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Vincent Square Westminster
Summary: Originally part of Tothill Fields, in mediaeval times the area was apparently used for military practice and there were plague pits here. Terraced houses existed in nearby Rochester Row by the 1790s. Vincent Square is named after Dr William Vincent (d.1815), former Dean of Westminster and Master of Westminster School. The centre of the square became a playground for Westminster School in 1810, enclosed by railings in 1842. Westminster School originated as a small charity school provided by Westminster Abbey's Benedictine monks in c.1179. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the school's continuation was ensured by a statute of Henry VIII of 1540 and it was granted a charter by Elizabeth I in 1560. Set to turf, there are large London plane trees around the perimeter and a lodge in the south corner of c.1920, with stone gate piers, and also a large half-timbered sports pavilion.
Previous / Other name: Westminster School Playing Fields
Site location: Vincent Square, Westminster
Postcode: SW1 > Google Map
Type of site: Institutional Grounds
Date(s): late C18th, early C19th
Listed structures: LBII*: Westminster College. LBII: Royal Horticultural Society Old Hall; Nos. 3 & 4; 7 & 8; 84 & 85; 86 Vincent Square; Nos
Borough: Westminster
Site ownership: Westminster School
Site management: Westminster School
Open to public? No
Opening times: private, school use only
Special conditions:
Public transport: Rail/Tube (District, Circle, Victoria): Victoria
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2007
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

In 1907 E Beresford Chancellor described Vincent Square 'which is far removed from one's ordinary conception of a London square, covers indeed an area as large as that of Belgrave Square, but instead of the umbrageous central garden surrounded by wide roadways, the middle is a large bare field enclosed by the most uncompromising of iron railings'. The railings thus referred to were erected in 1842, but were later lost during WWII and have been replaced by net fencing. The square is overlooked by buildings that include the Royal Horticultural Society Old Hall, designed by E.J. Stebbs in 1904, as well as ranges of early C19th terraced houses, and the 1950s extension to the former Westminster Technical College.

Sources consulted:

E Beresford Chancellor, 'The History of London Squares' (1907)
Grid ref: TQ295788
Size in hectares:
On EH National Register : No
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:
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: Yes
Conservation Area name: Vincent Square
Tree Preservation Order: Yes
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation:

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