Inventory Site Record

Colville Square Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Now public gardens, this was formerly a private communal garden for the residents of houses on Colville Square. It was part of a development by Dr Samuel Walker that commenced in the 1850s but was not completed until the 1860s. During the C20th the area became increasingly rundown and was eventually rehabilitated in the 1960s. The garden has shrubs and floral planting at the northern end with a circular bed around an ornamental stone urn, and a small play area for younger children.

Practical Information
Site location:
Colville Square
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square;, Public Gardens
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk
Special conditions:
Children's play area
Public transport:
Tube: Westbourne Park (District)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

This small square is surrounded by tall narrow houses of Colville Square designed by T S Tippett, which was part of development in the area by Dr Samuel Walker from the 1850s. He was somewhat beset by financial problems, which resulted in Colville Square, Terrace and Gardens only being begun in 1860. In 1928 the square was owned by Trustees Mr Coxe and Mr Stokes and the garden was for the use of lessees of 26 houses adjoining it, managed by a Committee of lessees. Even at that time the Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares states that 'the property has depreciated much in value, and the houses which were originally let as houses have now nearly all been turned into tenements, and whereas formerly each house one key to the gardens, now about 5 families crowd into the gardens with 5 keys from each house. The children are turned in to play and do a great deal of damage'. The garden at that time was 'laid out with lawns and flower beds' and was felt to 'add greatly to the amenity of the houses adjoining it'. The area became increasingly run down and was eventually rehabilitated in the 1960s.

The narrow garden incorporates shrubs and floral planting at the northern end with a circular bed around an ornamental stone urn, and a small play area for younger children. It was recently redesigned. Adjacent is Colville Nursery Centre created in memory of Pat McDonald (d.1986) who is described in the accompanying plaque: 'working class heroine, lived and worked in North Kensington from the 1960s until her death. She was the driving force behind campaigns for better housing, more play spaces and new nurseries.'

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ247811 (524734,181168)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kensington & Chelsea
Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
T S Tippett
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:
Tree Preservation Order:
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.