Parliament Square Garden

Parliament Square Garden

Parliament Square Garden is an area of significant historic and symbolic value. Find out about its history and the history of its statues.

Visiting the garden

To find out how to get to Parliament Square Garden, as well as what facilities are available, please go to our visiting page.

For further information, go to Visit London or the UNESCO site.

History of Parliament Square Garden

End of the 10th Century: There was a small monastery on Thorney Island, near the site of the current Abbey.

Early 1780s: The churchyard and streets adjoining St Margaret’s Church were demolished, the churchyard cleared and a lawn was sown.

1834: A fire virtually destroyed the medieval Westminster Palace.

1852: A new palace (now known as the Houses of Parliament) was completed, after Sir Charles Barry won a competition to design it.

1858: The Clock Tower (Big Ben) was completed.

1868: Parliament Square Garden was included within Barry's designs, with the aim of providing the new Houses of Parliament with a better setting.

WWII: The Westminster area suffered significant bomb damage. In 1948 the architect Grey Wornum was commissioned to redesign the square as one central garden island for the then Ministry of Transport. The design now comprises a square lawn, paved walkways and formal paths, with seats on the northern and western edges.

1987: The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (including St Margaret's Church) were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Site. They are recognised internationally as buildings of outstanding architectural importance, and as symbols of spiritual and democratic ideals.

1987: It was designated as the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square Conservation Area.

1996: Parliament Square Garden became an English Heritage Grade II Registered Garden of Special Historic Interest.

Parliament Square Garden today

We have been responsible for the garden since 2002. It plays an important role in our heritage, as a place of ceremonies and significant historic events. It is part of the ceremonial route between Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall.

A sculpture of Nelson Mandela by the late Ian Walters was unveiled, in the presence of Mr Mandela, in August 2007. This nine foot bronze statue honours Mandela as one of the greatest fighters for freedom in the 20th century. It is also a permanent statement of London's abhorrence of apartheid and every other form of racism.

Statues in the garden

Sir Winston Churchill

Bronze statue by sculptor Ivor Roberts-Jones, standing on a granite pedestal in the north-east corner of the square.

Date of monument: 1973

Materials: Pale grey granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

David Lloyd George

Bronze statue by sculptor Glynn Williams, standing on a Welsh slate pedestal on the north side of the square, between the monuments to Sir Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts.

Date of monument: 2007

Materials: Welsh slate and bronze

Statutory status: Not listed

Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts

Bronze statue by sculptor Jacob Epstein, standing on a granite pedestal near the north-west corner of the square.

Date of monument: 1956

Materials: South African grey granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

Viscount Palmerston

Bronze statue by sculptor Thomas Woolner, standing on a granite pedestal near the north-west corner of the square.

Date of monument: 1876

Materials: Mottled grey/pink Westmoreland granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby

Bronze statue by sculptor Matthew Noble, standing on a granite pedestal (with bronze reliefs by sculptor Horace Montford) at the north end of the west side of the square.

Date of monument: 1874

Materials: Pink granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

Bronze statue by sculptor Mario Raggi, standing on a granite pedestal on the west side of the square, between the monuments to The Earl of Derby and Sir Robert Peel.

Date of monument: 1883

Materials: Pink Peterhead granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

Sir Robert Peel

Bronze statue by sculptor Matthew Noble, standing on a granite pedestal at the south end of the west side of the square.

Date of monument: 1876

Materials: Pink granite and bronze

Statutory status: Listed Grade II

Nelson Mandela

Bronze statue by sculptor Ian Walters, standing on a low Portland stone base, forward of the monument to the Sir Robert Peel, in the south-west corner of the square. Near the centre of the west side of the square.

Date of monument: 2007

Materials: Portland stone and bronze

Statutory status: Not listed

Mahatma Ghandi

Bronze statue by sculptor Philip Jackson, standing on a low Portland stone base, forward of the monument to Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, near the centre of the west side of the square.    

Date of monument: 2015

Materials: Portland stone and bronze

Statutory status: Not listed

Events

If you wish to hold an event at Parliament Square Garden this must be arranged through us. Please go to our booking page for more information.