(Photo: Drew Bennellick)
The garden behind the hall is a small part of the original garden, purchased by the Drapers' Company from King Henry VIII in 1543.
The Great Garden, as it was called, is now occupied by the modern building known as Drapers' Gardens. In 1543 rose bushes, gooseberry trees, gourds, strawberries and herbs grew here. A bowling alley, maze and summerhouses added to its attractions.
Open to the public, the garden remained a welcome retreat in the smoky City until Throgmorton Avenue was constructed in 1874. The avenue sliced through the east side of the garden, prompting the remainder to be leased to eager property developers.
The Great Garden was thus sacrificed to the demands of the commercial City, but the upper garden close to Drapers' Hall was retained and periodically renovated.
The present layout with raised beds and paving was created as part of the Company’s celebrations to mark the 650th anniversary of the granting of its first charter by King Edward III in 1364.
The planting scheme includes plants that have significance for the Company through the colouring (azure and gold from the Company’s coat of arms) or relevance to the textile trade.
The tradition of fruit-bearing trees continues with the garden's five mulberry trees, one of which was planted by HM the Queen in 1955 and another by the Prince of Wales in 1971. The gates, walls and railings, designed by Stephen Dykes Bower, date from the 1970s.