Waste ground for a time, the site was finally laid out as public gardens by the Corporation of London and opened to the public in 1872. A drinking fountain with a bronze figure representing 'Peace' was erected in 1873. Geometric sculptural seating was installed in the garden in C21st, with inscriptions relating to the history of the area.
The site was originally part of the 'Smoothfield' outside the City walls where jousts, executions and markets were held in the C14th and C15th. Although the gallows were moved to Tyburn in the C15th Smithfield continued to be used for executing religious martyrs and more than 200 Protestants were burnt at the stake during Queen Mary's reign. A livestock market was held here from 1638 until it transferred to Caledonian Market in Islington in 1855 and St Bartholomew's Fair was an annual event until 1855, after which the site was closed as a public meeting place.
Visitor FacilitiesThe site is open daily until dusk.
- Access & Directions
Access Contact DetailsThe site is open daily until dusk.
DirectionsTube: St Paul's (Central); Barbican, Farringdon (Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle). Bus: 8, 25, 45, 56, 63, 242
London Parks and Gardens Trust