This secluded courtyard garden is the largest in Soho. Bordering the garden on one side is a grand Georgian townhouse, dating from 1746. On the other is the Chapel of St Barnabas, built in 1862 in French Gothic style.
The garden enjoys minor fame as the setting for Dr Manette and Lucie's entertaining in Charles Dicken's novel, A Tale of Two Cities
. The two tall plane trees described still stand today. It is said that Dickens himself used to sit in the garden to write, as a friend of the then proprietor of the house, Sir Joseph Bazalgette. There are three important trees in the garden: an ancient mulberry and the two planes mentioned by Dickens.
The House of St Barnabas is a charity that helps people who have been affected by homelessness back into work. In 2013 they opened their social business, a members' club, which offers a space for people to gain real work experience in a vibrant business, while drawing together a membership of people who are motivated by social change.
The current landscape design was done by Hannah Gardner (New British Landscapes) in association with Sara Ingrams. The garden is cared for by Streetscape, a London-based social enterprise offering apprenticeships in landscape gardening to 18-25 year olds who are long-term unemployed.
This is a great opportunity to take a peek at this charming private courtyard.