Cleveland Square is a 1.5 acre stretch of communal garden bordered by Grade II listed, white-stucco fronted houses and situated in the heart of Bayswater just north of Hyde Park. What makes Cleveland Square so unique is the particular focus on horticulture; the garden is host to an incredibly rich eco variety and every bed is meticulously designed with unusual and beautiful plants.
The Garden serves as a gathering point for the community and is used for socialising, exercise and relaxing. The high standard of garden cultivation and management is clearly reflected in the visual beauty of the square but is also seen in the residents’ appreciation and relationship with it.
Cleveland Gardens was established around 1855, soon after Cleveland Square. Like many London gardens, the original iron railings were removed during WW2 and were replaced with concrete posts and wire fencing. During the 1970s and 1980s, only a handful of houses contributed to the upkeep of the gardens and residents struggled to do their best with limited resources. However, in the mid-1990s the gardens came under the umbrella of CSRA and some improvements were made.
Then, in 2006, after much perseverance by CSRA, there were major changes – the old chain-link fencing was replaced by traditional cast-iron Victorian-style railings, the borders were completely replanted and a new path was laid. The cost, at around £100,000, was jointly funded by CSRA along with generous grants from English Heritage and Westminster Council’s Paddington Social & Community Fund. The gardens were transformed and CSRA can, rightly, be very proud of what has been achieved.
Cleveland Square was laid out in 1855 when the formerly rural area was being developed as part of the Paddington Estate. Cleveland Square once rivalled Lancaster Gate as the most expensive address in Bayswater and notable residents included bankers Samuel Montagu and Lionel Rothschild.
During the second World War the area around Paddington station sustained substantial damage due to the bombing of the city, Cleveland Square itself was hit twice destroying houses number 8 to 11. There was an anti- aircraft Barrage Balloon stationed in the gardens of Cleveland Square, and to this day the flower bed where it was once positioned has been named ‘Balloon Bed’ in tribute along with a plaque commemorating the memory.
To look at Cleveland Square now it’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 50 years ago, hidden beds of tea roses were the only grace in a garden bordered by chicken wire and dogged by bonfire patches and questionable activities.
The construction of Iron railings in 1965 was an important first step in the transformation of Cleveland Square into a unique and permanent fixture in Queensway. Throughout the 1970’s, a committed struggle by the residents has replaced rats with bee hives, and rubbish piles with apple trees and climbing roses.
The ‘Strawberry Tea Party’ in 1962, the first garden party since the war, marked the beginning of a long tradition of events that have taken place in the square, these parties have and still do bring together an eclectic community. Through the decades the garden has become a focal point for the residents; it was, and still is, a place where the community spirit thrives
As per the CSRA Bye-Laws garden keys are only available for long term residents of Cleveland Square and Cleveland Gardens. If you are new to the Square or Gardens, welcome! You can apply for a first time garden key using the form below. There is also a form for lost keys and for replacing an old style key. If you are leaving the Square, we hope you have enjoyed your time here, please fill out the Returning Your Key form to get your deposit back and return your key.