This is about as pocket a pocket park as you are likely to find, being a tiny patch of land on the corner of an Islington road junction that’s been taken over by a local community.
A decade ago, it was a fairly unremarkable plot of greenery with a bit of grass, a tree and some rough bushes, but then was taken over by the local community as part of a local “forgotten corners” project. Forgotten Corners are small areas of public green space that are planted and maintained by keen resident gardeners. These include road verges, estate land and public utility land.
This corner plot of land came into existence thanks to post-war housing clearance when the run-down terraced houses along Shepperton Road were replaced with modern flats.
What had been numbers 1 and 1a Shepperton Road stood where the pocket park is today.
What had been laid out as just a bit of grass and a tree is now very different.
The space has been split into two halves with a low fence erected around the newly created zones. The rear zone is dominated by the old trees, one of which looks like it’s either going to need propping up soon or removing as it’s leaning over at quite an angle.
The front zone is now filled with flowering bushes.
The pocket park is called the Rosemary Triangle, and you can easily see where the name comes from when you look across the road at the Rosemary Branch pub and theatre.
The pub opened at least 200 years ago – the earliest record I can find is 1801 of a pub on this location when all around was mostly fields but there was a main north-south road so likely a coaching inn style building.
Not long after it opened, the owners installed a large amphitheatre, which was reported to be some 270 feet in circumference and was used as an open-air theatre. Known as the Rosemary Branch Equestrian Theatre, it burnt down on the morning of 27th July 1853. Never proven, but it was suspected that gas-lit chandeliers caused the fire.
A new “assembly room” was built in around 1860 and that became the theatre space that the pub still uses today.
The origins of the name aren’t confirmed, but likely to do with a literal rosemary garden in the area, and the name seems to have been modestly popular as there were several Rosemary Branch pubs in London in the 19th century.
Back to the pocket park, as it gained an extra touch to mark WWI when Islington Council put signs up on many streets listing the names of those who lived nearby and died in the Great War.
Six young men from this part of Islington are listed as having been killed in action.