CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Red Lion Square: Plans for revamp of ‘Oliver Cromwell burial site’

Camden Council want to improve historic square in Holborn

26 January, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Red Lion Square

IT is, according to legend, the last resting place for three men who were responsible for the death of Charles I: English civil war leader Oliver Cromwell; president of the High Court of Justice who tried the king, John Bradshaw; and Roundhead general Henry Ireton.

After their deaths, according to some historians, their bodies were ex­humed from burials elsewhere and dumped unceremoniously in a pit on the site of Red Lion Square. Now the square, in Holborn, is at the centre of council plans to redesign it. The Town Hall want to revamp the layout, with improved signage and benches. They also plan to introduce plants that would attract bees and insects, and recruit volunteers to help keep it spick and span.

It was last given a spruce-up in 1991 and Camden Council hosted an exhibition last week at Conway Hall, which backs onto the square, to show designs and hear views of the public. Home to statues of philosopher Bertrand Rus­sell and fellow anti-war campaigner Fenner Brock­way, the square is also edged by the headquarters of the South Place Ethical Society, and is the site of Marshall, Faulkner and Co, founded by William Morris.

The square dates from the 1680s, built by a developer called Nicholas Barbon. He incurred the wrath of lawyers from nearby Lincoln’s Inn who felt his housing was trespassing on their enjoyment of what was then a semi-rural area. Town Hall environment chief, Labour councillor Adam Harrison, said: “Red Lion Square is a green oasis against the backdrop of central London’s busy streets. This project aims to breathe further life into this much-valued space, to preserve it and encourage even more people to enjoy it.”

The Town Hall intend hold more consultations in March before work begins in April or May.

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