Inventory Site Record

Devonshire Square

Devonshire Square (City of London)


Until 1675 this was part of lands owned by the Earl of Devonshire, and was the site of the garden of his mansion. The Earl sold his lands to Dr Nicholas Barbon who was responsible for developing Devonshire Square between 1678-1708. By 1770 residential development in the area included a circus, crescent and square, of which only Devonshire Square remains with two surviving mid-C18th houses. C19th and C20th building broke up the symmetry of the square although the centre was marked by a small oval street garden, re-landscaped post 2004 with paving, seating and a circle of 12 pleached lime trees.

Basic Details
Site location:
Devonshire Square
Type of site:
Garden Square; Public Gardens
1767-80; 2002
Listed structures:
LBII: 12 & 13 (Coopers' Hall) Devonshire Square
City of London
Site ownership:
City of London Corporation
Site management:
Open Spaces Dept.
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Liverpool Street. Tube: Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan)

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information
Grid ref:
TQ333814 (533340,181518)
Size in hectares:
On EH National Register :
EH grade:
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:
Middlesex Street
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Fuller information

Devonshire Square is the site of residential development in the area that by 1767-70 included a circus, crescent and square, the latter being all that remains. Until 1675 it was part of lands owned by the Earl of Devonshire, hence its name, and was the site of the garden of his large mansion, which had been built in 1567-79 for Jasper Fisher, a Clerk in Chancery and known as 'Fisher's Folly'. Following the Great Fire a number of the wealthy people who lived in the City, even though their mansions survived the Fire, moved elsewhere to more fashionable and less densely populated areas, particularly to the west. The sites of these grand houses were then developed for smaller residences as part of the rebuilding of the City. The Rebuilding Act of 1667 influenced how the streets and buildings were laid out, specifying the replacement of timber by brick, regulation of street widths and designation of four sizes of house. The Earl of Devonshire sold his lands here to Dr Nicholas Barbon, an entrepreneur from Holland, who was responsible for building a significant number of properties, including near the Strand, Essex Street and Devereux Street east of the Temple, over the gardens of Buckingham House. In the City he was responsible for developing houses in and Mincing Lane and laid out Devonshire Square between 1678-1708.

Two fine mid C18th houses remain at Nos. 12 and 13, probably built in the 1740s, the latter becoming Coopers' Company Hall in 1958 when their previous hall was destroyed in WWII bombing. In c.1820 the north-east corner of the square became the site of the East India Company's warehouse, and the east and south sides are largely taken up by C20th buildings. The centre of the square became a small oval street garden with flowers, shrubs and small trees crossed by paths and surrounded by the road. Plans to re-design the square under the Corporation's Street Scene Challenge in partnership with AXA Sun Life Properties Ltd were to include a sculpture by Paul de Monchaux, additional tree planting and improvements to the pedestrian area. Although it was subsequently decided not to proceed with the sculpture, the re-landscaping has been completed and a circle of 12 pleached lime trees (Carpinus betulus) were planted.

Sources consulted:

Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992


Devonshire Square

Devonshire Square, May 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

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