Inventory Site Record

St Alphage Garden and St Alphage Extension Garden

St Alphage Garden and St Alphage Extension Garden (City of London)

Brief Description

This and the Barbican were the worst bombed areas in the City in WW II and as a result were substantially rebuilt post-war for both commercial and residential use. This was part of a scheme drawn up in 1954/5 by the Corporation of London and LCC to create a new business district around the London Wall area. There was provision for gardens and open spaces, and fragments of the old Roman City walls and older buildings also remained amidst the new architecture. This included the ruined tower of St Alphage Church, on the site of the C14th priory church of Elsing Spital. To the north, the former churchyard of St Alphage had already been made into a small public garden by 1872. The garden is bounded to the north by a high section of the old Roman Wall and to the west of the main garden is an extension with a lower paved area.

Practical Information
Site location:
St Alphage Garden, off London Wall
Postcode:
EC2Y 5EL
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
City of London
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Moorgate (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Northern, Metropolitan). Rail: Moorgate

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2002
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/openspaces

Full Site Description

This and the Barbican were the worst bombed areas in the City in World War II. As a result it was substantially rebuilt post-war for both commercial and residential use. In 1951 the then Minister of Housing and Local Government proposed that part should be developed as a residential neighbourhood, which led to the building of the Barbican Estate (q.v.). In 1954-5 plans were drawn up by the Corporation of London and LCC to create a new business district around the London Wall area, a plan covering some 28 acres. The final scheme combined alignment of a new main road, London Wall, and an integrated sequence of office blocks, with an upper pedestrian walkway that connected with the Barbican and crossed London Wall. Provision was made for gardens and open spaces, remains of the old Roman City walls were exposed in places, and among the new architecture, older buildings including a number of historic livery halls, could also be found.

St Alphage is on the site of the priory church of Elsing Spital, a hospital for the blind founded by William Elsing in 1329/1331which became a priory in 1340 when it was taken over by Augustinian Canons. The priory church was dedicated to St Mary and when the priory was dissolved in the C16th, the church was repaired with the materials of the parish church of St Alphage nearby, which had fallen or been taken down by 1540, and was not able to be re-erected. St Mary's thereby became the parish church of St Alphage; the priory buildings were used as private housing until destroyed in a fire in 1541. St Alphage's churchyard was in existence by 1414. The church became dilapidated during the time of Cromwell and was rebuilt in 1775-7 by William Hillyer but retaining the C14th tower; some monuments from the old church were reinstated including a monument to Sir Rowland Hayward, twice Lord Mayor and benefactor of the church, buried here in 1593. The new church had two fronts, one onto Aldermanbury, the other onto London Wall but it was demolished in 1923 and the parish united with that of St Mary Aldermanbury. The remains of the C14th tower of St Alphage suffered bomb damage but has been preserved and can be seen from the elevated pedestrian walk along London Wall.

To the north, the former churchyard of St Alphage had already been made into a small public garden by 1872. The churchyard was bounded to the north by a high section of the old Roman London Wall and a plaque set into this records that the churchyard was closed by Act of Parliament and laid out as a garden in 1872. Along the wall are seats and a raised flower bed, and on the other side the wall forms the boundary wall of the adjacent Salters' Garden (q.v.). Landscaping in St Alphage Garden consists of two grassed areas with a magnolia tree in one part and an oak tree in the other, separated from the roadway by a beech hedge. To the west of the main garden is an extension, a lower paved area with further seats and square wooden planters with bedding displays and a sloping bed alongside the path, with a gate looking into Salters' Garden.

Sources consulted:

B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992; F E Cleary, 'The Flowering City', The City Press, 1969; Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); George Godwin & John Britton 'The Churches of London: A history and description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis, Volume II', London, 1839; London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ324816 (532440,181620)
Size in hectares:
0.567
Site ownership:
Diocese of London (former churchyard); City of London Corporation (extension)
Site management:
City of London Corporation Open Spaces Dept.
Date(s):
C14th; 1872
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII: C14th tower of former St Alphage Church. SAM: section of London Wall along boundry of former churchyard
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:
No
In Conservation Area:
No
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
City Walkway Network
Photos

St Alphage Garden and St Alphage Extension Garden

St Alphage Garden and fragment of Roman Wall, October 2002. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

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