Tavistock Square Gardens (Camden)
Part of the Bedford Estate development, Tavistock Square was formed in 1800 but the garden not laid out until 1825. The railed enclosure was for the private use of residents and the late C19th layout shows a perimeter path and axial walks radiating from a central circular feature. Now open to the public, it retains much of this layout today with mature London planes, flower beds and lawns. It contains a number of memorials: in the centre is a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi; in the south-east corner a memorial to Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake, one of the first women surgeons; a tree was planted in 1967 for the victims of Hiroshima and a large stone with plaque commemorates Conscientious Objectors.
- Site location:
- Woburn Place
- WC1H 9LD
- Type of site:
- Garden Square;, Public Gardens
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- 7am - dusk Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend in the past.
- Special conditions:
- Has participated in OGSW. For news and events see Association of Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens website: www.bloomsburysquares.org.uk
- Public transport:
- Tube: Euston Square (Circle); Russell Square (Piccadilly). Bus: 59, 68, 91, 168.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2014
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.camden.gov.uk; www.friendsoftavistocksquare.org.uk
Full Site Description
Part of the Bedford Estate development, Tavistock Square was formed in 1800 but the garden was not laid out until 1825. Nos. 29-45 Tavistock Square, a terrace of 17 houses, were built c1825-6 designed by Lewis Vulliamy, part of which is now Connaught Hall, University of London. Surviving C19th terraces by Burton and Cubitt overlook the square. The garden appears on the OS map of 1894 as an enclosed rectangle with a perimeter path and three axial walks radiating from a central circular feature, and trees lining the paths and the square, enclosed by railings, preserves this layout, with mature London planes, flower beds and grass lawns. In 1928 it was maintained by a Committee of inhabitants of the square out of rates levied by St Pancras Borough Council.
Tavistock Square Gardens now contain a number of memorials - in the centre is a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi of c.1968 by sculptor Fredda Brilliant, with Gandhi in the lotus position on Portland stone base, inscribed with his dates, 1869-1948. The memorial to Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake, one of the first women surgeons, dates from 1926 and consists of a stone semi-circular seat designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the British Medical Association House (q.v.) on Tavistock Square. Rising from the centre of the seat back is a stone column with identical bronze busts of Dame Louisa holding a book on the back and front, designed by A G Walker, and inscribed with details of her career. Other memorials include a tree planted in 1967 commemorating the victims of Hiroshima; and a large stone with a plaque inscribed as memorial to conscientious objectors, placed here 15 May 1994 for International Conscientious Objectors Day.
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.
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; M W Hammond, 'Camden's Parks and Gardens', LB Camden, 1973
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ298823 (529892,182339)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- Duke of Bedford, leased to LB Camden
- Site management:
- LB Camden Parks & Open Spaces; Friends of Tavistock Square
- Listed structures:
- LBII*: Nos.29-45 Tavistock Square and attached railings. LBII: BMA House; in the gardens: Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, Dame Louisa Aldrich Blake Memorial.
- 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:
- Public Open Space (Small Local). London Squares Preservation Act of 1931
Tavistock Square Gardens, Gandhi Memorial, July 2002. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.