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Drury Lane Gardens Westminster


Drury Lane Gardens is a small public garden created in 1877 on the site of a former burial ground of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the first burial ground to be made into a public garden in Westminster following closure as a result of the Burial Acts, in this case due to the intervention of Octavia Hill. The mortuary and lodge survive either side of the entrance, together with C19th gate piers. The raised garden is largely taken up with a playground, sports court and hard landscaping but also has a seating area shaded by a pergola, with shrubberies and bedding displays. A number of tombstones are ranged along the northern boundary.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
St Martin in the Fields Burial Ground

Site location:
Drury Lane, Covent Garden

WC2B 5TB ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Gardens



Listed structures:
LBII: Mortuary, lodge, gate piers


Site ownership:

Site management:
Parks Service (contractor: Continental Landscapes Ltd)

Open to public?

Opening times:
8am - dusk

Special conditions:
No dogs, adults admitted to playground if accompanying a child

Children's playground, children's/disabled toilet, multi-use games area.


Public transport:
Tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly), Leicester Square (Northern, Piccadilly), Temple (District & Circle). Bus: 1, 59, 68, 171, 188, 243

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

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:

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:

In Conservation Area:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:

Fuller information

Mrs Basil Holmes reported that before it closed for burial, this former burial ground of St Martin-in-the-Fields (q.v.) 'was so disgustingly overcrowded that no burials could take place there without the disturbance of other bodies, which were crowded into pits dug in the ground, and covered with boards'. It was the first burial ground to be made into a public garden in Westminster following closure as a result of the Burial Acts of 1852 and subsequent years, in this case due to the intervention of social reformer and philanthropist Octavia Hill, and was undertaken by St Martin-in-the-Fields Vestry. By that time four other public gardens had been formed from burial grounds, St Botolph's Bishopsgate, St George in the East and its adjoining Wesleyan graveyard, St John's Waterloo and St Pancras Old Churchyard with the adjoining St Giles in the Fields burial ground (q.q.v.). The red brick Gothic mortuary and lodge together with the linking gate piers of 1880 survive and are listed; they may have been designed by Elijah Hoole whose patroness was Hill, and who was responsible for designing the cottages and hall adjacent to Red Cross Garden (q.v.), for which Hill was also responsible.

Drury Lane Gardens contains a number of tombstones ranged along the northern boundary wall; steps from the entrance gates lead to a seating area shaded by a pergola, with shrubbery and bedding displays. The garden is largely occupied by a children's playground and a sports court, and also has a drinking fountain in the garden. Green Flag winner.

Sources consulted:

Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 6: Westminster', (Yale University Press, 2003); Mrs Basil Holmes, 'The London Burial Grounds', 1896.

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