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Inventory Site Record

Paradise Gardens * (Tower Hamlets)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Paradise Gardens is a small strip of land that once formed part of the Bethnal Green commonland within the Manor of Stepney. A Trust Deed of c.1678 prevented building over the commonland and enabled the profits from leasing the land to benefit the poor of the parish. This small area of garden, which complements the adjacent Bethnal Green Gardens and Museum Gardens, was once a 'west paddock' let to a gardener. The terraced houses of Paradise Row date from the C18th and early C19th. Paradise Gardens consists of a strip of grass with notable planes enclosed by railings.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Bethnal Green
Site location:
Paradise Row, Cambridge Heath Road
Postcode:
E2
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Tower Hamlets
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Bethnal Green (Central). Bus: 253, 106, D3.
Research updated:
27/07/2021
Last minor changes:
14/07/2022

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

Full Site Description

Bethnal Green Gardens: Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

The site is within the EH Register entry for Bethnal Green Gardens. Paradise Gardens is a small strip of land that once formed part of the Bethnal Green commonland within the Manor of Stepney, which was purchased by a group of local property owners in 1678. It later became the subject of a Trust Deed that prevented building over it and enabled the profits from leasing the land to benefit the poor of the parish in the form of coal. The charity that was set up was called the 'Poor Land' Charity. The foundation deed of 1690 also set out that the 16 trees within this area were to be maintained. The small area of garden now Paradise Gardens complements the adjacent Bethnal Green Gardens and Museum Gardens (q.q.v.) and was a 'west paddock' let to a gardener at £10 a year. However the Trustees of the charity had little benefit from this due to the need to constantly repair the fences as the plants were regularly stolen, allegedly by the inhabitants of Paradise Row.

The range of terraced houses that make up Paradise Row date from the C18th and early C19th. The philanthropist Mary James lived at No. 5 between 1900-43, nicknamed 'The Angel of Paradise Row'. The Jewish boxer, Daniel Mendoza (1764-1836) was born in Aldgate, and lived at No. 3 Paradise Row for a time, which is commemorated by a blue plaque. He was Champion of England and defended his title in 1790 in a fight lasting 72 rounds; he founded a Boxing Academy in the City of London and wrote ‘The Art of Boxing’ in 1789. Another plaque commemorates Mendoza in Queen Mary College Campus (q.v.), near where he was buried in the Sephardi Nuevo Cemetery (q.v.). Erected by the Jewish East End Celebration Society the plaque was unveiled by Sir Henry Cooper on 4 September 2008.

In 1888 the Trustees proposed to sell part of the Bethnal Green Poor Lands for building a town hall, hospital and library, and for a time the West Paddock site was under discussion. In 1891 a new scheme proposed by the Charity Commissioners was agreed by the Trustees that granted land to the new LCC for a permanently maintained recreation ground with small portions to be sold or exchanged, one of which to the south became the site of Bethnal Green Library. Paradise Gardens today consists of a strip of grass with notable planes, with a curving path running through it, and is enclosed by railings. 

Following consultation with residents in 2017, development at the north end of Paradise Gardens has taken place and the park has been refurbished with a new shrub bed, pathways, benches, bins and signage installed.

Sources consulted:

A J Robinson and D H B Chesshyre, 'The Green, A history of the heart of Bethnal Green and the legend of the Blind Beggar'

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ349828 (534950,182850)
Size in hectares:
0.1621
Site ownership:
LB Tower Hamlets
Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
Date(s):
C19th
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII: 2-11 Paradise Row
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Yes
NHLE grade:
Grade II
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Bethnal Green Gardens
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
None
Photos

Paradise Gardens *

Paradise Gardens, September 2008. Photo: S Williams

Paradise Gardens, looking north to new development abutting public gardens, April 2021. Photograph Sally Williams
2021
Paradise Gardens, July 2009. Photo: S Williams
2009
Paradise Gardens, September 2008. Photo: S Williams
2008
Plaque of Daniel Mendoza erected at Queen Mary College, unveiled by Sir Henry Cooper on 4 September 2008. Photo: S Williams
2008

Click a photo to enlarge.

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.