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Inventory Site Record

Charles Square (Hackney)

Brief Description

The laying out of Charles Square commenced in 1684 with the first houses built along the east side. The square was completed in c.1770, at which time it was described as 'set with greens, plants, fruit and other trees'. The central garden was acquired by Shoreditch Vestry in 1897 and laid out as an ornamental garden. One of the original Georgian house remains, with the garden now surrounded by 1950s flats.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Charles Square Garden
Site location:
Charles Square
Postcode:
N1
What 3 Words:
became.lock.bliss
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Hackney
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk (summer 9.30pm, winter 4pm).
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Rail/Tube: Old Street. Bus 55 [243]
Research updated:
01/08/2008
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

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

Full Site Description

Charles Square was begun in 1684 with the first houses built along the east side, and completed in c.1770, at which time it was described as 'set with greens, plants, fruit and other trees'. Of the original houses, No. 16 remains, a 3-storey red-brick Georgian house with five bays and fine doorway built in 1726/27. Pevsner writing in 1952 described the square as a 'remarkable eighteenth century relic...a very dilapidated square'. However, apart for No. 16, the surrounding houses were demolished and replaced in c1950-55 by blocks of flats. The central garden was acquired by Shoreditch Vestry in 1897 for £300 and preserved under the 1906 London Squares Preservation Act, described in 1928 as 'a small rectangular area laid out as an ornamental garden with lawns and trees'. Aside from a couple of mature plane trees, the current layout is C20th and is largely paved with concrete slabs, with small rectangular areas of grass, seating, raised flower beds with some planting. There are shrubs around the perimeter, two large London plane trees and some other smaller trees.

Sources consulted:

Robinson, Lost Hackney; Parks and Open Spaces in Hackney, A Report by the Hackney Society, London 1980; The Official Guide to the Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, London 1933; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ329826 (532968,182649)
Size in hectares:
0.13
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Parks Service
Date(s):
C18th; 1890s; 1950s
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII*: 16 Charles Square
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:

Yes

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:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Archaeological Priority
Other LA designation:
London Square

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.