Fann Street* Wildlife Garden, London EC2Y 8BR
Visited during the Open Garden Square Weekend - June 2013
The residents of the Barbican do not often open the gates to their beautiful wildlife garden. The garden is funded by the Barbican Estate residents and maintained by the City of London Corporation with help from volunteers from the Barbican Wildlife Group (BWG) since 2004. Sadly it is unlikely it will be open to the public again this year, if you have friends living in the Barbican they will have access to a key for a private view.
To quote the OGSW 2013 booklet ‘it is a vital open space that provides a green corridor for wildlife movement in, around and through the City’. So very true and close to the hustle and bustle of the working City yet, once inside the garden you are hardly aware of it.
Created out of a bomb site, there are deep cellars and basements below, hence some areas which have deep soil and others not so lucky, but you would never know it seeing the ‘splendour in the grass’ of the meadow. This year they had mown a path through it is an enjoyable experience to wander through it with your fingertips brushing the high grass and flowers. I wanted to dive into the long grasses and lie there staring up at the clouds.
An area important for Nature Conservation, the original garden of the 1990s was renovated to encourage wildlife with planting of natural species. Apart from the glorious meadow, there is also a bee and butterfly cottage garden with a wildlife pond, including a rather ‘shabby chic’ insect hotel, which I am sure is teeming with guests, even though they are mainly unseen. There are also bird feeders and nesting boxes.
In 2012 the Woodland Trust donated over 100 small shrubs to enhance the two main hedges.
The garden was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by London in Bloom in 2012, and it certainly deserves it. A special ‘Thank You’ to the BWG volunteers who were so interesting and helpful last weekend.
I advise you to put this on your ‘To Do List’ for next year's Open Garden Square Weekend.
* History Facts about Fann Street
- The City side was and still is divided up between two wards, Aldersgate and Cripplegate
- Huguenots attracted to area because allowed to practice their craft within and without the City
- Welsh Church - in Viscount Street - see plaque
- As the street name suggests it was home to the fan makers
- Worshipful Company of Fan Makers used to have their Common Hall nearby, now use the Skinners Livery Hall, Dowgate Hill
- Shakespeare's plays were performed at the Fortune Theatre just across from the end of Fann Street
- Bridgewater Square replaced the original Barbican, sold to Christopher Wren for redevelopment
- Also in the street were Gold Refiners and Assayers, W Bryher & Sons (see picture below)
- Fann Street Metal Foundry - crafted typeface/fonts for printing
- Golden Lane Estate - Chamberlain Powell & Bon - post war redevelopment
- Cripplegate is the largest residential ward in the City of London
|Part of a freize rescued from the building of W Brhyer & Sons, Goldsmiths, which formerly stood at 53 and 54 Barbican, London. The building was one of the few in the area to survive wartime bombing in 1840 but was demolished to make way for the Barbican redevelopment. This section was retained as a monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|