Monday 10 August 2020 11:33 am

Welcoming Londoners back to Finsbury Circus Gardens

William Russell is Lord Mayor of London.

This month, the Square Mile’s largest open space and London’s first public park is opening once more after being closed for 10 years due to Crossrail works.

We are delighted to reopen the beautiful Finsbury Circus Gardens  for the public to enjoy this summer, as staff begin to return to the City for work.

Finsbury Circus Gardens is a hidden gem in the heart of the Square Mile. It is a site that is of great benefit to so many Londoners.

Throughout this pandemic and the lockdown we have all navigated, more and more people have recognised the importance of green spaces to both their physical and mental health. Parks like Finsbury Circus Gardens provide much needed tranquillity in the highly urbanised spaces in which we live and work. They are vital to our emotional wellbeing.

We all know that spending time surrounded by nature can lead to a dramatic improvement in our health and wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety by providing a welcome break from busy schedules. And the Vitamin D provided by sunlight helps release serotonin — the happiness hormone.

Now more than ever, people need first-class open spaces.

So a temporary lawn has been put in place for visitors, workers and residents to enjoy at Finsbury Circus Gardens, while the City Corporation works on designing a first-class garden which is fit for the future.

Measuring just under two acres, the site is the oldest and one of the most prestigious public parks in the City, receiving over two million visits a year.

In March 2010, Crossrail took possession of a substantial part of the garden for a works site to construct its high-speed rail link. Now, this has finally been handed back to the City Corporation.

In June, we launched an architecture design competition to transform the Grade II listed gardens, offering a unique opportunity to be part of the project to reinstate the landscaping and pavilion on the site.

We asked applicants to come up with the most creative and sustainable design ideas to return the park to a multifunctional public space, restore its historic features, and reshape it back into a green sanctuary.  We look forward to working with the successful architect to deliver the scheme over the coming year. 

The City of London Corporation manages over 200 green spaces in the Square Mile, creating a network of gardens, churchyards, parks, plazas and highway plantings.

In the City, these open spaces provide a haven for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. They are also a place for rest and recreation which help people relax and feel more in contact with the natural world.

Londoners have been experiencing very difficult times over the past few months, and there is still some way to go until the City reaches a “new normal”. Now, we are encouraging people to enjoy our green spaces responsibly and in line with the government guidance on social distancing, so that we can all experience the physical and mental wellbeing benefits that they offer.

Covid-19 has posed a great challenge to everyone, but the fundamental strengths of London and the UK — with its world-class green spaces — give us reason to be confident that all will be overcome.

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Main image credit: City of London Corporation

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