St Margaret’s Square in Lewisham

St Margaret’s Square in Lewisham is a rather odd green space on Adelaide Avenue. London Gardens Online lists the square but Lewisham Council does not recognise St Margaret’s Square.

History of the Square

LGO tells me that it ‘…is a rectangular, slightly sunken garden in front of Nos. 34-50 Adelaide Avenue. The houses were built by the 1890s, and the garden is shown on the Town Plan of 1895 with a row of trees to the main road, and a central flight of steps leading down to the garden on each of the other 3 sides, overlooked by houses. In 1928 the garden is listed as a public garden owned and maintained by the City Corporation, described as ‘a rectangular area flanked on one side by Adelaide Road and on the other three sides by a private roadway to residential buildings. Enclosed on the public road side by a low wall with iron railings on top. Very attractively laid out with well-kept lawns and trees.’

It is curious that as late as 1928 The Corporation of the City of London owned and maintained the Square. Further interesting historical information about Brockley is on LGO, but sadly most of the description of the Square from 1928 no longer applies. However, it is still an open space as required by the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931.

34-50 Adelaide Avenue
34-50 Adelaide Avenue

St Margaret’s Square today

There is a low wall along the pavement but it does not have iron railings. Broken steps lead into the ‘garden’ with one or two trees and some grass. However, there was also quite a lot of rubbish and the bins were overflowing – a pity. The OS map of 1895 shows steps on the two short sides of the gardens. These have disappeared.

The broken steps leading down to the sunken square
The broken steps leading down to the sunken square
The sunken square with trees
The sunken square and more trees, looking in the opposite direction from the above
The entrance from the private road, with iron railings still in place
The entrance from the private road, with iron railings still in place, looking towards Adelaide Avenue

The housing

The houses facing Adelaide Avenue are quite grand. They were as speculative developments apparently, in the second half of the 19C.

The housing on the private road alongside St Margaret’s Square
The private road, with neat hedge and iron railings
The private road, with neat hedge and iron railings

St Margaret’s Square in Lewisham is quite well maintained but is a pity that the steps are broken and that rubbish accumulates. And I wonder about the name – why St Margaret? All in all, another interesting corner in the Borough of Lewisham.

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