Inventory Site Record

Dovehouse Green (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Dovehouse Green is a former burial ground for Chelsea parish church on land given by Sir Hans Sloane in 1733. It was closed for burials by 1882, and became a garden for inmates of the adjacent workhouse. Following war damage it was developed as a garden, with a small part open to the public. It was named Dovehouse Green in 1977 when it was re-landscaped for the Silver Jubilee and laid out with cruciform paths, an obelisk and seating. Some tombstones remain on the perimeter. In 2003 it was refurbished for the Queen's Golden Jubilee and re-opened on 12 June 2003.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
King's Road Burial Ground; Old Burial Ground
Site location:
King's Road/Dovehouse Street
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Sloane Square, (District, Circle), South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadilly)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The land for the King's Road burial ground to serve Chelsea Parish Church of St Luke's (Chelsea Old Church q.v.) was originally given to the parish in 1733 by Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). Sloane had purchased the former Chelsea Manor House (once owned by Henry VIII) in 1712 from William Lord Cheyne, but did not live there until 1742; he was responsible for development along the riverside from c.1717. The burial ground was consecrated in 1736 and later enlarged in 1790. It became known as the Old Burial Ground after provision for parish burials was supplemented in 1813 by the opening of a new burial ground, now the site of St Luke's Church and Gardens (q.v.). Among those buried here were Italian painter and engraver Giovanni Battista Cipriani (d.1785), and botanist John Martyn (d.1768), best known for his 'Historia Plantarum Rariorum' (1728-37) and who practiced as a physician in Chelsea. By the 1880s the King's Road burial ground was in a poor state; in 1882 a mortuary was constructed here and the remaining ground was laid out as a garden for the recreational use of the inmates of the adjoining workhouse, and fragments of an old chapel and graveyard were found. This represents an early example of the change of use from a burial ground to a garden.

After war damage in WWII, a scheme of 1947-50 developed the garden, with a small part opened to the public, at which time most of the gravestones were removed and the mortuary demolished. In 1977 it was renamed Dovehouse Green when it was re-landscaped for the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, at the instigation of the Chelsea Society, which was also celebrating its Golden Jubilee that year. The landscaping included cruciform paths, areas of grass but largely paved to King's Road; it contained an obelisk, some tombstones on the perimeter and seating. In 2003 it was again refurbished for the Queen's Golden Jubilee and now has Victorian-style lighting columns and lanterns, York stone paths and traditional park benches. The refurbishment project was again suggested by the Chelsea Society and supported by the Rector of St Luke's and Christ Church. The work was carried out by RBKC with funding from the Golden Jubilee Celebrations; it was re-opened on 12 June 2003 at a ceremony officiated by the Mayor and other local dignitaries. There are good displays of daffodils in the spring and the garden provides a quiet area to sit among trees and shrubs. In the north corner is the entrance to Chelsea Farmers Market.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Cheyne Conservation Area Proposals Statement; Mrs Basil Holmes, The London Burial Grounds, London, 1896; 'Social history: Social and cultural activities', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 12: Chelsea (2004), pp. 166-176.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ271781 (527160,178080)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kensington & Chelsea
Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
1733-6; 1880s; 1947-50; 1977; 2003
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:
Rail Safeguarding Area

Dovehouse Green

Dovehouse Green - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 29/04/21 10:20

Click a photo to enlarge.

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