The rejuvenation of Whitfield Gardens in central London is now complete, marking further significant progress in Camden Council’s West End Project with LDA Design.
The redesigned garden forms part of the biggest council-led public realm and transport scheme the borough has ever seen. The West End Project is addressing traffic congestion, road safety, poor air quality and the fact that this area has previously had less than the Camden average of public open space.
Areas like Whitfield Gardens are vital in bringing people into close contact with nature even in the busiest parts of the city. The gardens now provide an open and well-lit space for people to come together to socialise, have lunch or even just sit and have a moment of quiet reflection. The design aims to meet the needs of people living and working close by, as well as providing a quality space for visitors. It celebrates what makes the place special, such as the fantastic mature London Plane trees at its heart. The Fitzrovia Mural, faithfully restored by Global Street Art, once again provides a wry look at life in Fitzrovia in the 1980s.
Work undertaken includes a planting scheme that thrives under the existing trees, plus better accessibility as the gardens now allow visitors to cross easily between Tottenham Court Road and Whitfield Street/Tottenham Street. The new square provides a flexible space for future events.
Marking the opening of the Gardens, Cllr Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden, thanked the local community for their patience during the works which were carried our during lockdown, adding: “This green space is loved by many and is an important and much used location in this part of the borough. We are very proud of the work, which demonstrates our commitment to making beautiful, safe and usable public spaces that everyone can enjoy.
“Caring for our local heritage has been a key part of this garden restoration and the design highlights the history of the space. We have worked with specialist stone restorers Stonewest to restore the memorial which sits within the park and specially matched granite from Italy has been carefully crafted to repair damage.”
Sophie Thompson, a director at LDA Design who has led our work on the Gardens, with support from Tim South, said: “When we first listened to the community there was a strong desire to create a safer, more welcoming and sociable green space.
“Through the introduction of attractive and biodiverse planting, pop-up power and movable furniture for events, a restored Fitzrovia mural, long table dining and comfortable seating, we really hope that everyone can enjoy Whitfield Gardens again.
“We are absolutely delighted to re-open this cherished garden and square for the benefit of residents, workers and visitors. Now more than ever London needs safe, attractive, and inclusive green spaces that can offer a place to come together to sit, socialise and experience nature.”
Greening the area is an integral part of the West End Project. As well as the improved Whitfield Gardens, the project will see new pocket parks along Tottenham Court Road, the transformation of Princes Circus in Holborn, and the creation at Alfred Place of a totally new park in place of a road. Alfred Place will be the first new green space for this part of Camden in a quarter of a century, innovatively turning road space into green space.
Tune in to short videos from Sophie and Tim and others from the project team to find out more about the transformation of Whitfield Gardens.
Lighting design by Michael Grubb Studio. Photos of Whitfield Gardens at night by Mike Massaro.
Other images: Camden Council and LDA Design.