Inventory Site Record

Hoxton Trust Community Garden (Hackney)

Brief Description

The Hoxton Trust Community Garden was laid out by the Hoxton Trust in the early 1980s, funded by Hackney Council. It contains the C19th cupola from the old Hackney Work House at Homerton. The garden is landscaped on a number of levels on hummocky terrain, with a variety of flower beds and shrubs, with paths and seating within the lawns. The site was once that of an C18th lunatic asylum, Holly House, later built over with housing.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Hoxton Street Community Garden
Site location:
Hoxton Street/Stanway Street
N1 6RG
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Community Garden, Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Weekdays: 9am-6pm
Special conditions:
No ball games, alcohol, dogs, bikes, skates, skateboards
Toilets (separate entrance)
Children's fun days, workshops
Public transport:
Rail/Tube: Old Street (Northern) then bus. Bus: 5, 22A, 35, 47, 55, 67, 78, 149, 242, 243
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hoxtontrust.com/community.htm

Full Site Description

Hoxton is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as 'Hochestone', and was a rural area despite its location close to the City, just outside the walls. Hoxton Fields were used for archery, and it became popular as a place of retreat from Tudor times; a number of public pleasure gardens were established in the area, such as Pimlico Pleasure Gardens near what is now Hoxton Street and it was also a hub of theatrical activity. By the early C17th wealthy people had built large houses here but these estates began to be sold off towards the end of the century and a number of them were converted for use as private asylums and almshouses, Hoxton becoming the home of the majority of London's privately housed lunatics. The largest was Hoxton House set in extensive grounds between Pitfield Street and Kingsland Road, which opened in 1695 and operated until 1902; in 1819 it housed 348 private lunatics. To the north on Hoxton Street, Holly House opened as a private asylum run by the Burrow family in 1792, which was used by the Guardians of Shoreditch Workhouse. In 1815 three licenses were granted for more than 10 patients to George William Burrow, who was the Proprietor-Superintendent. The Medical Attendant was James Parkinson (1755-1824) who was surgeon to the Parish of St Leonard and lived at Hoxton Square (q.v.). From 1828, under the Madhouse Act, licensed houses with over 100 patients were required to have a resident medical officer; in 1831 there were 116 lunatics and 84 paupers recorded at Holly House.

The asylum closed in 1837, later built over with housing, and the Hoxton Trust Community Garden is now on part of the site of the former lunatic asylum. George and Harriet Burrow's daughter, Harriet Norwood Burrow, later became the proprietor of the asylum at Grove House in Bow, now Grove Hall Park (q.v.). Hoxton became a densely populated working district during the C19th, particularly following the opening of the Regent's Canal (q.v.). The wealthy residents had moved to the more distant suburbs that were being built up, but Hoxton remained a place of entertainment, with theatres such as the Britannia Theatre and Hoxton Hall.

The Hoxton Trust was founded in 1982, as a community charity whose aims are to protect the Hoxton community's past, to improve its present and to secure its future. Trust activities include a Horticultural Training Programme and also Parks Management Service; in 1993 it set up a free Legal Advice Service. The Hoxton Trust Community Garden was laid out in the early 1980s, funded by Hackney Council, and it was opened in 1983 by David Bellamy. It contains the C19th cupola from the Hackney Union Workhouse that was incorporated as part of Hackney Hospital in Homerton, which was demolished when the new Homerton Hospital was built in the 1980s. A brass plaque in the garden commemorates five local young men who died in 1991. Paul Dunne was stabbed in Hoxton Street and four friends, Zeppo Blake, Jeffroy Ellison, Jason Welch and Brian Gerbaldi, were killed in a car crash on their way back from his funeral: 'They should be here so much alive, Let's not forget the Hoxton Five'.

The garden is laid out on a number of levels on hummocky terrain, with a variety of flower beds and shrubs, with paths and seating within the lawns. A brick structure houses a colourful notice board which gives information about the community garden. It is bounded by new decorative railings on a brick parapet wall with the garden's name in iron letters above the main entrance gates, which are surmounted by a roof providing a small shelter. The garden is maintained by volunteers and students under the supervision of the Hoxton Trust's NVQ Training Manager as part of its Horticultural Training Programme. Other gardens in the Hoxton area that are managed by the Trust include Hoxton Square (q.v.), the garden of St John the Baptist Church (q.v.) and gardens on local housing estates.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); 'Tis a Mad World at Hogson. A Short History of Hoxton', (Hoxton Hall, 1974). See History section on Real Hoxton website www.realhoxton.co.uk; 1832 Madhouse Act and the Metropolitan Commission in Lunacy from 1832

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ332832 (533285,183280)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hoxton Trust
C19th; 1983
Listed structures:
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:
Hoxton Street
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes? - Area of Archaeological Priority
Other LA designation:
Open Space

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