The redevelopment of St Peter’s Square in 2014 included the destruction of the city’s Peace Gardens. The gardens had been created in 1980 when the city declared itself a nuclear-free zone. Concerned that the plans for the square did not include refurbished gardens, the Friends of Manchester Peace Gardens was formed to advocate for a dedicated space in the city centre.

Lydia Merryll in front of the Friends of Manchester Peace Garden Banner

Cross Street Chapel was keen to promote the group, and provided an official voice on their committee. FoMPG were able to meet at the chapel to discuss efforts and initiatives, to plan meetings with council members, and ensure their voice was heard.

One idea was the creation of a temporary “Pop-up Peace Garden.” This could serve as a focal point while efforts were made to seek a more suitable, permanent home. Cross Street Chapel gladly offered space in front of the community hall, the Percival Suite.

The initial garden consisted of six boxes, grouped in three on either side of the entrance. The flowers were chosen to replicate the Pride rainbow flag, as a further recognition of the chapel’s dedicated support of LGBTQ+ lives.

The “Temporary” Garden when it was opened.

The “Pop up” Peace Garden was opened in the summer of 2016, and has been a gentle affirmation of nature in a busy city. It’s been maintained diligently by members of the congregation, and has served us well.

The new Peace Gardens were eventually opened in Lincoln Square in autumn of 2021, but the popularity of our little patch has continued. However, the raised beds were always intended to temporary, and after 8 years, are in need of an overhaul.

We are very lucky to have ordered four new raised beds from Emmaus, which provides training and work for homeless in Manchester. We have been busy clearing the beds (trying to preserve as many of the plants as possible), and give the area a good scrub down, before the new beds are installed.

We should have new planters in situ in a few weeks, and will be ‘re-opening’ the gardens Sunday 26 May, following our annual Flower Communion. We hope you can join us!

Join us for our Flower Communion

Join us for our Pop-up Peace Garden Rededication