Norfolk Crescent, together with Oxford and Cambridge Squares, was created on the site of the earlier, much larger Stanhope Square. The area was within the Bishop of London's extensive Paddington Estate and was developed from 1838 as part of estate surveyor George Gutch's 'Final Plan for Tybernia'. The form of the garden is intact although the surrounding area was redeveloped in the 1960s. Nowadays the garden contains notable mature London plane trees, modern bedding, a central privet-hedged enclosure and modern railings.
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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.
Land to the north of Hyde Park was for centuries farmland owned by the Church of England, the area known as Tyburnia after the river Tyburn that flows underground. It was at Tyburn Gallows at Marble Arch that public executions were held until 1783. The development of the Bishop of London's large Paddington Estate began after that, with an early masterplan drawn up by Samuel Pepys Cockerell (1754-1827), the estate surveyor, possibly begun in 1805 although 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' in 1838. Norfolk Crescent, Oxford Square and Cambridge Square (q.q.v.) were created on the site of the much larger Stanhope Square, which was laid out pre-1834. Nowadays the form of the gardens are intact but the surrounding buildings were rebuilt from 1963 as part of a plan drawn up in 1957 by Anthony Minoprio of Minoprio & Spenceley with P W Macfarlane, with more detailed design by C H Elsom in 1965. In 1928 the garden of Norfolk Crescent, still owned by the Paddington Estate Trustees, was provided for the use of residents of adjoining houses and 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 'surrounded by a sparse hedge and attractively laid out'.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West', (Penguin Books, 1999 ed), p.687; Gordon Toplis, The History of Tyburnia, Country Life 15, 22 November 1973; The Victoria History of the County of Middlesex, vol. IX, 1989, p. 196-197; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928