This square was developed from 1889, and was originally called McKay Square. By 1928 it was renamed Nightingale Square, after Nightingale Lane, an old country lane so-called for the song of nightingales heard here. The central garden was for the use of residents of surrounding houses who paid an annual sum towards its maintenance. Largely grass, the garden has a boundary privet hedge and is planted with holly, London plane and other trees, with a small stone fountain in the centre.
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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.
Photo: Nightingale Square Garden Management Committee
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Nightingale Lane was once a country lane, so-called for the song of nightingales heard here. In the C19th there were a number of mansions in the area set in their own grounds and pastureland. One such was Fernside to the south of the current square, which was built in 1811 and had a bowling Green, ornamental lake and ice house. To the north-west was Ferndale House estate built 1897, the house now Nightingale House Jewish Home. The Square was developed from 1889, originally called McKay Square, with the north-west and north-east corners built first by George Freeman of West Hampstead. At the west end a lodge house was built in 1890 for Madame de Robiano and in 1897 the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost was built, designed by Leonard Stokes, next to which was a convent. The central garden was for the use of tenants and then owners of surrounding houses who paid an annual sum (£1 in 1906) towards the maintenance of the garden. It is edged by privet hedge and has two entrance gates. It is planted with holly, London plane and other trees, and has a small stone fountain in the centre.
LGSD information sheet; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928