Inventory Site Record

Coronation Gardens (Havering)

Brief Description

Coronation Gardens were laid out on land originally purchased as the site for the new Romford parish church in 1844. In 1849 the church was rebuilt on an alternative site in Market Place and only the parish burial ground with a chapel were built here. The cemetery was full by 1871. In 1953 the Council and Church authorities re-landscaped the area as public gardens commemorating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The base of the demolished chapel was initially planted as a raised rose bed but in 1970 the Romford War Memorial was re-erected here when the new Ring Road necessitated its relocation. To the rear of the garden are C19th gravestones that were cleared when the garden was laid out.

Practical Information
Site location:
Main Road, Romford
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens, Pocket Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Car park
Public transport:
Tube: Hornchurch. Rail: Romford. Bus: 66, 87, 128, 165, 175, 248, 252, 348, 370, 373, 496.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The land was purchased in 1844 as the site for the new and larger Romford parish church of St Edward the Confessor (q.v.) and the parochial cemetery. However in 1849 St Edward’s Church was rebuilt on an alternative site in Market Place and only the burial ground for the church together with a chapel were built here. By 1871 the parochial burial ground was full and Romford Burial Board opened its new Romford Cemetery (q.v.) in Crow Lane. In 1953 at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Council and Church authorities agreed to re-landscape the area as public gardens and the chapel was demolished. The small square plot was levelled, but as many of the existing trees as possible were retained. The garden was laid out with bisecting quadrant and circular walks, with a great variety of tree species including yew, cedar, flowering cherry and magnolia, and perimeter beds planted with shrubs. Trees and shrubs, including scented plants for the enjoyment by the blind, were planted by local organisations in commemoration of the Coronation. The base of the chapel was initially planted as a raised rose bed but in 1970 the Romford War Memorial was re-erected here when the building of the new Ring Road necessitated its removal from Laurie Square where it had been erected in c.1921. In the Gardens stands a concrete sundial as a memorial to Alfred Daniel Wood who died in 1953 and lived next to the site for 44 years. Coronation Gardens are enclosed by a C19th York stone wall and iron railings, and entered through a lych-gate on Main Road.

To the rear of the gardens and behind a Cypress hedge are the C19th gravestones that were cleared from the site and now stand in two rows or are broken up and lying on the ground. Among the memorials is that of the Black family who lived at Gidea Hall from 1802, Alexander Black (d.1835) having purchased the estate from Richard Benyon. He is commemorated on the memorial with his wife Alice and daughters Adelaide and Anne, the latter the wife of William Neave, son of Sir Thomas Neave of Dagnam Park (q.v.).

Coronation Gardens was improved through Pocket Parks funding, which enabled the installation of  new seating and pathways, creating a greener, safer and more inviting space for people to enjoy. This was funded through GLA’s Pocket Parks scheme, an initiative of the Mayor of London’s drive to create 100 Pocket Parks across London launched in 2013, with community grants of up to £20,000 available. The community fund was part of a £2m investment to bring 100 underused urban spaces back into use by March 2015. The scheme was delivered by Groundwork and enabled the creation of more than 100 pocket parks across 26 London boroughs, and ranged from community orchards to edible bus stops, the first to open being in Stockwell. A Pocket Park, defined as ‘a piece of land of up to 0.4 hectares, which may already be  underdeveloped or derelict’, is considered to provide a small area of inviting public green space where people can relax, exercise, socialise and play, and can be natural and/or formal in character.

In 2016 the Pocket Parks initiative went England-wide with a £1.5m fund launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Community groups were invited to apply for grants up to £15,000, but applicants were also required to raise match funding from other sources. This led to 87 funded projects across the country, although no projects were in London. In 2018 the Pocket Parks Plus Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), eventually making £3.75m available when it was widened to include not only new pocket parks but also projects to refurbish existing parks or parts of parks. This led to funding 198 projects, which included 32 projects in London. The third funding round was launched by MHCLG in 2019 and on 3 March 2020, World Wildlife Day, the recipients of the £1.35m fund were announced. Of the 68 winners, 10 are in London. The government has now provided 352 grants to support community groups to create 146 new parks and give a vital boost to 206 derelict urban spaces in towns and cities in every region of the country.

Sources consulted:

Victoria County History of Essex; Brian Evans 'Romford, Collier Row and Gidea Park' (Phillimore) 1994; LB Havering 'Romford Heritage' booklet, 1998, p9

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ514892 (551501,189208)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Havering
Site management:
Parks and Open Spaces
1849; 1953
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:
Tree Preservation Order:
not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

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.