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Inventory Site Record

The Phoenix Garden (Camden)

Brief Description

Although The Phoenix Garden was created in 1984, it is on part of the former site of an orchard belonging to St Giles Leper Hospital established in the C12th by Queen Maud. The site was later church land belonging to St Giles-in-the-Fields nearby. It was built over for housing by the early C20th but following bomb damage in WWII it became a car park. It was created as a community garden under the auspices of Covent Garden Open Spaces Association and was laid out in summer 1984. It is run as an ecological garden, with a mix of ornamental and native species to encourage a range of wildlife.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Phoenix Community Garden
Site location:
St Giles Passage off New Compton Street; Stacey Street
Postcode:
WC2H 8DE
What 3 Words:
flip.games.miles
Type of site:
Public Gardens, Community Garden
Borough:
Camden
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
8am - 8pm
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 18 times, most recently in 2023.
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Membership scheme that includes quarterly newsletter and invitations to events (£15 pa in 2020)
Events:
Various events/activities
Public transport:
Tube: Tottenham Court Road (Central, Northern), Leicester Square (Northern, Piccadilly). Bus: 14, 19, 24, 29, 38, 176.
Research updated:
08/08/2020
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.thephoenixgarden.org

Full Site Description

Although a new community garden created in 1984, The Phoenix Garden is on part of the former site of an orchard that belonged to St Giles Leper Hospital established in the C12th by Queen Maud. It was later church land belonging to St Giles-in-the-Fields (q.v.) whose churchyard is nearby. It is located behind the Phoenix Theatre. The site was built over for housing by the early C20th but following bomb damage in World War II it became a car park.

It was created as a community garden under the auspices of Covent Garden Open Spaces Association who in 1981 had started campaigning for permission to use the site, which was granted in 1984. Financial assistance from Greater London Council and LB Camden enabled the garden to be laid out in summer 1984. Trees including rowan, willow, walnut, birch and ginkgo were planted as were shrubs and native wild flowers; a rockery and small pond were constructed, and seating and a children's play area provided. A bench was donated by the actor Michael Palin in 1995. In 2017 the community building was constructed, which is used as a visitors centre and for events, and the garden is registered as a Camden wedding venue.  

The Phoenix Garden is a registered charity, overseen by a Board of Trustees, and is supported by a dedicated team of volunteers. The garden is run as an ecological project, with a mix of ornamental and native species to encourage a range of wildlife, and areas have been developed as habitats for wildlife. The garden's thin rubble-filled soil and urban heat island effect due to its Central London location has meant that half-hardy plants such as the Giant Viper’s Bugloss (native to La Palma) can thrive here. 

The garden has won first prize for Best Environmental Garden in Camden in Bloom since 2004.It has regularly opened for events such as OGSW and London Open House, and hosts the Agricultural Show and St Giles Fayre, which celebrated its 10th year in 2019.

Sources consulted:

Michael Waite, Daniel Keech, Meg Game, 'Nature Conservation in Camden', Ecology Handbook 24 (London Ecology Unit), 1993; www.thephoenixgarden.org

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ299811 (529949,181185)
Size in hectares:
0.1203
Site ownership:
LB Camden
Site management:
Friends of the Phoenix
Date(s):
1984
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
None
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

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:
Yes
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Denmark Street
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character: Central London Area
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space (Small Local). London Squares Preservation Act 1931.
Photos

The Phoenix Garden

The Phoenix Garden, June 2019. Photograph Sally Williams

The Phoenix Garden, June 2019. Photograph Sally Williams
2019
The Phoenix Garden with community building in distance, June 2019. Photograph Sally Williams
2019
The Phoenix Garden, June 2019. Photograph Sally Williams
2019
The Phoenix Garden, June 2019. Photograph Sally Williams
2019

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

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.