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Mount Street Gardens Westminster

Summary

Mount Street Gardens are on the site of an important early Georgian cemetery built as a result of the 1711 Fifty New Churches Act. The site was acquired by the newly-formed church of St George's Hanover Square as a burial ground in 1723. Few burials took place after 1831 and it closed in 1854. Like other urban cemeteries the former burial ground was later converted into a public garden. It was laid out in 1889 with plants, paths and a small fountain designed by Ernest George and Harold Peto. Its name changed to Mount Street Gardens from Mount Field, called after English Civil War fortifications here known as Oliver's Mount. The layout has little changed since 1889, retaining its late C19th gate piers at one entrance. Around 90 sponsored benches line the paths, almost all of which were donated by Americans due to the proximity of the US Embassy.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
St George's Hanover Square

Site location:
Mount Street, South Audley Street, Farm Street, Mayfair

Postcode:
W1 ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Gardens

Date(s):
1723, 1889-90

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
LBII*: Church of Immaculate Conception. LBII: South Audley Street entrance gate piers, 2 lead cisterns, fountain

Borough:
Westminster

Site ownership:
Grosvenor Estate

Site management:
WCC Parks Service (Contractors: Continental Landscapes Ltd)

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
8am - dusk
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 3 times, most recently in 2005.

Special conditions:
dogs on leads

Facilities:

Events:

Public transport:
Tube: Green Park (Victoria, Piccadilly, Jubilee); Marble Arch (Central). Bus: 2, 10, 16, 36, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 414, 436

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2007
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.westminster.gov.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ284805

Size in hectares:
0.6

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

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:
No

In Conservation Area:
Yes

Conservation Area name:
Mayfair

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
Yes

Other LA designation:
None

Fuller information

The cemetery of St George's Hanover Square was built as a direct result of the 1711 'Act for Building...fifty new churches...and for purchasing of Sites of Churches and Church-yards, and Burying-places, in or near the Cities of London and Westminster...' It is one of the 'necklace' of London's early C18th 'cemeteries' (i.e. a burial ground not in the shadow of a church). The 1.5 acre site was acquired by the newly-formed church of St George's Hanover Square as a burial ground in 1723. Few burials took place in the grounds after 1831 and it was closed in 1854. Like many overcrowded churchyards in London, its closure came as a result of the first Burial Act of 1852 and its subsequent amendments during the 1850s. The Metropolitan Open Spaces Acts of 1877 and 1881 and the Disused Burial Grounds Act of 1884, later extended under the Metropolitan Open Spaces Act of 1887, enabled 'open spaces and burial grounds in the Metropolis for the use of the inhabitants thereof for exercise and recreation'. Like other early C18th urban cemeteries the site remained largely unplanted and was converted into a public garden in 1889-90, when it was cleansed, and laid out as gardens and adorned 'with plants, shrubs and a small fountain...given in 1891...[and] designed by Ernest George and [Harold] Peto'. It was designed for estate agent Henry Lofts and was restored in 2005 through the efforts of local residents of St James and Mayfair.

The garden changed its name to Mount Street Gardens from the nearby road, which itself is named from Mount Field that contained remains of Civil War fortifications in the form of Oliver's Mount. The layout of the garden has little changed since 1889 and retains its late C19th gate piers at the entrance from South Audley Street. There are two ornamental lead cisterns inscribed 'T.F. 1728' in the gardens, and planting includes fine mature London plane trees and a variety of smaller trees, shrubs and ornamental flower beds. There are around 90 sponsored benches lining the paths, almost all of which were donated by Americans due to the close proximity of the United States Embassy. There is a bird bath, also sponsored. Adjacent at the east end of the gardens is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which was built between 1844 - 1849 to the designs of J.J. Scoles and the altar was designed by Pugin.

Mount Street Gardens was a Winner of the London Gardens Society Public Large Squares Award for 2002. It has been a Green Flag Award winner since 2007.

Sources consulted:

Survey of London, xl, pp. 298, 300, 318-19. London Garden Squares Day booklet 2003; WCC Mount Street Gardens Management Plan 2007-2012

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