It was built in the early 1860s on land owned by the Graham family. The north west part of the square contains the bauhaus-influenced new extension to the German Hospital, which was built in 1935 and closed in 1987. To the north is the stretch of railway track that carries the North London Line.
The square is unremarkable but for the fact that it was used in the design of the fictional Albert Square in the long-running BBC TV soap EastEnders. When the creators of the soap were thinking of the design of the square in the 1980s, they needed a group of typical East London former merchants' houses all facing a well-kept square, giving a sense of community. There were plans to actually film the series in the square, but the hospital was difficult to incorporate into the script and Julia Smith (co-creator) did not want to feature a hospital in the show, having just finished producing hospital drama Angels.