Inventory Site Record

Cavendish Square Gardens

Cavendish Square Gardens (Westminster)


Cavendish Square was the first part of the development of this part of Marylebone, undertaken by Edward Harley, the second Earl of Oxford. The central circular area contained grass, on which sheep once grazed, but it was laid out as a garden by Charles Bridgeman in 1717. It was originally provided for the private use of occupants of Cavendish Square but was opened to the public in the C20th.

Basic Details
Site location:
Cavendish Square, Marylebone
Type of site:
Garden Square; Public Gardens
1717, 1970
Charles Bridgeman (C18th), Michael Brown (1970s)
Listed structures:
LBII*: Nos. 3, 11, 14 including bridge, 18. LBII: Nos. 1, 1A, 4, 5 & 7 with attached railings, 15, 16, 17 & 20; statue of Lord Bentinck.
Site ownership:
Westminster City Council
Site management:
Parks Service (contractor: Continental Landscapes Ltd)
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Oxford Circus (Central, Bakerloo, Victoria)

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2007
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:
Harley Street
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
London Square
Fuller information

The name of Cavendish Square comes from the Earl's wife Henrietta Cavendish-Hollace. It was laid out by the Earl's surveyor John Prince in 1717, and is subject to an Act of Parliament of 1795. The Horwood Map of 1819 shows a circular outer path, linking elliptical paths, as at present, and the axis to Hanover Square (q.v.). Until the late C19th the garden contained a statue of the Duke of Cumberland, who had defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden. Now open to the public, the garden was originally reserved for the use of rated inhabitants of houses in Cavendish Square. In 1928, although owned by Lord Howard de Walden, the communal garden was managed and maintained by a Committee of inhabitants appointed under the Metropolis Management Act of 1855 out of rates levied by St Marylebone Borough Council on the occupants of the surrounding houses. It was described at that time as a circular enclosure surrounded by privet hedge and thick shrubbery 'laid out as an ornamental garden with well-kept lawns, flower beds and shrubs' and with 'some fine trees'. Construction of an underground car park in 1970 resulted in new railings and walls being placed around the centre of the square; construction also involved felling trees at the corners of the square, which was re-landscaped by Michael Brown. The bronze statue of Lord George Bentinck at the south end of the square garden is by Thomas Campbell, 1851.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West', (1991, reprint 1999); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

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