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Whittington Garden

Whittington Gardens

Address

Whittington Garden
Upper Thames Street
London
EC4R 2RH

Contact us

​020 7374 4127

Email us

Opening hours

​Open all year 24 hours a day.

Parking info and travel links

Nearest tube: Cannon Street

Plan your journey using the TfL journey planner.

Where to park in the City of London

About this garden

The garden was named in honour of the City of London's best known Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, who was buried in 1423 in the nearby church of St Michael Paternoster Royal which he built at his own expense.

The garden was refurbished and redesigned in autumn 2005. The eastern end contains well established trees, with lawn under them and hedging enclosing the area on three sides.

The original site which was on the riverbank in Roman times was occupied by the fur trade before the war but the buildings later suffered extensive bomb damage. The City Corporation acquired the site in 1953.

On granite plinths sit 2 horsemen, sculpted by Cambellotti, which were gifted to the City of London by the Italian President on his state visit to the City in 2005.

History

The most famous Lord Mayor held office in 1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419.

There are numerous versions of the traditional story, which tells how Whittington, a boy from a poor Gloucestershire family, sets out for London to make his fortune, accompanied by his cat. At first he meets with little success, and is tempted to return home. However, on his way out of the city, whilst climbing Highgate Hill, he hears the Bow Bells of London ringing, and believes they are sending him a message.

A traditional rhyme associated with this tale is:

"Turn again, Whittington,

Once Lord Mayor of London!

Turn again, Whittington,

Twice Lord Mayor of London!

Turn again, Whittington,

Thrice Lord Mayor of London!"

There is now a large hospital on Highgate Hill, named the Whittington Hospital, after this supposed episode.

Dick Whittington came from a rather wealthy family and was not a poor, ill-treated orphan who worked his way up to become Lord Mayor as believed. There is also no evidence that he kept a cat.

When Whittington died childless he left £7,000 in his will, with a modern-day equivalence of about £3m. Some of which was used to

  • rebuild Newgate Prison
  • build the first library in Guildhall (the ancestor of the modern Guildhall Library)
  • repair St Bartholomew's Hospital
  • bestowing and building a number of alms-houses, libraries, civic buildings and public amenities that continue to serve London today

Events and green space hire

Find out how to host your event or hire a space at Whittington Garden.

Guidelines for filming and photography

Anyone wishing to use Whittington Garden for filming or photoshoots should seek permission first and pay the appropriate fee. Individuals are welcome to take photographs for their own use.

Please see the Filming in the City pages for more information, and apply directly with Film App.
For wedding and lifestyle photography please see the events and green space hire page.


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