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

Corner of Mecklenburgh Square and Mecklenburgh Street
Plaque on number 44

Mecklenburgh Square is a Grade II listed square located in the Kings 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 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 when it is 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; buildings on the eastern side were designed by architect Joseph Kay. 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.

Mecklenburgh Square, Brunswick Square and Coram's Fields are jointly listed Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[5]

Notable residents[edit]

  • Samuel Parkes (chemist) died here on 23 December 1825.[6]
  • Karl Pearson lived at no. 40 as a child from 1866 to 1875.[citation needed]
  • At no. 21 there is a blue plaque for R. H. Tawney (1880 – 1962), historian.[7] In the same doorway is a blue plaque for Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898), who lived there from 1869 to 1870.[8]
  • 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 to 1918.[9]
  • 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[10] at Goodenough College.

In Dorothy L. Sayers' last novel but one, entitled Gaudy Night, the lead character, Harriet Vane, has an apartment on Mecklenburgh Square. She had moved from there from a presumably smaller flat on Doughty Street.


  1. ^ "A Georgian Square", Mecklenburgh Square Garden website.
  2. ^ "About", Mecklenburgh Square Garden website.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Patterson Border", Mecklenburgh Square Garden website.
  5. ^ Historic England, "Coram's Fields, and Brunswick and Mecklenburgh Squares (1000212)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 12 November 2017
  6. ^ "Parkes, Samuel" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  7. ^ Open Plaques entry 513
  8. ^ Open Plaques entry 36
  9. ^ Open Plaques entry 5258
  10. ^ "Where Virginia Woolf Lived in London", Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.