Cleveland Square was laid out in 1855 when the formerly rural area was being developed as part of the Paddington Estate. The stucco-fronted houses overlook the private garden provided for the residents. The present garden has play areas, bedding, a privet hedge, and fine London plane trees as well as mature plum and cherry trees. A serpentine path through the garden has Victorian edging tiles, a remnant of the original geometrical pattern shown on the OS Map of 1872. The railings are post-1960 with the entrance on the south side. A plaque commemorates a barrage balloon moored in the garden in WWII. A Jubilee Bed was planted in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2013
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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: Diana Jarvis
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Land to the north of Hyde Park was for centuries farmland owned by the Church of England and C18th and C19th maps show various farms here until the 1840s. The area was known as Tyburnia after the river Tyburn that flows underground; public executions were held at Tyburn Gallows at Marble Arch until 1783. The Bishop of London's large Paddington Estate extended west of Edgware Road and stretched up to Kilburn; it later passed to the Church Commissioners and in the late 1950s was one of the first parts of their holdings in the area to be sold off. The development of the Paddington Estate began in earnest in the 1840s, although an early masterplan drawn up by estate surveyor Samuel Pepys Cockerell (1754-1827) was possibly begun in 1805 but little was built until the 1820s. Cockerell was succeeded as estate surveyor by George Gutch (c.1790-1874), who modified and intensified the layout, and drew up his 'Final Plan of Tyburnia' with avenues and squares in 1838.
The Bayswater area was developed by a number of different speculators, although some of the earlier field boundaries, footpaths and tracks from the previous land use can still be traced. A roughly triangular area between Bayswater Road with Cleveland Gardens at the apex was developed by speculative builder Henry de Bruno Austin. Cleveland Square or Court was the name given to the courtyard in front of Cleveland House. Cleveland Square is virtually complete and most of the houses were built in the early 1850s, beneath it runs the Westbourne River, en route to Hyde Park. Along the north side of the square are stately 'back-to-front' (Pevsner's phrase) 6-storey plus basement stuccoed houses with terraces leading directly onto the garden, which is one of the largest in the area. Cleveland Square once rivalled Lancaster Gate as the most expensive address in Bayswater and notable residents included bankers Samuel Montagu and Lionel Rothschild. The flank wall for No.1 was built in 1845 by Sir Charles Barry but demolished in 1895. Nos 8-11 were demolished by bombing in WWII and rebuilt in the 1950s.
The OS map of 1872 shows the garden laid out in a geometrical pattern of which a serpentine path remains. In 1878, although the district in which Cleveland Square is situated was described in a local history as boasting 'goodly mansions, interspersed with gardens and enclosures filled with trees and shrubs' it was dismissed as being 'of too modern growth to have a history'. In 1928 the garden of Cleveland Square, still owned by the Paddington Estate Trustees and provided for the use of residents of adjoining houses, was managed by a Committee of occupants. The expenses of maintenance were assessed proportionately on each house, although the Trustees had the power to undertake maintenance in cases of neglect. It was described in 1928 as 'flanked on three sides by roads and on one side by the rear of houses. Surrounded by a thin hedge and laid out with lawns, shrubberies and some fine trees. Overlooked by dwelling-houses'. In WWII the railings were removed for the war effort though never used, and were reinstated in the 1960s, following which the gardens were restored.
The garden today has herbaceous borders, mature trees, large lawns and gravel paths based on the original Victorian design, and a newly designed central bed with herbaceous plants and roses. A cycle of bulbs has been planted to flower throughout half the year. A comprehensive list of plants is shown on the notice board at the entrance to the garden. In 2012 Cleveland Square won the Silver Award in the London Garden Squares 'large private square' category. Cleveland Gardens (q.v.) is a pendant to Cleveland Square located 75m to the north.
Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928; H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, London 1978; Survey of London xxx, 495; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West, (1991 reprint 1999), p.690; E. Harwood, Survey of Cleveland Square, WM489, 1988 (unpublished); Alan Baxter & Associates, Conservation Area Audit No 6, Bayswater, adopted by WCC as SPG 13 July 2000.
OGSW Cleveland Square sheet: LPGT Volunteer Research by Alyson Wilson, 2013