World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Squares in London

Article Id: WHEBN0005641003
Reproduction Date:

Title: Squares in London  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Soho Square, London Square (disambiguation), Garden square, London architecture, Squares in London
Collection: London Architecture, Squares in London
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Squares in London

St. James's Square, c. 1722
Fitzroy Square

Squares have long been a feature of London.

A few, such as Trafalgar Square, were built as public open spaces, like the squares found in many cities, known as a plaza, piazza, platz, etc. Most, however, were garden squares, originally built as private communal gardens for use by the inhabitants of the surrounding houses. This type of space is most prevalent in central London, but squares are also found in the suburbs. Some of these gardens are now open to the public, while others, for example around Notting Hill, are still fenced and private.


  • Name and shape 1
  • History 2
  • Notable garden squares 3
  • Squares as landmarks 4
  • List of Greater London squares 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Name and shape

"Square" is a generic term for these urban open spaces; some are not actually square, or even rectangular. One reason for this is the use of a local nickname for the street, park or garden in question. Another is that some older squares were irregularly shaped to begin with, or lost their original layout due to the city's many transformations, not least following the Great Fire of London and The Blitz.

Each London Borough has rules which have been drawn up prevent inappropriate street names being used to designate new developments or to rename existing features — the general requirement for new squares in London is that they be rectangular and be to some extent open.[1] Billiter Square, EC3 and Millennium Square, SE1 are examples of squares which do not satisfy these guidelines.

Some are entirely paved (Granary Square), while others are almost completely grass and trees (Russell Square). Some have the word "square" in their name, while others do not. Increasingly, spaces are being constructed that are legally private, although in practice open to the public (Paternoster Square). At the other extreme, London's growth over the centuries has encompassed several village greens such as Newington Green, which serve as council-run open spaces in the midst of dense housing. This category of urban green space then begins to shade in to the parks for which London is justly famous.


The making of residential squares fell into decline in the early twentieth century, one of the last notable such squares having been designed by Edwin Lutyens for Hampstead Garden Suburb. Numerous squares were in danger of being used as building sites. This was banned by the London Squares Act of 1931.[2] But in the last quarter of the twentieth century a fashion for making office squares developed. This trend was led by the Broadgate development. The new London Square development indicates a minor revival in the development of new wholly residential squares. However, as a mixed-use focal area squares have become a resurgent planning design, this is reflected for instance by Times Square, Sutton or Canada Square in Canary Wharf.

Since 1998, numerous squares and other private gardens have been open to the paying public due to an initiative by Caroline Aldiss. This is called the "London open Garden Square Weekend" and takes place on the second weekend in June.[3] The event is organised by the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, in Gordon Square.[4]

The parks can be split into garden squares and other squares.

Notable garden squares

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.