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Sidney Square Gardens Tower Hamlets

Sidney Square Gardens

Sidney Square, December 1999. Photo: S Williams

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Sidney Square was developed in the 1820s on former fields. Originally for the benefit of residents of the surrounding terraces, the central garden was purchased by the London County Council and opened to the public in 1904.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Sidney Square
Postcode: E1 > Google Map
Type of site: Garden Square; Public Gardens
Date(s): early C19th
Listed structures: LBII: 1-9 and 18-25 Sidney Square
Borough: Tower Hamlets
Site ownership: LB Tower Hamlets
Site management: Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Public transport: London Overground/Tube (District/Hammersmith & City): Whitechapel. Bus 25, 253
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

This area was developed for housing in the 1820s on fields to the west of what is now Jubilee Street that were owned by John Sidney Hawkins. In the C17th the fields belonged to Sir George Philpot of Mile End Manor House. Sidney Square was built as a companion to Ford Square (q.v.) and consisted of terraces of 3-storey houses of stock brick. In August 1852 Charles Coborn, the music hall comedian, was born at 25 Sidney Square. Originally provided for the benefit of residents of surrounding houses, the central gardens in both Sidney Square and Ford Square were purchased by the LCC under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act of 1877. The total cost was £13,231, less a contribution of £3,000 from the vendor, with LCC contributing £8,731 and Stepney Borough Council £1,500. The cost of adapting the two gardens was £685. Sidney Square Gardens opened to the public in May 1904. In 1928 the garden was described as 'A rectangular area laid out as a grass plot with some well-grown trees. Overlooked by dwelling-houses. Densely developed neighbourhood'. The north side of the square was bombed in WWII but the terraces on the east and west sides remain from the 1820s. The Sidney Street Estate either side of the square represents Stepney Borough Council's first house rebuilding after the war. The gardens were refurbished in the 1980s. There are perimeter paths and a number of notable plane trees remain in the garden.

Sources consulted:

Tom Ridge, Central Stepney History Walk, (Central Stepney Regeneration Board) 1998; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; Ford Square Sidney Square Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines, February 2007
Grid ref: TQ350815
Size in hectares: 0.1346
On EH National Register : No
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:
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: Yes
Conservation Area name: Ford Square Sidney Square
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Protected under London Squares Preservation Act of 1931

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