Quaker Gardens is all that remains of the former burial ground of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, on a site once part of Bunhill Fields that the Society purchased in 1661. The land was subsequently extended and thousands of Friends were buried here including George Fox, the Founder of the Society (d.1690). A school was built here in 1840 and in the corner of the garden is what remains of the Society’s Memorial Buildings, built in 1881. All but one wing of the building was demolished as a result of WWII bombing. The burial ground was closed in 1855 and in 1880 the Metropolitan Board of Works compulsorily purchased some of the land. It was eventually laid out as a recreation ground in 1965 within the GLC's Banner Street estate. In one corner is a playground and small enclosed garden of the Quakers' Horticultural Project, which runs horticultural therapy workshops. The garden has impressive mature plane trees and a few monuments. It has been substantially re-landscaped with new planting and seating in recent years.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2013
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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.
The burial ground was closed in 1855 and eventually laid out as a recreation ground in 1965 within the GLC's Banner Street estate, built 1964-7. At that time part of the burial ground was lost to road widening. Some c.5000 bodies were re-interred in Bunhill Fields (q.v.) originally leaving George Fox's grave marked by a stone, but this was later removed as it attracted too many people. Within the garden are 3 notable plane trees, two of which may be C18th. In one corner is a playground and small enclosed garden of the 'Quakers' Horticultural Project' which runs horticultural therapy workshops. The burial ground is surrounded by estates by wall/railings with access from Banner Street to the north. In the north-west corner is the Society of Friends' Memorial Building built in 1881 by W W Lee, one wing of which remains, the rest demolished in WWII.
A plaque has the following inscription: 'These BUILDINGS stand on part of the OLD BUNHILL FIELDS BURIAL GROUND The First FREEHOLD possessed by LONDON FRIENDS used by them for BURIALS during nearly TWO HUNDRED YEARS it was closed to such Purposes in 1855 in 1880 the Metropolitan Board of Works purchased parts of the PROPERTY for widening STREETS from which and also from the Site of these Premises all remains of Interments being first carefully removed were re-interred in the GROUND adjoining And out of the PROCEEDS of such compulsory Sales these BUILDINGS with their HALLS COFFEE-TAVERN CLUB and COMMITTEE ROOMS have been built. Near this Spot GEORGE FOX was interred in 1690. previously EDWARD BURROUGH and some NINETY other MARTYR FRIENDS Who died in LONDON PRISONS HAD BEEN BURIED HERE. [for] the memory of these Ancient Worthies and for the furtherance of RELIGIOUS MORAL and PHILANTHROPIC OBJECTS are these BUILDINGS now DEDICATED by The SOCIETY of FRIENDS in LONDON [.. . . ] hope thereby to promote the best Welfare & Happiness of the surrounding Population. London 10 M 1881.'
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008)