Welcome to St Anne's Churchyard
This is a small local park on the site of an old burial ground with a Grade II* listed church tower as the main focus.
Access to the space is from Wardour Street via a set of steps. A central path with grass either side and shrub beds at the edges leads to a raised terrace in front of the tower. The site contains various memorials including William Hazlett and the victims of the Admiral Duncan bombing, and grave stones and plaques. The site has a feature fence along Wardour Street called the ‘Wall of light’ which was commended by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in 2004 in the Community benefit category of the RICS Awards 2004. The site also contains a small “toilet pod” which doubles as a mini local museum with limited public access. At the back of the churchyard a large bespoke community table was recently added to the space, and is very well used.
This space is a great hidden pocket of green space in the heart of soho and is a great space to escape the general hustle and bustle of the nearby streets to read a book or the paper. It is the only green space serving the dense urban area of lower Soho and is used extensively by The Soho School who have raised beds within the garden where the local school children learn about and practice growing vegetables. Apart from the school children who regularly use the churchyard the other main group is Soho Green which is made up of residents living in the area.
The original church and churchyard date from 1686 and it is estimated that there were over 100,000 burials within the ¾ acre churchyard up until the year 1853 when all burials in churchyards were stopped by an act of parliament. In 1891 the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association laid out the Churchyard as a public garden which was officially opened by lady Hobhouse on the 27 June 1892. Responsibility for the garden was then passed to the City of Westminster in 1903. The most eminent person buried in the churchyard was William Hazlitt, essayist, who died in 1830.
The design and creation of the ‘wall of light’ stemmed from the fact that a decade ago due to its location within soho the churchyard had became a meeting place for drug addicts and dealers who were gaining access at night, this meant that in the mornings the gardens were littered with used needles and other rubbish. As a response to this a group of local residents decided to take action to regenerate the churchyard so that it could fulfil its potential as a welcoming urban open space. The group managed to organise the building of the new security fence with oak posts and a stainless steel mesh. The fence also incorporated fibre optic lights installed to shine onto the mesh. Six colours can be projected onto the screen in blocks of colour or programmed as a dynamic light display. This was the first time fibre optic lighting had been used together with stainless steel mesh in that way in the UK. It was for this reason and the fact that the design solution so cleverly secured the space whilst adding a distinctive night time lighting design feature that lead to it being commended and achieving the award.
Opening hours 10 am – dusk. No disabled access
If you would like to hold an event or film in this park please visit the Special Events website at www.westminster.gov.uk/specialevents or call 020 7641 2390.