Tuesday 18 July 2023

Green London: Strange Things in Soho Square Gardens

Here's another lovely patch of green in the centre of London - Soho Square Gardens, south of Oxford Street and just to the west of Tottenham Court Road Tube Station. It's been a public park since 1954, but was first set out in 1670 as a central garden for the residents of surrounding homes. It was originally called King Square after Charles II, and features his statue. Over the centuries the area has varied a lot in its reputation, from fashionable to old-fashioned, to seedy, to nowadays being a centre for media companies with a popular small park.

Those with a liking for the esoteric might be interested to learn that Wilfrid Voynich had an antiquarian bookshop in Soho Square in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He's the name behind the mysterious Voynich manuscript. In the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, the magician Jonathan Strange and his wife Arabella have a Soho Square home.

The first thing people are likely to spot in the centre of the gardens is a strange building that looks like it could be a witch's cottage. In fact it's a mock "market cross" building that was put there in 1926 to hide an electricity substation.

This is part of a series of posts I've been doing on green London, to counter the idea many pagans seems to have that England's capital is all concrete without a tree, flower or patch of grass in sight. 

What is your London park, wood or place where nature thrives? Please leave a comment. If you want to send a picture you've taken, you can email badwitch1234@gmail.com and let me know if you want me to put it on the blog and if you want your name mentioned or not.

Links and previous related posts

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