Originally owned by Clifford's Inn, half the garden was acquired in 1912 by the Public Record Office. This re-opened in 2001 as The Maughan Library of King's College London. The Contemplative Garden was designed by George Carter and won the 2003 London Spade, awarded by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association.
The design is based on the principle of creating ‘green rooms’ to complement the main features of the adjacent building. Carter has provided historic continuity in his use of hornbeam, lime and yew, with an emphasis on shades of green rather than colour planting. A sculpture by Dorothy Brook, a small water feature and a statue of Confucius complete the picture.