This is a tiny little pocket park that should have me delighting in its planting, but actually has me dispirited at the missed opportunity.

It is, unsurprisingly, a former church graveyard.

The churchyard once sat within the Priory of St John of Jerusalem which was founded all the way back in 1144 by the Knights Hospitallers of St John. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the church was used for other purposes including a private chapel, a library, a pub, but later became a parish church of St John’s Clerkenwell.

In the 1930s the church was acquired by the modern Order of St John as their Priory Church.

When the graveyard closed to burials, it was acquired by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (MPGA), who laid it out as a public park.

Sadly, today it’s seen rather better times. Although there is a delightful ivy growth up the back walls that used to lead to the church, and a large plane tree casts shade, the rest is rather… municipal.

No seating to welcome visitors, and the bedding plants are non-existent.

Maybe the residents of the block of flats next door are pleased at its lack of appeal to workers at lunchtimes, but if I lived there, it’d probably be a riot of wildlife and plants… my own personal back garden.

Nearest railway stations

  1. London Farringdon
  2. Barbican
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One comment on “London’s Pocket Parks: St John’s Churchyard, EC1
  1. NL says:

    The Priory church gardens on the St Johns Square side are quite something though.

    You should write a book “Crap churchyards” 😉
    Another on being St Peter cheap, just a grotty shaded spot for office smokers

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