In 1995, soon after the London Gardens Trust (LGT) was founded, it began to compile an inventory of public parks, gardens, squares, cemeteries, churchyards and other green spaces of local historic interest throughout London. Whereas the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest is for parks and gardens of national standing, this register picks up the smaller landscapes that make a great contribution at a local level. It is the largest and most comprehensive survey of parks and gardens of local historic interest in the capital, and covers the 610 square miles that make up Greater London.
The criteria used to establish whether a site should be included on the LGT Inventory include whether the place has some element of formal horticultural layout or landscape design, and has important social history attached to it. Sites are usually thoroughly investigated by our volunteer researchers collecting historic evidence and photographs before a site is added.
The London Inventory of Historic Green Spaces was launched in 2003. It took the form of a database held by LGT, backed up by photographs and other material. Since then the database has continued to grow and information is reviewed and updated. The Inventory now contains over 2,500 entries. The research has been augmented by work undertaken by members of LGT’s Volunteer Research Group, set up in 2005. In 2008, LGT raised the necessary funds to make the information available as this dedicated website, London Gardens Trust Inventory.
The Inventory provides historical information for LGT’s own work and to a wide variety of individuals and organisations, including local authority planning and parks departments. It forms the basis of information for LGT’s discussions with London’s 33 local authorities to encourage them to establish Local Lists of historic green spaces in their boroughs.
The project to convert the Inventory into London Gardens Trust Inventory, including additional research for historical images, has been generously supported by The Pilgrim Trust, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust and an English Heritage Regional Capacity Building Grant. Many of London’s local studies libraries and archives have generously supported the project through assistance with historical pictures.
London Gardens Trust Inventory will be regularly updated as the Inventory database grows. Comments and new information from visitors to the site are most welcome.
Sally Williams, Keeper of the Inventory