Queen’s Gate Gardens is a Victorian garden whose original landscape has generally been maintained since the mid-nineteenth century. Its history is quite interesting.
The land was originally a part of three fields used as a nursery or market garden on the Alexander Estate. It was owned by Henry Brown Alexander who had inherited the land from his father John Alexander on his death in 1831. Developed by Charles Aldin, grandson of an Uxbridge carpenter around the time of the Great Exhibition. The gardens were sometimes referred to as The Prince’s Gardens c.1858 and later formally named Queen’s Gate Gardens.
The original plan provided for the laying out of a large square with a central garden. The Garden was surrounded by a development of 127 houses and 51 stables The layout of the square and its surrounding houses was considered very advanced and pivotal in creating the standard for Victorian Garden Square Developments. The central garden square, unlike previous gardens, included a new layout where some houses opened directly onto the gardens without a divided carriageway. These ten houses were on the west Gloucester Road side where now Campbell Court is located.
Over The Years
Queen’s Gate Gardens was developed particularly to suit the larger families of the mid-Victorian era upper class. Notable residents include two members of the Outram family — Sir James Outram and the Earl of Munster who were the offspring of the Duke of Clarence, later William IV and the actress Mrs. Jordan. Other residents include two wealthy brewer-landowners Sam Whitbread and Edward Charrington, the American banker Hugh McCulloch, the proprietors of the Manchester Guardian and the barrister John E. Taylor. One of the most renowned residents was the Earl of Strathmore, the father of the late Queen Mother, who lived in what is now the Strathmore Hotel at 41 Queen’s Gate Gardens.
During the war there were two bomb shelters built in the middle of the Gardens, whose rings are still visible in the garden lawn.
The original Gardens were subject to two separate freeholds. The area belonging to the land now occupied by Campbell Court (about one quarter of the whole and not subject to the London Squares Protection Act) was more recently separated from the remainder by a fence and no longer forms part of the Gardens.
Applications were made by the former freeholders of Campbell Court to construct an underground car park beneath the Gardens and thus circumventing the prohibition under the London Squares Protection Act against any developments on the Gardens. These attempts were vigorously opposed by the Committee and local residents, and the applications were rejected by the Council.
The Garden Committee with support of the local community and press and Council have maintained the remaining land as Queen’s Gate Gardens.
For more than two decades until 2021, the Gardens and the Garden Committee were led under the stewardship of Brian Jenney OBE. During this time, the Gardens have been a tranquil place of rest and light recreation for its members.
Today the Gardens’ freehold is owned by Arab Investments Ltd. The Queen’s Gate Gardens Committee continue to be its guardians responsible for the maintenance and management of the Gardens and its membership.