The Landscape Guide

London Squares

The first London Squares (e.g. Covent Garden, Lincoln's Inn Fields and Soho Square) were laid out in the seventeenth century and, following their Italian Predecessors, were mostly paved. During the eighteenth century new squares were laid out (e.g. Portman Square, Hanover Square, Cavendish Square and Manchester Square) and planted with forest trees and shrubs. During the nineteenth century more planting took place and more squares were laid out (e.g. Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Russell Square and Trafalgar Square). The great period of square building came to an end after 1850. In the twentieth centrury London's square, with their fine buildings, iron railings, plane trees and rich planting, have been seen as an ideal of civilised urban living. The following are of particular interest: Russell Square and Cadogan Square were originally designed by Humphrey Repton; Lincoln's Inn Fields is the oldest survivor; Trafalgar Square was designed in the Italian style by Charles Barry and subsequently embellished with lions by Landseer and fountains by Lutyens; St. James's Square, occupied by six dukes and seven earls in 1721, is still beautifully maintained; Cavendish Square was redesigned by Michael Brown after an underground car park was built in 1971; and Fitzroy Square has been re-designed by John Brooks.

Return to Homepage