Nightingale Gardens were laid out on former rural open space between 1894 and 1913, linking the slightly earlier public gardens of Avenue Gardens to the south and Trinity Gardens to the north. The site was enlarged at the north east corner by 1956 and the path at the north end was subsequently realigned to its present position and the formal rose garden with rough artificial stone walls and crazy paving paths was created.
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A hamlet known as Woodleigh existed here from Saxon times, linked to London by a track that took much the same route as today's Green Lanes, the section of which that runs through Wood Green now named High Road. Bounds Green Road existed as an old route from the C14th. The land in this area probably formed part of the large Bowes Farm Manor Estate, granted by Henry IV to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral in 1412. From the late C18th part of the estate north of Bounds Green Road became the extensive Wood Green Farm, to the south of which was the Bakersfield Estate, owned by the Prioress of Kilburn until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1544, and the Nightingale Hall Farm Estate. The Nightingale Estate was created in 1769 from two older estates, Woodreddings and Austynredding; in 1843 its then owner Mary Ann Woodward purchased the Bakersfield Estate. The New River ran through part of Wood Green on its course from Hertfordshire to the New River Head (q.v.) in Islington, its route here still recalled by the chain of open spaces that run south from Myddelton Road at the point where it was culverted in the mid C19th, much of it former commonland, passing through allotments, public gardens and green corridors to Nightingale Gardens. The New River was constructed in 1609-13 by Sir Hugh Myddelton to bring a fresh water supply into London. The areas through which the New River passed often attracted wealthy Londoners to build country retreats nearby, attracted by the rural surroundings.
Wood Green remained largely farmland until the mid C19th. The area then began to be built over to house the growing population, development particularly encouraged following the arrival of the railways and stations opening in the locality. In 1852 the Finsbury Freehold Land Society purchased 92 acres of Wood Green Farm for housing development. At the same time large houses were also being built in the area and public amenities, schools and churches were gradually provided. The area of Nightingale Gardens, however, remained unbuilt upon. In 1894 Wood Green Urban District Council was established, and it was following this that the series of public gardens were laid out, including Nightingale Gardens, Trinity Gardens, Avenue Gardens and Crescent Gardens (q.q.v.). A more or less rectangular, flat site running south from Bounds Green Road, it is set between the back gardens of two terraces, Park Avenue and Braemar Avenue. Park Avenue to the east was a tree-lined street laid out from 1879 that linked Wood Green with the new Alexandra Palace and Park (q.v.). Braemar Avenue to the west includes early C20th buildings, including the Edwardian Wood Green Baptist Church, built in 1907 to the designs of architects George Baines & Son, which is situated adjacent to the north-west corner of Nightingale Gardens, surrounded by its garden. The strip of gardens was laid out between 1894 and 1913, linking the slightly earlier Avenue Gardens to the south and Trinity Gardens to the north. Avenue Gardens had to be reached by a subway under the railway lines until some time between 1956 and 1983 when Palace Gate station was closed and Avenue and Nightingale Gardens are now linked by a grassy area.
Nightingale Gardens were enlarged to the present extent by the addition of land at the north east corner between 1935 and 1956. Following this the path at the north end was realigned to its present position and the formal rose garden with rough artificial stone walls and crazy paving paths was created. The serpentine paths at the southern end essentially follow the line of the 1914 layout. The original formal beds and much of the shrubberies have disappeared and most of the site is laid to turf; sites of old beds are visible as slight depressions. The planting today comprises shrubs under trees, which include horse chestnuts from the original planting and a fern-leafed beech in the north-east corner on the east boundary, and younger trees, mostly silver birch and lime, on the west boundary. There are three large poplars over 100 years old at the south end.
Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Ltd, 'Trinity Gardens Conservation Area Character Appraisal' (LB Haringey, 2008)