Inventory Site Record

Carlton Square

Carlton Square (Tower Hamlets)


Carlton Square was built as part of William Pemberton Barnes' Globe Fields Estate, developed between 1848 and 1855. The central garden was re-ordered under the auspices of the MPGA and opened to the public in 1885 by HRH Princess Louise. Thereafter maintenance was carried out by the LCC. Carlton Square Gardens, a new and larger open space to the east, was created in the 1960s.

Basic Details
Site location:
Carlton Square, Mile End
E1 4EH
Type of site:
Garden Square; Public Gardens
1850s; 1885
Listed structures:
Tower Hamlets
Site ownership:
LB Tower Hamlets
Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Stepney Green (District/Hammersmith & City)

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/03/2014
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
On EH National Register :
EH grade:
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:
Carlton Square
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Fuller information

This area was formerly open land known as Globe Fields prior to its development in the C19th, largely to provide working class housing. The Globe Fields estate was owned by William Pemberton Barnes, who developed his land between 1848 and 1855. Carlton Square was built by Barnes' surveyors Hammock and Lambert, and comprised two-storey terraces around a central garden. The Pemberton Barnes Trust began to let the houses from 1853, and the properties were eventually sold to the Peabody Trust in 1974. The garden square was later re-ordered under the auspices of the MPGA and opened to the public in May 1885 by HRH Princess Louise, when it was described as 'laid out as a garden with lawns, flower beds, walks, seats and a fountain'. In 1928 it remained in private ownership and was leased on a yearly tenancy to the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association at 10s per annum; it was maintained by the London County Council. At that time it was described as 'A rectangular area laid out as an ornamental garden. Well-kept and attractive, and a great amenity to the dwelling-houses overlooking it.' Although somewhat neglected, the garden has elaborate low stone walls around a paved central area and around inner perimeter niches for seats, with evidence of interesting planting among its perimeter trees.

In February 2014 an elm tree was planted in the garden commemorating long-time resident of Carlton Square, Wilfred Coppen (1918-2013). Among those who attended the ceremony were members of the local community, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and representatives of the Royal British Legion in recognition of Wilfred's war record in WWII. The tree, which was provided through the Conservation Foundation, is the first of a new disease-resistant English elm to be planted by Tower Hamlets Council since Dutch elm disease devastated the UK's elm trees in the 1970s.

The small garden at Carlton Square is tucked behind Carlton Square Gardens, a larger area of public open space that was formed by the LCC in the 1960s through house clearance following WWII bomb damage. It consists largely of grass, bordered by trees.

Sources consulted:

Bacon, Ordnance Atlas; Bancroft Library, Clippings. Lieut.-Col. J J Sexby, The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces of London, Elliott Stock, London (1989, 1905 ed); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; LB Tower Hamlets, 'Carlton Square Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines', October 2007; Jessica Odubayo, 'We all loved Wilf. He will be missed' in East End Life, 24 February-2 March 2014


Carlton Square

Carlton Square, May 2000. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

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