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Cutlers Gardens (Devonshire Sq) City of London


Cutlers Gardens, a C20th office, retail and residential development with generous landscaping, is on a historic site. From C2nd to C4th the area was used for burials and later rubbish pits; in the C10th the land was granted to 13 medieval knights, known as the Cnihtengild, who held it until 1108 when Holy Trinity Priory was founded at Aldgate and the monks had a convent garden here. This was built over by the C16th and by 1700 the area was covered with tenements, workshops and small industries. In 1768 the East India Company began purchasing land here and built warehouses, expanding its property over the years. In 1833 the Company's trade monopoly with China ended and St Katharine's Dock Company purchased the warehouses, which in 1909 transferred to the Port of London Authority who used them until 1976. Commercial development of the site began in 1978, a combination of new build and restoration of some of the old buildings, with generous landscaping part of the scheme.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
East India Company Warehouses

Site location:
Devonshire Square/Cutler Street/Harrow Place

E1 ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Housing/Estate Landscaping


1978-82: Russell Page

Listed structures:
LBII: former PLA warehouses and gate piers to warehouses on Cutler Street

City of London

Site ownership:
Devonshire Sq Management

Site management:
Devonshire Sq Management

Open to public?

Opening times:
private but publicly accessible Mon-Fri, 7am-c.10pm

Special conditions:

Numerous restaurants, bars, shops


Public transport:
Tube: Liverpool Street (Central, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle). Rail: Liverpool Street.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

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:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:
City Walkway Network

Cutlers Gardens (Devonshire Sq)

Cutlers Gardens, courtyard of Central Court with Sculpture commemorating Cnihtengild, May 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

Cutlers Gardens, now renamed Devonshire Sq. is an office development with generous landscaping on the historic site of East India Company Warehouses. The area from the C2nd to C4th was used for burials and later as rubbish pits. In c.959-979 AD King Edgar had granted land here, known as Portsoken, to the Cnihtengild, 13 medieval knights who were required to undertake three tasks, on land, water and below ground. The knights gave up the land when the Holy Trinity Priory was founded at Aldgate in 1108, and the monks used part of the site for their convent garden. By the C16th this garden was built over by housing and by 1700 Cutlers Gardens was covered with tenements, craft workshops and small industries. In 1768 the East India Company purchased land to the south of New Street and in 1769/71 its Old Bengal Warehouse was built; additional land was purchased and more buildings were added to the east in 1792-1800, and the complex was further extended in the south-west in c.1820 by which time it covered some 2.025 hectares. The buildings were designed by the Company's successive surveyors, who included Richard Jupp, George Wyatt, Henry Holland and S P Cockerell. In 1833 the Company's monopoly of trade with China had ended and in 1836 the St Katharine's Dock Company purchased the warehouses. In 1909 they were purchased by the Port of London Authority who used them until 1976. In 1978 Greycoat Estates Ltd and The Standard Life Assurance Company purchased and began development of the site largely for offices, with a combination of new build and restoration of some of the old buildings by architects Richard Seifert and Partners. Gates and railings were designed by Quinlan Terry, and the development won The Times Award for Archaeology in 1981 and other awards from the City Heritage Society and the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association in 1982. The development was opened as Cutlers Gardens by the Lord Mayor, but has since been renamed Devonshire Sq.

Landscaped courtyards were part of the overall scheme, designed by Russell Page. From the main entrance an avenue paved with cobble setts was laid out in a fan-shape motif, either side of which were miniature hornbeams in raised beds planted with ivy. The main courtyard, Central Court, had plane trees and, set into an area of grass, a sculpture by Denys Mitchell commissioned by Standard Life Assurance Co., commemorating the 13 knights. It was unveiled on 21 November 1990 by the Lord Mayor of London. West Court originally had formal landscaping with a cobbled surface, lime trees in ivy-covered beds, flower beds, shrubs, tubs with laurels bushes and a fountain at the south end with 6 illuminated miniature fountains as well as further flower beds of box-hedged roses and laurel trees. Initially managed by Knight Frank, management of the estate was taken over by Devonshire Sq, some re-landscaping undertaken and provision of a range of catering, retail and other visitor facilities.

Sources consulted:

Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Penelope Hunting 'Cutlers Gardens', 1994 (commissioned by The Standard Life Assurance Co)

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