Nevern Square

Nevern Square
(Photo: Colin Wing)
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Nevern Square, built from 1880-86, was named after the village of Nevern in Pembrokeshire, country seat of local landowners the Edwardes family.

William Graves designed the square, with the garden an integral part of the layout. Residents paid an annual rent of two guineas for the maintenance of the garden.

The east, north and south sides (of uniform design) were built by Robert Whitaker, and the west side completed by George Whitaker in the red-and-yellow brick Domestic Revival style, which contrasts sharply with the white stucco-fronted houses of the surrounding streets. Note the continuous first-floor balconies with delicately patterned iron railings.

The land remained in private hands until 1974, when the local residents formed a non-profit-making company to buy it. In 1978 the Kensington Improvement Act of 1851 was applied to the square, ensuring a regular income for the maintenance of the garden.

During WW2 the railings were taken down and the north gate destroyed by a flying bomb. The railings were replaced in 1979 and a replica Victorian gate constructed in 2005.

The garden's seven magnificent plane trees probably formed part of the original planting, and there are 28 other varieties of tree. The simple layout consists of a large lawn with a circular central bed, surrounded by gravel paths and borders planted with a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous plants.

New shrubs and plants have livened up the borders in recent years. Most of the beds get little direct sunlight, and show the range of plants that can be grown in these conditions. There is also a small play area for children.

Contract gardeners: Joseph Jones: Hamish and Eileen

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