History

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Image from The Clothworker’s Company

Wilton Square was part of the Clothworkers’ Estate and was separated from the main area of the estate when New North Road was constructed in 1812. Building began on the Clothworkers’ Estate in the 1840s and the Wilton Square site together with part of New North Road was leased by Richard Field, a printer and ‘commission agent for bandannas’. Field withdraw from the Wilton Square site, which reverted to the Clothworkers’ Company and in 1851 it was leased by Edward Rowland and Thomas Evans, who built Wilton Square and Wilton Street by 1853, the latter renamed Wilton Villas in 1940.

The central space had been occupied by a temporary chapel in 1847, then in 1863 by a small Baptists chapel known as Salem, which had been removed from Hoxton. The Salem Chapel closed in 1913 and it was then sold to the London and Manchester Assurance Company in 1931, and used by the YMCA until 1963 after which it was vandalised and then demolished. A Welsh Methodist Chapel had also been built at the junction with Wilton Street by 1857; rebuilt in 1884 it was restored in 1955 as a hostel for the Catholic St Vincent’s Housing Association, later replaced by a block in 1986.

In 1971 the entrance to Wilton Square was blocked from traffic and the central gardens were replanted with new shrubs and railings erected, retaining the mature plane trees.

(Information from London Gardens Online)

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