St Margaret’s Square in Lewisham is a rather odd green space which is recognised and listed by London Gardens Online but not by Lewisham Council.
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.’ Interestingly, as late as 1928 the Square was owned and maintained by The Corporation of the City of London. 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.
The low wall is still in place along the pavement but the iron railings have gone, and the steps down into the ‘garden’ are broken. The grass is mown and there are some trees in the garden, but there was also quite a lot of rubbish and the bins were overflowing – a pity. The ordnance survey map of 1895 also shows steps down from the two short sides of the gardens, but these are now closed off.
The houses facing Adelaide Avenue are quite grand, built as speculative developments apparently, in the second half of the 19C.
St Margaret’s Square in Lewisham is quite well maintained but is a pity that the steps are broken and that rubbish is allowed to accumulate. And I am left wondering about the name – why St Margaret? All in all, another interesting corner in the Borough of Lewisham.