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1980s: Greening

Monmouth Street Green Cluster 2 Monmouth Street Green Cluster 2

Greening in a conservation area with narrow streets requires a careful plan.

In the 1980s, Endell Street, the only ‘boulevard’ type street in the area, was planted with a wide variety of trees, following a well-attended public meeting. This scheme by Camden arboriculturalists has been extremely popular with residents and businesses alike. The Seven Dials Renaissance Study recommended no further planting as it is inappropriate and historically inaccurate. Instead, it recommended a return to the area’s historic planters above shop fronts. Shaftesbury PLC has implemented this recommendation on many of its shop fronts.

However, as a result of pressure for some planting and to remedy Camden’s planting of unsuitable Plane trees on the Dials roundabout, the Trust, together with the Covent Garden Community Association and Camden officers, drew up a scheme based on groups of trees in appropriate locations rather than rows. Each potential site required an electro-magnetic survey and trial pits because of the plethora of services beneath the footways. This scheme has created green clusters without compromising the integrity of the seventeenth-century layout or hiding the many fine façades.

Seven Dials 1970, no trees or entablature planting (and no Sundial Pillar).

Seven Dials 1970, no trees or entablature planting (and no Sundial Pillar).

Electro-magnetic surveying for planting on Monmouth Street. Note the entablature boxes above the shops.

Electro-magnetic surveying for planting on Monmouth Street. Note the entablature boxes above the shops.

Endell Street trees planted in 1984. Part of the work of the Housing Action Area Committee, forerunner of the Trust.Endell Street trees planted in 1984. Part of the work of the Housing Action Area Committee, forerunner of the Trust.Endell Street trees planted in 1984. Part of the work of the Housing Action Area Committee, forerunner of the Trust.Endell Street trees planted in 1984. Part of the work of the Housing Action Area Committee, forerunner of the Trust.

Endell Street trees planted in 1984. Part of the work of the Housing Action Area Committee, forerunner of the Trust.

Monmouth Street tree clusters.Monmouth Street tree clusters.

Monmouth Street tree clusters.

Neal Street at junction with Shaftesbury Avenue, just planted and then several years on.

Neal Street's young trees contend with bicycles and deliveries.

Earlham Street entablature planters above the sadly-missed Portwine Butchers.

Earlham Street entablature planters above the sadly-missed Portwine Butchers.

Monmouth Street entablature planters with restrained planting.

Monmouth Street entablature planters with restrained planting.

Pear trees on the Dials are less intrusive in the unique streetscape than the one remaining Plane tree.

Striking entablature planter above No. 1 Short's Gardens, then the home of Trust Chairman, David Bieda.

Striking entablature planter above No. 1 Short's Gardens, then the home of Trust Chairman, David Bieda.

Entablature planting on Earlham Street east and Short's Gardens courtesy of Shaftesbury PLC.

Neal's Yard.

Neal's Yard.

Attractive use of warehouse hoists flaps on Neal Street in the 1980s.

Attractive use of warehouse hoists flaps on Neal Street in the 1980s.

Tower Court.

Tower Court.

 

Mapping potential tree positions, 2004.

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