On 8 March 2017 the builders finally left Nelson Square. The works lasted much longer than originally anticipated , and while there will be an official opening ceremony later in the spring, the gates are now open for all visitors.
There is much more green lawn now, and many new seats. Children have been given all new equipment in a separate play area, and the sports facilities have been vastly improved.
There are now four entrances to the square, with no gates at all. For the first time in decades you can now cross the garden diagonally from the Blackfriars Road entrance to the middle of Pocock Street, using the opening between Applegarth House and the old Georgian terraces.
Very little is now left of the square as it was before the wars. But six of the originally seven plane trees still remain. These trees were here long before any of the square was built and are now hundreds of years old.
An official opening ceremony for the refurbished square took place on 7 April 2017. A ribbon was cut by Southwark Mayor Kath Whittam. All local councillors Adele Morris, Maria Linforth-Hall and David Noakes were also present, as well as Councillor Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for Environment & Public Realm at Southwark Council.
Also present was Neil Coyle, MP. Carole Wright represented community gardening and Bankside Bees, who have set up hives across Southwark.
Local sports initiatives were represented by project worker Dean Palmer from Millwall FC. London Lions basketball was represented by Joe Ikhinmwin and Navid Niktash. Local boxing, with traditions to 1910, was represented by The Ring Boxing Club and Mark “The Burf” Burford.