Fitzroy Square Gardens (Camden)
Fitzroy Square is a late C18th town square conceived as a development of the highest quality by Charles Fitzroy, 4th Duke of Grafton, who commissioned Robert and James Adam to produce drawings for two sides of the square. The garden was laid out c.1790 as a circular railed enclosure, provided for the private use of occupiers of surrounding houses. Famous residents included Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. Today the garden is laid out with grass, shrubs, mature plane trees. 'View' by Naomi Blake was erected for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Restoration of the square in 2008 included reinstatement of the wide footway around the gardens to the original design, traditional railings and other street furniture.
- Site location:
- Fitzroy Square
- W1T 6EF
- Type of site:
- Garden Square
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Has opened for OGSW. Otherwise private, for keyholders only
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 19 times, most recently in 2018.
- Special conditions:
- Public transport:
- Tube: Warren Street (Victoria, Northern); Great Portland Street (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle). Bus: 10, 24, 29, 73, 134, 88, C2, 18, 27, 30.
- Research updated:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.
Full Site Description
Fitzroy Square was conceived as a development of the highest quality housing by Charles Fitzroy, 4th Duke of Grafton (who was created Lord Southampton in 1780). He commissioned the Adam brothers, Robert and James, to produce drawings for two sides of the square; building commenced on the east side in 1792 and the garden was laid out c.1790. Horwood's map of 1799 shows the whole site developed except the north and west sides, which were completed early C19th. An early C19th view shows a circular railed enclosure and level grass plot but without trees, and a map of St Pancras c.1800 shows the enclosure with a perimeter walk and four entrances. The freeholders of houses in the square jointly owned the garden enclosure, which was for their private use. It was maintained by a Committee appointed under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 out of rates levied by St Pancras Borough Council on occupiers of Fitzroy Square. In 1928 it was surrounded by shrubbery and described as 'attractively laid out with well-kept lawns, flower beds and some fine trees'.
Then as now the surrounding C18th and C19th terraces were used as offices as well as residences. On the south side, houses built in c.1792-8 are now The London Foot Hospital and No. 41 is the YMCA Indian Students Union and Hostel built in 1952 by Ralph Tubbs. Among the famous people who lived here were Sir Charles Eastlake, painter and first Director of the National Gallery, Robert Gascoyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury and Prime Minister, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf.
Today the garden is laid out with grass, shrubs and has mature London plane trees. 'View', a sculpture by Naomi Blake was erected for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Fitzroy Square was restored in 2008 with funding from EH, Camden Council, Transport for London and a contribution from Fitzroy Square Frontagers. Local residents and orgnanisations, including the Georgian Group were involved in the improvement works, which included reinstatement of the circular stone plinth around the gardens to the original design, widening the footway around the gardens, restoration of traditional railings, upgrading of lighting and new street furniture in keeping with the C18th architecture.
The Association of Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens was set up in 2012 as a forum for the local gardens, with a website www.bloomsburysquares.org.uk, which acts as a point of access for sharing activities, events and concerns. The gardens within the Association are: Argyle, Bedford, Bloomsbury, Brunswick, Fitzroy, Gordon, Mecklenburgh, Regent, Russell, Tavistock, Torrington and Woburn Squares (q.q.v.), and Marchmont Community Garden.
Survey of London; E Beresford Chancellor 'The History of the Squares of London: Topographical and Historical', London 1907; N Bailey, 'North Fitzrovia', Camden History Society, 1981; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ291820 (529128,182089)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- Fitzroy Square Frontagers (freeholders of houses in square)
- Site management:
- Fitzroy Square Frontagers and Garden Committee
- Robert Adam
- Listed structures:
- LBI: Nos. 33-40 & attached railings, 1, 1A, 2-8 & attached railings. LBII*: Nos. 9 & 10, 11, 12, 15-19 & attached railings; Nos. 20-32 & attached railings. LBII: bollards outside Nos. 32, 35 & 41.
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
- Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
Local Authority Data
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
- On Local List:
- In Conservation Area:
- Conservation Area name:
- Tree Preservation Order:
- Not known
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Yes - Area of Special Character: Central London Area
- Other LA designation:
- Private Open Space. London Squares Preservation Act of 1931
Fitzroy Square Gardens, March 2010. Photo: S Williams
Click a photo to enlarge.
Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and is subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.