Friends of Tavistock Square
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History 1950-Present
History 1850-1950
History 1550-1850
History 1850-1950


Tavistock House was the residence of Charles Dickens.


The detailed Bedford Estate Plan provides, information about the planting is apparent. Trees are set at irregular intervals around the outer edge of the perimeter path and a new path crosses the gardens from east to west, with a central planted oval. A hedge lines the boundary railings. On the central lawns there are four semi-circular beds, two crescent shaped beds and several other small circular beds. Colourful displays of carpet bedding were very popular at this time and the numerous beds in Tavistock Square Gardens were probably planted that way.


The first edition of the Ordnance Survey indicates the border between boundary and path is fully planted, the beds in the lawns are reduced in size and more kidney shaped, a dozen trees on the lawn are randomly planted and three seats have been positioned against the beds for the enjoyment of garden visitors. A building, presumably a gardener’s store, has been built within the planting bed in the north east corner. The oval path bulges at the southern end, for no apparent reason.


The second edition of the Ordnance Survey shows less detail than the first. However, trees are shown lining the paths and boundary at reasonably regular intervals. A new path from the north gate joins to the central oval path and steps lead down from the south gate. 


The Stephens family of novelist Virginia (Woolf), her artist sister Vanessa and their brothers, Thoby and Adrian, moved to adjacent Gordon Square and the Bloomsbury Group gradually formed around them and their friends, many of whom lived nearby.


The Ordnance Survey plan does not show any layout changes.


A memorial to the surgeon Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich Blake was constructed in the south east corner of the gardens. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.


The gardens were still private and were maintained by a committee of inhabitants of the square, from rates levied by St Pancras Borough Council.


The Ordnance Survey plan shows two tennis courts on the north western lawn and southern lawn.


The railings, which had enclosed the square, were removed so that the iron could be reused for the war. This allowed direct public access from all sides. Some years later, a chain link fence was erected and the public were again excluded.


During the Second World War several houses on the southern side of the square were damaged or destroyed by bombs. This included number 52 where Virginia and Leonard Woolf had lived and ran the Hogarth Press between 1924 and 1939.

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