Mecklenburgh Square

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Coordinates: 51°31′28″N 0°7′7″W / 51.52444°N 0.11861°W / 51.52444; -0.11861

Mecklenburgh Square street sign
Corner of Mecklenburgh Square and Mecklenburgh Street
Plaque on number 44

Mecklenburgh Square is a Grade II listed square located in the King's Cross area of central London. The Square and its garden were part of the Foundling Estate, a residential development of 1792 — 1825 on fields surrounding and owned by the Foundling Hospital. The Square was named in honour of King George III’s Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It was begun in 1804, but for various reasons was not completed until 1825.[1]

It is notable for the number of historic terraced houses that face directly onto the square and the Mecklenburgh Square Garden. Access to the garden is only permitted to resident keyholders, except on two days a year when it’s open to all visitors for Open Garden Squares Weekend.[2][3]

The garden was laid out and planted between 1809 and 1810 as the centrepiece of the newly developed Mecklenburgh Square. The 2 acres (8,100 m2) garden is made up of formal lawns, gravel paths, mature plane trees and other ornamental trees. It contains a children's playground,and a tennis court. The east side of the garden is planted with plants native to New Zealand.[4]

To the west is Coram's Fields, a playground for children, and to the east is Gray's Inn Road, a major thoroughfare for the area. Goodenough College is a postgraduate residence and educational trust on the north and south sides of the square, and operates an academic-oriented hotel on the east side.

Russell Square tube station is located to the south-west of the square, and the major railway terminus of King's Cross-St Pancras is a short walk north.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Karl Pearson lived at no. 40 as a child from 1866-1875.[citation needed]
  • At no. 21 there is a blue plaque for R. H. Tawney (1880 - 1962), historian.[5] In the same doorway is a blue plaque for Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898), who lived there from 1869-1870.[6]
  • At no. 44 there is a plaque (though not an English Heritage one) for H.D. (Hilda Doolittle 1886 - 1961), the American poet, who lived there from 1917-1918.[7]
  • Virginia Woolf lived at no. 37 from 1939 to 1940. The house was bombed in a German air raid in 1940 and replaced in 1957 by William Goodenough House[8] at Goodenough College.