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London Gardens Online


Ion Square Gardens Tower Hamlets


Ion Square Gardens is on the former site of Ion Square built in c.1845, which had terraced cottages on three sides facing a central communal garden. In 1886 the Kyrle Society approached the Vestry of St Matthew's with a view to opening the garden to the public. As a result it was leased in 1894 by the MPGA for a peppercorn rent, laid out and opened in 1895. In 1928 responsibility for the garden passed to Bethnal Green Borough Council. Most of the square's houses were destroyed in WWII bombing and in the 1960s the wider area was landscaped, although the site of the original garden remains demarcated.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Ion Square

Site location:
Warner Place/Hackney Road

E2 7DQ

Type of site:
Public Gardens

1845; 1895; 1960s


Listed structures:

Tower Hamlets

Site ownership:
LB Tower Hamlets

Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces

Open to public?

Opening times:

Special conditions:



Public transport:
Tube: Bethnal Green then bus.


The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

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:

Conservation Area name:
Jesus Hospital Estate

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:

Ion Square Gardens

Ion Square Gardens, site of the original square and its garden, September 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

The present park is on the former site of Ion Square built in c.1845 by the local firm of Pritchards who owned nearby brick and tile works. There were 38 terraced cottages on three sides of the square facing the central garden with a brick wall forming the fourth south wall. In 1886 the Kyrle Society approached the Vestry of St Matthew's with a view to open Ion Square's garden to the public; nothing resulted from this although some improvements were made to the garden. In 1894 the MPGA secured a 40 year lease on the garden for a peppercorn rent, the lease providing that it should be properly enclosed, laid out and maintained as a 'garden or shrubbery'. The brick wall was replaced by an iron railing with an entrance from Durant Street. The Kyrle Society contributed £120 towards the layout and the Vestry provided a caretaker. The gardens were opened in 1895. In 1928 responsibility for the garden passed to Bethnal Green Borough Council and it was described as a 'great amenity to the dwelling houses overlooking it'.

In 1940 and 1941 the square suffered severe bomb damage and by 1945 only 5 houses were left standing and the site was cleared, with 20 pre-fabs erected, although the central garden remained, set out much as before with a new drinking fountain. In 1953 Bethnal Green Council agreed with the LCC that the land surrounding the square should form an extension to the garden. The prefabs remained until 1962 and in 1963 one side of Warner Place was demolished followed by demolition of other properties in Hackney Road and Durant Street and the whole area was cleared, levelled and laid to grass. Play equipment was later added to the wider park but in keeping with the terms of the 1894 lease a separate shrubbery and garden have been retained on the site occupied by the original Ion Square Garden, which has remained enclosed.

Sources consulted:

David Groen, 'A Brief History of Ion Square Bethnal Green', 1995

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