Green Spaces

There are many green spaces in and around London: from small private gardens and allotments to public squares.

London's country

At the beginning of the 20th century much of what is now suburbia was open country with dispersed rural settlements. Farms and market gardens produced food for the capital. Hillingdon and Hendon for example were villages, and Uxbridge a rural market town. Mill Hill was a rural area with finely wooded parkland.

As suburbia extended into the countryside so 20th-century town planners became more anxious to preserve green space in inner London and protect the countryside on London's outskirts.

Private gardens

Front and back gardens provide a public face for a house, and a private domestic space where children can play safely and the family can relax.

Gardening has always been a popular hobby for Londoners. In 1938 65,000 people entered their garden into the All London Garden Championships. Most of these gardens were soon to be dug up for growing vegetables during the Second World War.


From 1887 local authorities were allowed to provide land for allotments for growing fruit and vegetables. In 1908 it became the authorities' responsibility to give allotments to people who asked. Like gardens, allotments not only provided a place for urban dwellers to relax, but they also enabled them to supplement their diet with fresh fruit and vegetables.

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