An oasis of calm used every week by hundreds of people living and working in London WC1

The Gardens were once the burial ground for two nearby churches – the Nicholas Hawksmoor church, St George’s Bloomsbury, and the church of St George the Martyr in Queen’s Square, now known as St George’s Holborn. These churches were built on small plots of land in the rapidly urbanising Bloomsbury area and so did not have large churchyards around them. The land was bought in 1713 and the burial ground opened in 1714. The Gardens remain consecrated ground.

This was one of the first burial grounds away from a church. London was growing fast and churchyards were overflowing. Burials moved to what was then open country so a high protective wall was built, to keep out body-snatchers who supplied a nearby anatomy school. The burial ground’s wall plan may also have been the work of Hawksmoor.

As London grew the burial ground overflowed, like the churchyards before it. The area was poor and without green spaces – Bloomsbury’s elegant squares were locked and used only by the rich. Old burial grounds were the only public spaces. Campaigners including Miranda Hill and the Kyrle Society and Octavia Hill fought to create ‘outdoor sitting rooms’ to ‘bring beauty home to the poor’. St George’s Gardens were opened in 1884.

In 1997, after becoming very run-down, the Gardens were one of a group of Camden’s historic parks to receive lottery funding under the Urban Parks Programme. The restored Gardens opened in Spring 2001. They are still maintained by Camden Council.

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You can enter St George’s Gardens from Handel Street to the West, from Heathcote Street to the East or from Sidmouth Street to the North. The main entrance is in Handel Street, beside the Chapel of Rest.

The nearest underground stations are Russell Square, King’s Cross-St Pancras or Euston.