Mecklenburgh Square Garden * (Camden)
* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens
The Trustees of the Foundling Hospital, established in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram, purchased 56 acres in Lamb's Conduit Fields from Lord Salisbury and the Foundling Hospital, now Coram's Fields, was built by 1753. Samuel Pepys Cockerell was appointed to develop the estate surrounding the hospital, and his plan of 1790 had two squares. Mecklenburgh Square on the east was named after Queen Charlotte, formerly Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; it was designed by Joseph Kay with Cockerell as consultant, the houses built c1810-1820, the gardens laid out by Kay in 1809-10. The layout remains close to the original design with mature plane trees, ornamental trees, formal lawns and gravel paths.
- Site location:
- Mecklenburgh Square
- WC1N 2AD
- What 3 Words:
- 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 23 times, most recently in 2023.
- Special conditions:
- Guide dogs only
- Tennis court, playground, BBQ pits
- Public transport:
- Tube: King's Cross (Piccadilly, Victoria, Northern, Hammersmith & City); Russell Square (Piccadilly). Bus: 17, 45, 46, 19, 38, 55, 243
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. http:mecklenburghsquaregarden.org.uk
Full Site Description
Coram's Fields including Mecklenburgh Square and Brunswick Square: Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list
Mecklenburgh Square and Brunswick Square (q.v.) were developed as part of the Foundling Estate. The Trustees of the Foundling Hospital, established in 1742 by Captain Thomas Coram, purchased 56 acres in Lamb's Conduit Fields from owner Lord Salisbury for £6,500 and the Foundling Hospital, now Coram's Fields (q.v.) was built by 1753. The Building Committee appointed Samuel Pepys Cockerell to develop the estate surrounding the hospital, whose plan of 1790 had two squares on either side of the Hospital.
Mecklenburgh Square on the east was named after Queen Charlotte, formerly Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and was designed by Joseph Kay with Cockerell as consultant, Cockerell having fallen out with the Hospital Governers. The houses in the square were built between c1810-1820, with the gardens laid out by Kay in 1809-10. On the north side are early C19th cast-iron entrance gates and railings with square plan gate piers with moulded panels and roundels, surmounted by twisted lamp bases (lamps missing). The layout remains close to the original design with mature plane trees, ornamental trees, formal lawns and gravel paths. One section is devoted to New Zealand species.
The garden is now owned by Goodenough College whose London House is located on the square, and the garden is largely for use by overseas graduates of Goodenough College and of those residing in the square. With support from the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, a Medical Herb Spiral and Bed were created in the north east corner of the garden in 2010, and are used by MSC students from UCL School of Pharmacy to inform essays about medicinal plants.
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.
The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); E Beresford Chancellor 'The History of the Squares of London: Topographical and Historical', (London, 1907); Survey of London; John Summerson, 'Georgian London' (1978 ed.); D J Olsen, 'Town Planning in London' (1982 ed.); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; http://mecklenburghsquaregarden.org.uk/category/history/. See also https://londongardenstrust.org/features/cows.htm: Noelle Vickers, ' Three Cows in Mecklenburgh Square Garden', London Landscapes, No. 12, Spring 2006.
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ306823 (530612,182372)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- London Goodenough Trust
- Site management:
- Goodenough College
- Joseph Kay
- Listed structures:
- LBII*: Nos.11-26 (Consecutive) and attached railings, Byron Court (No.26). LBII: Nos.43-47 (Consecutive) and attached railings; Entrance gates and railings to Coram's Gardens; London House.
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- NHLE grade:
- Grade II
- 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
Mecklenburgh Square, June 2003. Photo: S Williams
Click a photo to enlarge.
Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.