St George’s Gardens, Russell Square

Located between Russell Square and King’s Cross St Pancras, the St George’s Gardens are full of history. Established in 1713, they served as burial grounds for St George the Martyr church in Holborn. The creation of the gardens marked history as they were the first Anglican cemetery to be put away from the church they served.

By 1725, there was an average of 20 burials a month, a number that kept on increasing until the beginning of the 1800s, when the cemetery was overcrowded. It led to the closure of the burial grounds in 1855 under the Metropolitan Burials Act.

Locals had to wait 35 years for the place to reopen as a public garden by Princess Louise, then Marchioness of Lorne.

The place looks more or less unchanged ever since that time: some headstones are aging, surrounded by flowers and benches, and larger tombs occupy the space and give a specific identity to the place. In 1961, after the Apollo Inn (in Tottenham Court Road) was demolished, a statue in terracotta of Euterpe, the Muse of Instrumental Music, was offered to the gardens.

In 1944, Friends of St George’s Gardens, an organisation helping the gardens to keep their unique identity, was created. They help Camden Council to take care of the place.

Away from the busy London life, the place is full of surrounding trees to protect it from the city noise, benches to relax and escape the fuss of the city jungle, green space to enjoy the sun and have a great picnic. That is if you don’t fear the potential presence of ghost at your table.


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