The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.520687, -0.099488


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 25 November 2022 at 6:01AM.

Charterhouse Square garden

Charterhouse Square is a garden square, a pentagonal space, in Farringdon, in the London Borough of Islington, and close to the former Smithfield Meat Market. The square is the largest courtyard or yard associated with the London Charterhouse, mostly formed of Tudor and Stuart architecture restored after the London Blitz. The square adjoins other buildings including a small school. It lies between Charterhouse Street, Carthusian Street and the main Charterhouse complex of buildings south of Clerkenwell Road. The complex includes a Chapel, Tudor Great Hall, Great Chamber, the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and a 40-resident almshouse.

The 2-acre (0.8 ha) square roughly covers a large 14th-century plague pit, discovered by deep excavations for Crossrail near which, within the main site, the history of the Charterhouse is exhibited in a branch of the Museum of London. The southern end of the square forms the southern boundary of the London Borough of Islington, where it meets the City of London.


Colour engraving circa 1770
Map for fire risk, 1887

In 1371 a Carthusian monastery was founded by Walter de Manny on what is now the north side of the square. It was established near a 1348 plague pit,[1] which formed the largest mass grave in London during the Black Death, and tens of thousands of bodies were buried there. The common name for Carthusian monasteries, Charterhouse, was an Anglicisation of La Grande Chartreuse, whose order founded the monastery.[2]

The Charterhouse was dissolved as a monastery in 1537, and in 1545 was purchased by Sir Edward (later Lord) North (c. 1496–1564) and transformed into a mansion house. Following North's death, the property was bought by Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was imprisoned there in 1570 after scheming to marry Mary, Queen of Scots. Later, Thomas Sutton bought the Charterhouse, and on his death in 1611, endowed a hospital (almshouse) and school there, which opened in 1614, supporting 80 pensioners (known as 'brothers'). The boys' school coexisted with the home for pensioners until 1872 when Charterhouse School moved to Godalming in Surrey. Following this, the Merchant Taylors' School occupied the buildings until 1933. One side is partially occupied by Charterhouse Square School, a small independent primary school.

In July 2011, English Heritage granted Grade II listed status to the "setted" road surface in the square, which was laid down in the 1860s.[3]

Administrative History

The west of the square is within the former civil parish of St Sepulchre Middlesex, with the east in the former Liberty of Glasshouse Yard, with the former Liberty of Charterhouse just to the north. These three units were, with nearby Clerkenwell, part of the former Finsbury Division. They later became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury, formed in 1900. In 1965 the Metropolitan Boroughs of Finsbury and Islington merged to form the new London Borough of Islington.[4]

Plague burials

In 2014 evidence of the large burial pit for plague victims dating from 1348 to 1350, the time of the Black death, was discovered under the square by workers building the Crossrail project.[5] Subsequent analysis of DNA and isotopes from the skeletons of those buried revealed data about Londoners who fell victim to the pandemic, such as their birthplace, diet, and the fact that there were actually three periods of plague burials, from 1348, 1361 and the early 15th century as outbreaks recurred.[6]

Current uses

Snow in Charterhouse Square
Tudor buildings of the Charterhouse

Almshouse, chapel, care home and let premises

Charterhouse gives accommodation as an Almshouse to over forty single pensioners aged over sixty many of whom retain the tradition of having been "military men, schoolmasters, clergy, artists, musicians, writers and businessmen",[7] who are in financial, housing and social need but not in significant debt and keen to contribute to the community.[8] Additionally it has the Queen Elizabeth II Infirmary Care Home and private tenants in 9 commercial units, 13 flats and 3 houses.[9] The complex is open for pre-booked guided tours.[10] The chapel can be viewed as part of the annual Open House London event. The site extends far back from the north side of the square in restored buildings and garden courtyards of the old monastery/school.

Campus of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry

The Charterhouse Square campus of Queen Mary University of London starts at the north-east corner of the square and then spreads out; close to a café and few narrow houses fronting that side, it occupies new buildings and some of the former school buildings. It comprises student accommodation and departments of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry: Barts Cancer Institute (BCI),[11] the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine[12] and the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI).[13] The BCI and the Centre for Cancer Prevention (CCP) within the Wolfson Institute also make up the Cancer Research UK Barts Centre of Excellence, together with Barts and the London NHS Trust.[14] In 2018, the School received a £6.5 million grant from the Barts Charity to redevelop the campus.[15]

Smaller sites on the square

Florin Court

Florin Court, a residential building in the Art Deco style built in 1936 by Guy Morgan and Partners, is on the east side. The building has a concave façade, roof garden and basement swimming pool.[16]

Charterhouse Square School

Charterhouse Square School is on the south side of the square; it is a co-educational, independent[17] school for ages 3 to 11, with a small roll of pupils.[18] Smithfield Market is to the south-west along Charterhouse Street.

