Fitzroy Square is the monument of a failure. With great architectural pretensions, it is ponderous, and never took with the public. Its vicinity is much affected by artists, who find it convenient to live between their aristocratic patrons and employers in the west-end squares, and their possibly more lucrative employers in the houses of commons which surround the Bedford Square group.

Charles Knight
London, Vol 6

Tucked away in quiet corner of Fitzrovia is a small but lovely example of the many great squares and circuses which break the monotony of the London landscape, Inigo Jones is widely credited as the man who developed the idea from both Italy and Denmark, introducing town planning to the city and creating Covent Garden to mention but few of his many achievements. Following the Great Fire huge swathes of the capital needed to be rebuilt, though the plan to completely redesign the centre of town fell by the wayside, the wealthy and landed gentry created smaller more localised projects as London began to rise again from the ashes.

One such man was Henry Fitzroy, the second child from the union of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, he is responsible for the area known now as Fitzrovia although that name came much later. He would not live to see the completion of his square which was left to his sons and Robert Adam, who between 1790 and 1794 designed and built the gardens and buildings which you may find to this day. Although Charles Knight savages the area in his six volume treatise on London (1841-1844) there are many today who find the square one of Adam's finest achievements and many more who while away an hour or two in this oasis of calm without a moments thought for the past.

Period Images: "Fitzroy Square", Collage Portal, <>.


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