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St John Zachary Garden (Goldsmiths' Garden) City of London

Summary

The Goldsmiths' Garden is on the site of the churchyard and medieval church of St John Zachary, which was damaged in the Great Fire. Part of its steeple was demolished and the church probably ceased to be used at that time, although part of the ruins remained until the C19th. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths had acquired land here in 1339, and built the earliest recorded Livery Hall. After part of the Company's property was demolished in WWII, the site was first laid out as a garden in 1941, redesigned in later years. The former churchyard is to the west, a raised garden with a number of gravestones and trees. Steps lead down to the excavated site of the church, laid out as a sunken garden with lawn, hard surround and seating against the retaining wall. A central fountain was installed in 1995 and a sculpture relocated here from New Street Square in 2009.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
St John Zachary; Gresham Street Public Gardens

Site location:
Gresham Street/Noble Streeet

Postcode:
EC2 ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Gardens

Date(s):
C12th onwards; 1941; 1962; 1995

Designer(s):
1962: Peter Shepheard; 1995 Anne Jennings

Listed structures:
LBI and SAM: Goldsmiths' Hall

Borough:
City of London

Site ownership:
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths/Diocese of London (former churchyard)

Site management:
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
unrestricted

Special conditions:

Facilities:

Events:

Public transport:
Tube: St Paul's (Central)

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:
TQ322814

Size in hectares:
0.0655

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

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:
No

In Conservation Area:
No

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
No

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
None

St John Zachary Garden (Goldsmiths' Garden)

St John Zachary Garden, Site of Church, May 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

The Goldsmiths' Garden is on the site of the church and churchyard of St John Zachary, a medieval church recorded from at least the C12th when a pre-existing church was given by the Canons of St Paul's to the monk Zachary. It was damaged in the Great Fire and part of the steeple demolished, and it probably ceased to be used at that time, the parish amalgamating with that of St Ann and St Agnes, although part of the ruins remained until the C19th. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths had acquired land here in 1339, building what is the earliest recorded Livery Hall; the current Goldsmiths' Hall across Gresham Street to the south was built in 1829/35 on the site of a previous hall.

After part of the Company's property was demolished in World War II, the site was laid out as a garden in 1941 by firewatchers, which won the Best Garden on a Blitzed Site in 1950 under a post-war initiative by the Gardeners' Company. In c.1962 the garden was redesigned by Peter Shepheard and a photograph of the 1960s shows layout in two areas, the west section which was the site of the former churchyard raised above street level, simply laid out and with a number of gravestones from St John Zachary and two large planes. Steps lead down to the east section of the garden, which had been the site of the church has been excavated and lies below street level and consists of a rectangular lawn with one catalpa tree, with a hard surround and public seating set against the retaining wall. Improvement works in 1995/6 by Anne Jennings included a new layout by the Gardeners' Company, a water fountain donated by the Constructors' Company with new planting and relaying of flagstones by the Goldsmiths' Company and lighting by the Lightmongers' Company. The work was part-funded from the Corporation of London's City Changes scheme. The arch at the entrance to the west section on Gresham Street, with Leopard's Head as its central feature, was made by apprentices at the Rural Development Commission in Salisbury, whose work was managed by the Blacksmiths' Company.

In 2009, a sculpture entitled 'Three Printers' c.1957 by Wilfred Dudeney was re-located in the sunken garden. Commissioned for New Street Square by the Westminster Press Group, the sculpture represents the newspaper process, with a newsboy, a printer and an editor. When New Street Square was being redeveloped in an office scheme by Bennett Architects for Land Securities, the Goldsmiths' Company, as the freeholders of the square, moved the sculpture to their garden at Gresham Street.

Sources consulted:

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 View' Issue 28, September 1996; London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data; F E Cleary, 'The Flowering City', The City Press, 1969

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