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Seething Lane Gardens City of London
   

Seething Lane Gardens

Seething Lane Gardens, April 2010. Photo S Williams

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This was the site of the Navy Office, founded in 1656, in the garden of which Samuel Pepys and Sir William Penn reputedly buried their wine and parmesan cheese for safety from the Fire of London on 4 September 1666. A new Navy Office was built in 1682-3 designed by Christopher Wren, but was demolished in 1788 when warehouses were built. The simple rectangular garden is bounded by railings and laid out symmetrically with a central path, well shaded by trees. Either side of the gate are rose beds to commemorate permission given in 1381 to Sir Robert Knollys to construct a bridge across Seething Lane (since vanished) for which the City annually charged him one red rose. In 1983 a bronze bust of Pepys was erected by the Samuel Pepys Club with funds raised by public subscription. The word 'Seething' may originate from a medieval word 'sifethen' meaning 'full of chaff' so-called after the nearby Corn Market.
   
Previous / Other name: Pepys Garden; PLA Gardens
Site location: Seething Lane/Muscovy Street
Postcode: EC3N 4AT
Type of site: Public Gardens 
Date(s): c.1950
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII: No. 2 Seething Lane
Borough: City of London
Site ownership: City of London Corporation
Site management: Open Spaces Dept.
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: Weekdays; locked at night
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport: Rail: Fenchurch Street. Tube: Tower Hill (District, Circle). DLR: Tower Gateway.
Seething Lane Gardens, November 2004. Photo S Williams
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Plaque in Seething Lane Gardens, October 2002. Photo S Williams
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/openspaces

Fuller information:

This was the site of the Navy Office founded in 1656, in the garden of which Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) and Sir William Penn reputedly buried their wine and parmesan cheese for safety on 4 September 1666 during the Great Fire and sat here 'discoursing upon the great tragedy' (Cleary). The original building was destroyed by fire in 1673 and a new Navy Office was built in 1682-3 designed by Christopher Wren, itself later demolished in 1788 when warehouses were built for the East and West India Docks Company.

The simple rectangular garden is bounded by railings and is laid out symmetrically with a central path. It is planted with grass, flower beds, shrubs, good variety of trees including cypress and robinia, and features a bronze bust of Pepys by Karin Jonzen, erected by the Samuel Pepys Club with funds raised by public subscription and was presented to the garden in 1983 by the late Frederick Cleary, Chairman of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. The garden is important for its associations with Pepys and it forms a green square in this part of the City. Either side of the gate are beds of red roses to commemorate the date in 1381 when Sir Robert Knollys was permitted to construct a bridge across Seething Lane (since vanished) for which the City charged him one red rose annually; this is marked by an annual ceremony arranged by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames.

Adjacent to the east is the Port of London Authority Building built in 1910 to replace East and West India Docks Company warehouses. The word 'Seething' may originate from a medieval word sifethen meaning 'full of chaff' so-called after the Corn Market nearby on Fenchurch Street. Muscovy Street refers to the Russian colony in the area in the C16th. Close by is St Olave's Church (q.v.) which served the Navy Office, including Pepys, who was buried here and to whom there is a memorial tablet erected in 1884. A doorway led to the gallery of the church from Seething Lane.

Sources consulted:

B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992; F E Cleary, 'The Flowering City', The City Press, 1969; Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); City Gardens Walks leaflet, Corporation of London, 2007
Grid ref: TQ333807
Size in hectares: 0.0861
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: The Tower
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
   

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