Inventory Site Record

Goldsmith Square Recreation Ground (Hackney)

Brief Description

Goldsmith's Square is on land acquired by the LCC who built two blocks of working-class housing here in 1894/95, largely for the people who were displaced when the Boundary Estate in Shoreditch was being built. The central open space was initially laid out as a children's playground. It was re-landscaped in the 1980s when a sports court was provided, surrounded by planting, a series of pergolas, seating areas, raised brick planters as well as a small railed garden area with lawn, shrubs and seating.

Practical Information
Site location:
Goldsmith's Row/Teale Street
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Sports court
Public transport:
Rail: Cambridge Heath. Bus: 26, 48, 55
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

Goldsmith's Square is on part of an irregular shaped piece of land acquired by the London County Council for £4,877 on which in 1894/95 two blocks of working-class housing were built, largely for the people who were displaced when the Boundary Estate (Boundary Gardens q.v.) was being built. C C Winmill was probably the designer of the 2-storey blocks of flats and houses, which are constructed of red and yellow bricks with purple-brown panels around the entrances. The more recent LCC housing blocks nearby are of poor design in comparison.

The open space in the middle was laid out as a garden in 1893, designed by Fanny Wilkinson, landscape gardener of the MPGA, for whom she designed over 75 public gardens in London, many of them disused burial grounds. She incorporated gymnastic equipment in the garden that had been donated for local children. In 1928 it was described in the Royal Commission on London Squares Report as 'invaluable for the purpose for which it is used'. At that time it was flanked by the rear of buildings on three sides and on the fourth by the roadway and nine small tenement houses. There are a variety of trees on the site, a number of which are mature, presumably dating from the original layout.

The garden was re-landscaped in the (1980s?) by Freeform Arts Trust to provided sports facilities, surrounded by planting, a series of pergolas, seating areas, raised brick planters as well as to one side a railed-off small garden area with lawn, shrubs and seating, surrounded by decorative railings. Adjacent to the site an Under 5's play area was provided, with mosaics on the exterior wall of the community building. Nearby are 3 early-mid C19th gun posts, 2 at the end of the roadway to the east and a third at narrowing of the road to the south, with 'S.L.S' inscribed on the plinth.

Sources consulted:

Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Elizabeth Crawford, 'Enterprising Women: The Garretts and their Circle' (Francis Boutle Publishers, 2nd ed. 2009)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ343834 (534380,183390)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service
1893; c.1980s
1893: MPGA (Fanny Wilkinson); 1980s: Freeform Arts Trust
Listed structures:
LBII: 3 gunposts
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:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
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.