A community site for the residents, neighbours and friends of Warwick Square, London SW1

My quest for a key to the secret garden

by Anon., resident of Warwick Square Mews

I was warned that London is very parochial and where you start you are likely to end up. Never were truer words spoken to a young man seeking to make a career here. Business and finance beckoned and Pimlico was the chosen neighbourhood for me. It was cheap and clean but most of all central. A ten -minute walk from Sloane Square and a stone’s throw from Victoria. A dalliance in Dolphin Square, the purchase of a ground floor flat in St George’s Drive followed by a bijou house in Warwick Square Mews.

I bought the house from a charming lady called Karen, who owned most of the mews. She would throw raucous parties where we danced in the fireplace with our heads up the chimney. It was there I met a man called Tony Hudson, who sadly died last year. Allegedly his ashes are now among the begonias and hellebores in the central circular bed, a tribute of his love and life in Pimlico.

While cutting the rug and making some shapes, Tony told me he had been responsible for raising the funds for the new railings which protect the beautiful secret garden of Warwick Square. From inside the fireplace I asked him if the gardens were available for the use of people in Warwick Square Mews. He blew a raspberry and said “Never.”

It then hit me. I was in awe of the square and had to get in. I needed a key, but how? I lived in the mews and although we mews dwellers shared the name of Warwick Square with the residents of Warwick Square we were shut out, never to be included in this special, secret green place. I had to end the feeling of title without the castle – if you can’t beat them join them  – so I bought a flat and knocked through my mews house, giving me two entrances: mews and square. My quest was over and I had my precious key.

My children know it as home, learned to ride bikes being pushed off the small slopes on the south side, play catch the flag and run races round the square. Tennis lessons now feature as well as picnic teas on sunny afternoons. Well done, Warwick Square Company. You are the unsung heroes – guardians of the green and pleasant land.