Garden wall knocked down to protect nursery children

Pile of bricks on the floor outside

After part of the wall had been dismantled. - Credit: Michael English

An 150-year-old garden wall in Camden has been taken down to stop it falling into a nursery.

Michael English has lived in a flat on Fordwych Road, near West Hampstead, leased by Camden Council for the past 45 years. The home looks onto a garden, owned by a separate freeholder, which contains a "beautiful" 9ft garden wall that Michael has fondly known since he was a child.

Behind the wall is a wooden fence marking the perimeter of Pinocchio Nursery.

When Michael became concerned about the condition of the old wall he contacted Camden who sent a structural engineer to survey the site.

The Camden Repairs Team made a decision to remove part of the wall so that it does not fall onto the nursery's fence and into the play area.

As a precaution, the nursery prevented the children from playing near it for four days until it was knocked down. Staff had not previously know that there was a wall there.

Michael was initially told that the wall would be dismantled "brick by brick" and the bricks stacked in the corner of the garden so that it could be rebuilt safely.

Small brick wall in front of wooden fence

The wall in the garden. - Credit: Michael English

Most Read

"That was the basis in which I allowed them access to the property," Michael said. "But what the contractors actually did was demolish the wall and then put a pile of rubble in the corner."

He said they told him hat the rubble would be collected and disposed of the following week.

He said that the contractors were supposed to be there for the whole day but they left before lunch when they came on Thursday, June 2, the first day of the Jubilee weekend.

"I think what happened – and I feel partly responsible – is they've done a bank holiday job," Michael said. "They just basically cleared everything up and scarpered off before lunchtime."

A Camden Council spokesperson said: "The council were made aware of a dangerous wall on Fordwych Road which risked falling into a children’s play area.

"We take the safety of our residents very seriously and following a structural survey, we removed the top section of the wall to protect nursery children and staff.

“The council notified the freeholder who is responsible for the wall and will continue to liaise with them about reinstating the wall.”