Inventory Site Record

Pond Square Gardens (Camden)

Brief Description

Pond Square today is a triangular tree-shaded open space with pathways running across it, three raised areas largely grassed, and in one corner a small toilet block within shrubbery. The highest point in Camden, this was the old centre of Highgate Village and once had two large ponds that provided drinking water to the village. The freehold was conveyed to St Pancras Vestry in 1884 and in 1886 the ponds were drained in order to create a public space, which opened in the same year. The garden is overlooked by terraced houses, several dating from C18th and C19th, and by the Highbury Literary and Scientific Institute and Emanuel Church.

Practical Information
Site location:
Pond Square/South Grove/West Hill Highgate
N6 6DA
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square, Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Highgate, Archway (Northern) then bus. Bus: 143, 210, 271.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

Pond Square is a triangular shaded square, the central area now resurfaced with bonded gravel with stone pathways following receipt of a grant from English Heritage. (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.)

Pond Square is situated at the highest point in Camden and was the old centre of Highgate Village (with the Green at The Grove (q.v.) now a reservoir), and was the site of two large ponds, which provided drinking water to the village. At one time the Highgate lock-up was here, a small building 7 foot square, where miscreants were held temporarily. In 1884 the freehold of the site was conveyed to St Pancras Vestry and both the ponds were then drained in 1886 in order to create a public space, which opened as such in the same year. The deeds dated 19 July 1884 are now held by LB Camden 'in trust to allow, and with a view, to the enjoyment by the public of the open space in an open condition, free from buildings and under proper control and regulation and for no other purpose, but [LB Camden] shall not allow the playing of any games or sports thereon and [LB Camden] shall maintain and keep the same in a good and decent state and may enclose or keep the same enclosed with proper railings and gates.' It was preserved as public open space under the London Squares and Enclosures (Preservation) Act of 1906.

The garden is surrounded by terraced houses, several dating from C18th and C19th including Rock House of mid-late C18th, No 13 dates from c.1811, a semi-detached house formed by the rear of No.59 Highgate High Street built for C Lynne, re-fronted in the mid C19th. Nearby are the Highbury Literary and Scientific Institute and Emanuel Church. Adjacent to the gardens is a K2 telephone kiosk of 1927 designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.

Sources consulted:

Camden Listed Buildings website; M W Hammond, 'Camden's Parks and Gardens', LB Camden, 1973; 'Streets of Highgate' ed. Steven Denford and David A Hayes (Camden History Society Publications, 2007); John Richardson, 'Highgate Past' (Historical Publications Ltd, 1989); LB Camden, Highgate Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy, 2007

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ283874 (528358,187371)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Camden
Site management:
Parks & Open Spaces. Pond Square Residents Association
C18th; C20th
Listed structures:
LBII*: No.6 Pond Square (Rock House); No. 10 South Grove (Church House). LBII: Nos.1-5, 16 Pond Square; Nos. 2-9, 11, 15 South Grove, K2 Telephone kiosk, Highgate United Reformed Church, Moreton House.
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Yes: Green (TVG72)
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:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character: Hampstead & Highgate Ridge
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space (Small Local). Registered Village Green/Common Land

Pond Square Gardens

Pond Square Gardens, September 2009. Photo: S Williams

Pond Square Gardens, September 2009. 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.