Inventory Site Record

Harrington Square Gardens (Camden)

Brief Description

Harrington Square was originally laid out as a planned development of the Duke of Bedford's estate. It consisted of two terraces overlooking a triangular garden enclosure, provided for the residents of the surrounding houses. Today only part of the east side of the C19th terrace remains, the north of which was destroyed by WWII bombing. The south terrace was demolished for new housing in the 1960s. The gardens, now public, are enclosed by railings and privet hedge, laid out with grass, flowerbeds, mature trees and some perimeter shrubbery.

Practical Information
Site location:
Hampstead Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square;, Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Mornington Crescent (Northern). Bus: 24, 27, 29, 134, 168, 253.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.camden.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Harrington Square was originally part of the Duke of Bedford's estate, from which it takes its name. Under a Special Act of Parliament of 1800, which related to enclosures on the Bedford Estates (including Ampthill, Gordon, Harrington, Oakley and Tavistock Squares) the triangular garden enclosure was to be kept as open space. It was laid out c.1843, and planned in conjunction with the former segmental Mornington Crescent gardens, the latter lost in 1926 when the Carreras Tobacco Factory was built to the designs of M & O Collins, with an extravagant exterior said to have been inspired by the Egyptian temple of the cat-goddess Bubastis. After many years of decline the former factory was converted in 1998 to offices and is now Greater London House.

Harrington Square Gardens were bounded by mid C19th terraces on two sides and by Hampstead Road on the other. Only part of the east side of the original terraces now survives, a terrace of 10 houses built in 1842-48; the northern part of this terrace was destroyed by WWII bombing, now a post-war housing block, Hurdwick House. The south terrace was demolished for new housing in the 1960s.The garden was originally provided for the use of the Duke of Bedford, his heirs and assigns, and occupiers of the surrounding houses. The Harrington Square properties were, in earlier years, quite opulent houses and the census records show that fairly wealthy families with assorted servants lived there. A Committee of inhabitants, appointed under the Metropolis Management Act of 1855 maintained the garden out of rates levied by St Pancras Borough Council, the Act of 1800 also specifying that the rate was limited to 1s in the £ on the rateable value. The OS map of 1875 shows a perimeter path and planting, and a central circular feature. Now open to the public and maintained by Camden Council, the gardens are enclosed by railings and privet hedge, laid out with grass, flowerbeds including a central circular bed, mature trees and some perimeter shrubbery. One tree within the garden was the 2000th planted for LB Camden's Millennium Tree Planting scheme.

Sources consulted:

E Beresford Chancellor 'The History of the Squares of London: Topographical and Historical', London 1907; S.O.L; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; Camden Town Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan, 2007

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ291832 (529192,183209)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Camden
Site management:
Parks & Open Spaces
Listed structures:
LBII: 15-24 Harrington Square and railings
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:
Camden Town
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space (Small Local). Strategic View Corridor

Harrington Square Gardens

Harrington Square Gardens, July 2002. Photo: S Williams

Harrington Square Gardens, Southern boundary, July 2002. Photo: S Williams
Marie Hangge in the gardens c.1947 soon after the end of WWII. Her parents Joseph and Annie Hangge leased No.4 Harrington Square in 1924, where her mother remained until the house was demolished in the 1960s. Photograph courtesy of John Brown
Harrington Square, c.1915. Courtesy of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre; www.camden.gov.uk/localstudies
Harrington Square, Aftermath of WWII air raid. Courtesy of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre; www.camden.gov.uk/localstudies

Click a photo to enlarge.

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