|Festival Gardens||City of London|
The Festival Gardens were laid out in 1951 by Sir Albert Richardson for the Corporation of London's contribution to the Festival of Britain. The layout, which followed the ground plan of pre-war buildings destroyed as a result of WWII bombing, consisted of a sunken lawn with a wall fountain, donated by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, surrounded by a raised paved terrace with stone parapets and seating, planting in tubs and a number of trees including a lime hedge. The circular Festival Information Kiosk that was originally sited here was re-erected in nearby Carter Lane Garden in 1955, but since removed.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/03/2015
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Festival Gardens, November 2002. Photo: S Williams
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The Festival Gardens were laid out south-east of St Paul's Cathedral in 1951 by Sir Albert Richardson for the Corporation of London's contribution to the Festival of Britain, following the ground-plan of pre-war buildings on whose foundations it stood. The site was formerly that of Old Change, a street dating from 1293 onwards. The formal layout consists of a sunken lawn with wall fountain water feature, a gift of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners in 1951, surrounded by raised paved terrace with stone parapets and seating, with planting in tubs and a number of trees including a lime hedge and a fine catalpa. An Information Pavilion was originally positioned east of the Festival Gardens but in 1955 was moved to nearby Carter Lane Garden (q.v.), where it has now been replaced by a new information building. In the west on the upper terrace of Festival Gardens is a sculpture, 'The Young Lovers' by Georg Ehrlich (1897-1960), installed here in 1973. Some re-landscaping of the gardens was undertaken in 2012 as part of a wider project to improve the setting of St Paul's and create a high quality public space reflecting the significance of this location. In Festival Gardens the level of the soil was raised to create a sloping lawn that is now fully accessible from the pavement.
The re-landscaping works included improvements to Carter Lane Garden and also the creation of a new public garden to the west of the Festival Gardens, an area formerly used for coach parking for St Paul's. Named the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Garden, this opened in March 2012 and has predominantly herbaceous planting to provide seasonal interest, with box hedges delineating walkways and new lawn areas. Over 200 lavenders were planted by the St Paul's Choir school. The garden also has a number of works of art, a memorial to John Donne, poet and former Dean of St Paul’s, by artist Nigel Boonham, and a highly-reflective stainless steel sculpture, 'Amicale' by sculptor Paul Mount (1922-2009), which was made in 2007 and erected here in March 2012. A second, related sculpture by Mount is installed across the road to the south.
Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); F E Cleary, 'The Flowering City', The City Press, 1969; B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992; St Paul's Cathedral Conservation Area SPD, 2013