This pocket park sitting next to St James Church in Piccadilly is unsurprising, a former graveyard, but was laid out as a garden after WW2.

After WW2, the newspaper publisher, philanthropist and later Labour Peer, Viscount Southwood paid for the garden to be laid out on the former graveyard so that it could be used by local workers.

The garden was opened in 1946 by Queen Mary, the same year that Southwood died.

At the top of the steps leading up to the raised garden is a large stone memorial to Viscount and Lady Southwood that contains their ashes, and was designed by Alfred Hardiman. The memorial was designed in 1947, but not placed in the garden until July 1949 when a plot of empty land was bought to expand the garden. Hardiman died in April 1949, before the monument was unveiled.

The memorial fountain also contains inside it a vellum book inscribed with the signatures of the 6,000 employees of Odhams Press, of which Southwood had been the Chairman.

The artist also designed the statue of Peace in the same garden.

The gardens were refurbished in 2011 as part of the lead up to the London Olympics.

Its planted with a mix of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and spring bulbs, and while dominated by the London Plane trees, if you look you’ll spot a Mulberry tree, a Bay, a Yew and an Acer.

The garden is open throughout the year from 8 am to 6.30 pm (10 am to 5.30 pm on Bank Holidays).

(NB: photos taken last year in between lockdowns)


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