Wilton Crescent Garden * (Westminster)
* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens
Wilton Crescent was laid out as part of a largely intact planned development of houses and gardens on the Grosvenor Estate. The quadrant of houses forms a crescent encompassing a well-kept garden surrounded by C20th railings. The layout of the garden is little altered from that shown on the OS Map of 1869, with a large semi-circular lawn bounded by shrubberies, and a paved perimeter path. In the centre is a stone urn and several handsome cement planters of the 1930s.
- Site location:
- Wilton Crescent, Belgravia
- SW1X 8RX
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Garden Square
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Has opened for OGSW. Access to all residents & occupiers of Wilton Crescent, residents of Wilton Row, Wilton Place and adjacent mews
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 19 times, most recently in 2023.
- Special conditions:
- Temporary displays of public art from Cass Foundation Goodwood Sculpture Park
- Public transport:
- Tube: Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly) Bus: 2, 9, 10, 14, 16, 19, 22, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 414, 436
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.grosvenor-gardens.co.uk/WiltonCrescentGarden
Full Site Description
The Grosvenor Estate (Belgrave Square, Chester Square, Eaton Square and Wilton Crescent): 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.
Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Chester Square (q.q.v.) and Wilton Crescent were on land formerly known as Five Fields on the Grosvenor Estate's holdings in Belgravia. In 1677 the family had acquired c.121 hectares of land within the Manor of Ebury, but this area remained undeveloped and largely used for market gardening until the early C19th, due to its predominantly marshy nature. In 1821 Lord Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, commissioned his surveyor, Thomas Cundy, to revise an earlier unexecuted scheme produced by Thomas or James Wyatt in c.1812, for draining and developing the site immediately to the north of John Nash's remodelled Buckingham Palace (q.v.). Cundy's plan, which added Wilton Crescent to the planned Belgrave and Eaton Squares, was completed in 1825 and building leases were then sold, with the main developer being Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855). The overall plan comprised a series of squares and crescents connected by a spine road on the main axis and a subsidiary axis. Under the original agreement, Lord Grosvenor was responsible for the enclosing and planting of the gardens but not for the considerable site works necessary before any planting could begin. Cubitt solved the problem of the marshy ground by bringing earth excavated from St Katharine's Dock near the Tower of London in order to raise the height of the ground. Belgrave Square was the first square to be laid out early in 1826, followed by Wilton Crescent in 1827. Eaton Square, also begun in 1827 was not completed until 1853. Chester Square was the fourth square to be laid out but although it was planned in 1828 it was not begun until 1835.
Wilton Crescent was named for the 1st Earl of Wilton, who was the father-in-law of the 1st Marquess of Westminster. The terraces were built by Thomas Cubitt and W H Seth-Smith, and were refaced in stone in the early C20th by Balfour & Turner; their area railings have Arts and Crafts detailing. In 2004, Wilton Crescent Garden won 1st prize in its category in the London Garden Society competition. In c.2005 the Garden Committee embarked on a replanting programme, and today the garden is planted in a white theme. Wilton Crescent Garden was awarded a Highly Commended in the London Garden Squares Competition in 2010.
Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993), p.965; Jones & Woodward, p. 165; Harold Clunn, the Face of London (c1950), p.372; Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 6: Westminster', (Yale University Press, 2003)
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ281795 (528117,179569)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- Grosvenor Estate
- Site management:
- Grosvenor Estate Gardens Department /Garden Committee
- Thomas Cubitt and subsequently W.H. Seth-Smith
- Listed structures:
- LBII: C19th houses
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- NHLE grade:
- Grade II
- 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:
Wilton Crescent - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 10/06/18 10:19
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.