Transport links

In fiction

Florin Court was used as the fictional residence of Hercule Poirot, Whitehaven Mansions, in the 1980s TV series Agatha Christie's Poirot based on Agatha Christie's crime novels.[19]

Florin Court viewed from the Charterhouse Square garden

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Palmer, Jason (15 March 2013). "'Black Death pit' unearthed by Crossrail project". BBC News. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  2. ^ Charterhouse history Archived 22 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine accessed 19 June 2007
  3. ^ "English Heritage grant protection to three Islington landmarks". Islington Tribune. 22 July 2011. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  4. ^ Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Frederic A Youngs Jr, Volume 1: Southern England, ISBN 0-901050-67-9, Published by the Royal Historical Society – Publication describes the evolution of these units.
  5. ^ Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project By James Morgan, BBC News. 30 March 2014
  6. ^ "London skeletons reveal secrets of the Black Death". Washington Post. 30 March 2014. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  7. ^ Subsection: Sutton's Hospital Archived 14 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine Charterhouse main website focussed on the school division (In Section "About Us"), Retrieved 13 April 2018
  8. ^ Joining the Community - Almshouse, The Charterhouse (Sutton's Hospital division), Retrieved 13 April 2018
  9. ^ Joining the Community (options including commercial premises for rent) The Charterhouse (Sutton's Hospital division), Retrieved 13 April 2018
  10. ^ Home Page, The Charterhouse (Sutton's Hospital division), Retrieved 13 April 2018
  11. ^ "Barts Cancer Institute". Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine". Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  13. ^ "William Harvey Research Institute".
  14. ^ "Barts Cancer Research UK Centre". Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  15. ^ "£6.5m to enhance Charterhouse Square research campus". Barts Charity. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  16. ^ Art Deco London accessed 19 June 2007
  17. ^ Charterhouse Square School Independent Schools Inspectorate Retrieved 13 April 2018
  18. ^ Admissions Process Charterhouse Square School. Retrieved 13 April 2018
  19. ^ Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989-) Screen online accessed 19 June 2007

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′15.35″N 0°05′55.35″W / 51.5209306°N 0.0987083°W / 51.5209306; -0.0987083

4 Annotations

Bill  •  Link

A little without the Barres of West Smithfield is Charterhouse Lane; but in the large yard before there are many handsome palaces, as Rutland House, and one where the Venetian ambassadors were used to lodge; which yard hath lately bin conveniently railed, and made more neat and comely.—Howell's Londinopolis, fol. 1657.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Charterhouse, Clerkenwell, London
Set in the heart of Clerkenwell, the Charterhouse has been living the Nation's history since 1348. Initially a Black Death burial ground, the site became home to the largest Carthusian monastery in the world until it was brutally dissolved in 1537 when 16 monks became proto-martyrs of the Reformation.

A grand Tudor mansion replaced the monastery. Elizabeth I spent the first days of her reign at the Charterhouse and James I (of England) created 133 Barons in the Great Chamber prior to his coronation.

In 1611 Thomas Sutton acquired the mansion and site to house his new Charity, an almshouse and school.
(The school separated and moved out of London in 1872 but the almhouse thrives to this day amidst the medieval, Tudor, Jacobean and later architecture that makes the site so fascinating.)

Thomas More studied at the Charterhouse when it was a Carthusian monastery and considered joining the order.
Elizabeth I spent the first five days of her reign as a guest of Lord North at the Charterhouse.
Governors of the Charterhouse include all Monarchs including and after James I. Oliver Cromwell was also Governor. Other Governors include the 1st Duke of Wellington, Judge Jeffries, Dr. John Dunne, the Duke of Monmouth and Robert Peel.
John Wesley, William Makepeace Thackeray and Robert Baden-Powell were all pupils of the school when it was based at the Charterhouse.
The Association Football offside rule was invented at the Charterhouse.

Museum, chapel and shop free to visit for everyone. Historic Houses members can go on the extensive estate tours for free, but cannot book in advance. Tours cost £15 for the house and £20 for the garden (non-members) and take place on Tues-Thurs and weekends until October.

for lovely photos and more info, see…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Charterhouse in London announce the completion of its refurbished Great Chamber. Like many places this year, the room is closed to the public for Covid19 safety reasons, but out of necessity often comes the most exciting innovations: they have been working with designer, Artfletch, to create 3D virtual reality models of the Great Chamber, Chapel Cloister, Gatehouse, Chapel and Norfolk Cloister.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.