Wilmington Square was built between 1818 and 1840 on land which belonged to the Northampton family, the Spa Fields Estate. The building here followed on from the development of Wood Close. The estate remained privately owned until 1949. The square is named after the Earls of Northampton who were also Barons Wilmington with an estate in Wilmington, Sussex, amongst others.
S P Cockerell was again in charge of the planning but this time there was only one builder, John Wilson. Building on the Spa Fields Estate started in 1817 with a scheme to build 400 new house. At Wilmington Square building progressed from east to north, with the square originally planned to end at Margery (Margaret) Street. However, by 1825 John Wilson felt it would be prudent to cut back because of competition provided by the developments in Myddelton Square and the Lloyd Baker estate (both on higher ground) and the difficult market after the Napoleonic Wars. The result is that the houses on the north side are separated from the gardens by a path, rather than a road, and the square is reduced. (Sharp building practice and infill building behind the square are described here.)
The gardens were originally private but were opened to the public in 1895, and were quiet and peaceful on both my visits. The Pavilion dates from the late 19C and the original railings are still in place.
And of course there were beautiful flowers – daffodils and hellebores in the early spring and flowering horse chestnuts on my second visit.
You may be interested in
The Wilmington Square Society
Wilmington Square & Gardens
The gardeners of Wilmington Square
Wildlife in Islington’s Parks
I would love to hear from you!