Historic Fitzroy Square goes back to the future - photos

Residents today celebrated the completion of improvement works to bring one of London's finest Georgian squares back to its former glory.

The special event included visitors from the past in Georgian dress, period music and launch speeches by Camden Council’s Executive Member for Environment Cllr Chris Knight and Philip Davies, Director of Planning and Development at English Heritage.

The square has been restored through a special street improvement project – with residents, English Heritage and the Georgian Group involved every step of the way.

Camden Council carried out the work to improve Fitzroy Square in the heart of Bloomsbury – the only London square designed by 18th century architect Robert Adam and former home to Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw - recreating a space reminiscent of its Georgian grandeur.

The restoration aimed to reduce traffic and create a pedestrian friendly space. To achieve this the main square was re-layed at one level, the forest of bollards –129 in total – were removed and a wider footway was introduced around the square’s unique central circular gardens. Seven residents’ parking bays were relocated to side streets.

To complete the upgrade new high quality footways have been laid adjacent to the Georgian frontages along with upgraded heritage lighting complete with new lanterns which will provide better lighting after dark. In addition the square's street furniture including benches, litter bins have been upgraded and a more discrete CCTV camera has been installed.

Cllr Chris Knight, Camden Council's Executive Member for Environment,said:

“Camden has a rich architectural heritage and Fitzroy Square really exemplifies this. We wanted to ensure the area retained its rich historic features while also creating a desirable place to live, work and visit in the 21st century. This has been a real community effort and I would like thank everyone who had been involved in bringing these plans to life.”

Philip Davies, Director of Planning and Development at English Heritage, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to contribute a grant of £200,000 towards the improvement of one of London's finest squares.

“Fitzroy Square is the only London square to have been designed by Robert Adam, and its improvement marks yet another success for English Heritage's 'Campaign for London Squares'. If London is to continue to prosper as a great World City, then it is vital that we invest in the co-ordinated improvement of our great squares, streets and public spaces.”

The Council had a high level of local support for the scheme which was highlighted in the Public Consultation for the proposals in September 2007. Works on site began at the end of February 2008. The first phase of the project was jointly funded by Camden Council, English Heritage and Transport for London with a contribution from Fitzroy Square Frontagers.

Camden Council secured funding for phase two in September 2008 with funds from the Council as well as English Heritage, which allowed this phase to be brought forward and the project to be completed in one go. This meant a quicker and more cost efficient scheme with less disruption to residents and businesses.

The project has been unique in the close working with local residents and businesses. They have been involved both in the design and development of the project and kept fully informed of construction progress throughout.

The works were completed in early October 2008.

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Contact info

020 7974 5717

pressoffice@camden.gov.uk

Reference code: PR 486
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