued in the ownership of the Port of London Authority. Her use of the land for a goat farm not only produced cheese and eggs for sale, but also encouraged others in the community to realise the potential of the neglected land for allotments, education and play among other things. In 1975 Surrey Docks Farm was more formally established on 1.5 acres of Greenland Dock, with goats, hens, bees, rabbits, donkeys and ducks, as well as dogs and cats. The lock-keeper’s office became a milking parlour and dairy among other things. In April 1980 the Farm registered as a Provident Society.

Relocation became necessary as the former docklands began to be transformed for commercial development. When the farm relocated to South Wharf in 1986 the animals were ceremoniously led along streets and riverside to their new home. The new site has a fascinating story, now publicly accessible in a history trail around the farm, created with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A major shipyard in the C18th, it became a timber wharf in the C19th, from 1883 was used as a River Ambulance Receiving Station, and in WWII and beyond it was a station for the Auxiliary Fire Service.

Animals reared on the farm today include a herd of goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, bees and donkeys and fresh food and produce is on sale to the public. In addition to an open animal yard there are a variety of green and horticultural areas including an orchard, herb garden, dye garden, vegetable plots, and a wild area, as well as a café, bee room, working blacksmith’s forge and adult education rooms.

Sources consulted:

Information on farm website:; Hilary Peters, 'Why I started Surrey Docks Farm', London Landscapes No.39, Spring 2015. See Hilary Peters 'Docklandscape', 1979.
Grid ref: TQ366797
Size in hectares: 0.89
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: Yes - Thames Policy Area; Archaelogical Priority Zone
Other LA designation: Borough Open Land; Borough, Bermondsey and Rivers Archaeological Priority Zone; Canada Water Action Area

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