Vincent Square

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View towards the pavilion of Vincent Square, London
View from the tower of Westminster Cathedral towards Vincent Square

Vincent Square is a grass-covered square in Westminster, London, England, covering 13 acres, lined with mature trees including London Planes. In among a network of backstreets, it chiefly provides playing fields for Westminster School, who own it absolutely; otherwise, it functions as a green lung and a view for the homes, hotel and other organisations adjoining.[1] Nine of its adjoining buildings have been given strict statutory architectural recognition and protection.

History and use[edit]

It was appropriated in the 18th century on land originally known as Tothill Fields, by William Vincent, a former Dean of Westminster and headmaster of Westminster School who simply paid a man with a horse and plough to enclose the square with a mound and ditch. Previous uses include a death camp and cemetery for 1,200 Scottish prisoners starved to death after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, a large burial pit for victims of the Great Plague of London in 1665/6, a jail named Tothill Fields Bridewell, and a well-known bear-baiting den recorded in the reign of Queen Anne.[2][3] The space, facing buildings and certain others surrounding form the Vincent Square Conservation Area.[4]

The square contains a cricket pavilion, four football pitches, about 10 tennis courts, and the groundsman's house, and is used on school weekdays by Westminster Under School. Other buildings fronting the square include the headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society.[5] Outside of school bookings the courts host many fixtures of the Lords and Commons Tennis Club.[6]

Notable buildings[edit]

Numbering is from the east corner, clockwise (3 to 87) and applies to fewer than 87 buildings, from great mergers and additional road openings. Those listed in the initial, mainstream category of statutory recognition and protection ("Grade II listed") are:

  • №s 3 and 4.[7]
  • №s 7 and 8.[8]
  • Royal Horticultural Society Old Hall (designed in 1904 by Edwin James Stubbs)[9]
  • №s 84 and 85.[10] (terraced buildings of circa (about) 1800)
  • №s 86[11] (a corner house of about 1800)

At rarer, Grade II* is:

  • the former Westminster College[12]

In 1981, Westminster Under School opened in the building of the former Grosvenor Hospital[4] for Women which had closed in 1976.[13]

Indirect use[edit]

Vincent Square lends its name to a current electoral ward of the local authority, Westminster City Council. Its bounds are thus drawn up for approximately equal representation of the electorate. At the 2011 Census its population was 9,988.[14]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vincent Square Ward Profile" (PDF). westminster.gov.uk. Westminster City Council. 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  2. ^ Brandon, David; Brooke, Alan (2016). Secrets of Central London's Squares. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-4456-5665-6.
  3. ^ "Westminster: Tothill Fields and neighbourhood". www.british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher; Weinreb, Ben; Keay, John; Keay, Julia (2011). The London Encyclopaedia (3rd ed.). Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-73878-2.
  5. ^ "Contact the RHS". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Lords and Commons Tennis Club". w4mp.org. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1357337)". National Heritage List for England.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1066152)". National Heritage List for England.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1357338)". National Heritage List for England.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1274274)". National Heritage List for England.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1066153)". National Heritage List for England.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1119723)". National Heritage List for England.
  13. ^ "Details: Grosvenor Hospital, London". www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  14. ^ "City of Westminster population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′36″N 0°08′06″W / 51.4932°N 0.1351°W / 51.4932; -0.1351