In the course of research for his forthcoming book Three Men and a Field -– Bloomsbury North of Tavistock Place, the author discovered an interesting historical snippet. Near Judd St Open Space, created in the 1950s after Second World War bomb damage in the area, was a bowling green.
It was tucked away behind the Boot public house which is in Cromer St off Judd St today but was standing in open pasture in the late eighteenth century. It was not far from the former burial grounds now known as St George’s Gardens. An advertisement of 1756 states: “The Bowling Green House, near the Foundling Hospital, commands an extensive and pleasant prospect, and is fitted up in a genteel manner, with great alterations. Tea, coffee and hot loaves every day. The Bowling Green, which is in exceeding fine order, is now opened by your humble servant Jos. Barrass.” [from Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952].
Open air recreation and refreshments – for what our gardens offer today see our pages on Cafes and (in Cartwright Gardens) Tennis
Three Men and a Field -– Bloomsbury North of Tavistock Place by Ricci de Freitas will be available in the near future from Skoob Books (Brunswick Centre), Judd Books and Amazon on-line, and later in Waterstone’s.