|Cleary Garden||City of London|
Cleary Garden is a terraced garden originally created following bomb damage in WWII. A plaque records Joseph Brandis, member of the Cordwainers Company, who created the garden on the bomb-site. The area originally housed Roman baths and in the Middle Ages vintners used the site for trading and growing vines. The garden was later named after Frederick Cleary, Chairman of the MPGA, when it was re-landscaped in 1985-88 with pergolas on a number of levels, paved areas and seating, sloping lawn and a wide variety of planting. In 2007 the garden underwent major re-refurbishment as the Loire Valley Wines Legacy Garden with vines and aromatic plants evoking the wines of the Loire region.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
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Cleary Garden, June 2010. Photo: S Williams
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Cleary Garden is a modern terraced garden sloping down alongside Huggin Hill to the east, a series of steps leading to the different levels, each of which represents an era of London's history. The lowest level represents Roman, then medieval, the Fire, Victorian and Modern at street level. Huggin Hill was so-called from at least around 1260, when it was called 'Hoggenelane', being a place where hogs were kept; it has also been referred to as Sporones Lane. Near the gardens, at the bottom of Huggin Hill, is part of the retaining wall of Roman Baths, discovered in 1964, probably built on terraces dug into the hillside overlooking the river, fed by clear spring water. They were probably built c.80AD, later extended but demolished by the end of the C3rd. In the Middle Ages vintners used the site for trading and growing vines.
The site was laid out as a public open space after WWII bomb damage in the blitz of 1940 destroyed much of the area including the house on the site, exposing the cellars. A plaque in the garden records Joseph Brandis, member of the Cordwainers Company, who created the original garden on the bomb-site, collecting mud from river banks and bringing soil from his Walthamstow garden. His new garden was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on 29 July 1949. It was re-landscaped in 1985-88, when the layout included pergolas on a number of levels, paved areas and seating, and a sloping lawn; planting included a variety of trees, palms and shrubs. It was funded by the Metropolitan Public Garden Association for its centenary, and plaques commemorating the MPGA 1882-1982 were located in the gardens, which were named after Frederick Cleary (1905-1984). Cleary was Chairman of the MPGA and a member of the Court of Common Council from 1959-1984. A keen advocate for open spaces in the City, he planted a golden acacia in the gardens on 28 July 1982. In 2006 a bed of Yatsuka Tree Peonies was planted next to the top pergola, presented to the City by the Japanese Island of Daikonjima as a symbol of goodwill.
In 2007 the garden was substantially refurbished under the Loire Valley Wines Legacy Garden scheme, which included planting of vines, aromatic shrubs, flowering plants and climbers. The gardens have received various awards, including Floral Award from the Company of Gardeners in 1998; Small Public Garden Square first prize in London Garden Squares Competition, 2007.
In 2010 the City of London and British Land collaborated in 'Beyond the Hive', an architectural competition to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity. The design brief called for proposals for 'Insect Hotels': ecologically sustainable and creative insect habitats, and resulted in five finalists. The winning entries were built during June 2010 in 5 public gardens in the City: Bunhill Fields, Postman's Park, West Smithfield Garden, St Dunstan-in-the-East (q.q.v.) and Cleary Garden. Here the 'Beevarian Antsel & Gretal Chalet' designed by the 'German Women in Property' was the winner of the public vote.
B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992; Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); City Garden Walks leaflet, Corporation of London, 2007