Inventory Site Record

Norland Square Garden (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Norland Square Garden forms the private communal gardens for the residents of Norland Square, which was built as part of the development of the Norland Estate from the early 1840s. The estate originally comprised 52 acres attached to Norland House, and passed through a number of owners until 1839 when it was sold for development at a time when building in the area was accelerating. The garden has long had tennis courts, and although it lost its original railings these were reinstated in 2007, and the path layout has also been restored.

Practical Information
Site location:
Norland Square
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Has opened for OGSW. Otherwise private, for keyholders only
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 19 times, most recently in 2023.
Special conditions:
Children's play area; tennis courts
Public transport:
Tube: Holland Park (Central). Bus: 94, 148
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

The square is part of the Norland Estate, which was developed from c.1840. The Estate was originally 52 acres of grounds attached to Norland House, its site now No. 130 Holland Park Avenue, the name 'Norlands' appearing in records in 1599. In the early C18th Norland House was purchased by Thomas Greene, whose grandson E B Greene inherited in 1740 but, due to debts, was forced to lease out the house and 12 acres as a military academy in 1761. When Greene died in 1791 the estate was bought at auction by Benjamin Vulliamy, whose family held it until 1839. Vulliamy then sold Norland to William Kingdom for development, encouraged by the acceleration of building development in the area at that time, which included the Ladbroke Estate to the east and the Holland Estate to the south. There was also much improved drainage of the land here due to a new sewer that was built in 1838/9 through the estate to accommodate the Birmingham, Bristol and Thames Junction Railway line. Kingdom assigned the sale of the estate to solicitor Charles Richardson, who then began raising the necessary capital to build 3 miles of sewers approved by the Westminster Commissioner of Sewers and to begin building the estate to designs of Kingdom's architect Robert Cantwell. Building progress did not go smoothly and despite his best efforts Richardson was bankrupt by 1855. However, by 1850 Norland Square was built and Cantwell's tall narrow stucco-fronted terraces frame the central garden.

The OS map of 1863 shows that it was laid out with winding paths and trees round the perimeter. In 1928 it was described as a 'rectangular area surrounded by privet hedge. Laid out with lawns and tennis courts and contains some well grown trees.' It was for the use of freeholders of the houses in the square, and maintained by a Committee of Management elected by the male householders, with rates levied on the occupiers of houses by the Borough Council. Today the square is mainly grass in the centre, surrounded by mature trees. The original railings were removed and for many years the garden was bordered by wire mesh fencing, but the railings were reinstated in 2007. The paths have also been restored to the original layout, and the garden has a central lawn, shrub and flower borders and ornamental trees. The garden is protected under 1851 Garden Square Act.

Sources consulted:

Survey of London; RBKC Norland Conservation Area Policy Statement 1989, Report of Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ243801 (524302,180163)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
?Norland Estate
Site management:
Norland Square Garden Committee
Robert Cantwell
Listed structures:
LBII: Nos.2-18 (incl), Nos.19-35 (incl), Nos.36-52 Norland Square
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:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Norland Square Garden

Norland Square - Photo: Stephanie Stephenson
Date taken: 10/06/18 00:00

Click a photo to enlarge.

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