London Garden Squares Open Weekend

The London Parks & Gardens Trust hosts the annual London-wide open weekend to celebrate the city's garden squares. There are 600 squares in London, in various states of repair. The trust encourages people to enjoy the squares in London, and so raise public support for restoring more of them to their former glory.

The organisers put a huge effort into making the gardens appealing and enjoyable for the visitors. Entertainments included Punch & Judy shows, live music and even Tai Chi taster sessions. Most of the squares offered refreshments to encourage the visitors to linger and absorb the atmosphere.

London Square restoration campaign

As listed areas, restoration is not an easy task - the squares' railings, design and features have to comply with strict regulations. For example, the railings - many of which were melted down during WW2 for ammunition have to be reinstated in their former, period-dependent design. The 'before and after' photos of restored squares show that this effort is definitely worth-while.

The capital has gown at such a pace that provision for green and outdoor community spaces has often been overlooked in favour of development. Many of the featured parks & gardens are transformations of derelict areas, by and for the local community. Such initiatives are on the increase, to provide safe and accessible spaces for children and families to enjoy. The weekend provided a showcase for these gardens, to raise their profile and hopefully to inspire other communities to follow suit.

Bedford Square

The London Squares open weekend is based in Bedford Square, in near to the British Library, W1. Bedford Square was built in the late 18th century - the 'best and most complete Georgian square in London'. The various display tents gave information on the skills needed to restore a square.

The tall plane trees are typical of a traditional square. They tower above the neatly-clipped shrubberies, and create shelter over the oval lawn in the centre. Beyond the restored black iron railings, the town houses turned offices have distinctive Coade stone entrances.

London Parks & Gardens Trust

London Parks & Gardens Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes education about historic parks and gardens in London, and conserves, enhances and recreates these gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public. The trust gives advice and support to communities who want to develop their own garden.

The London Garden Squares open weekend is sponsored by English Heritage. The 2005 open weekend will be held on 11th - 12th June.