Esoteric London

No. 680: Duncan Terrace, N1

Posted in Architectural, London Places, Parks, Wildlife by esotericlondon on October 5, 2012

Duncan Terrace Gardens, Duncan Terrace, London, N1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Sketches by Boz – Charles Dickens, 1839:

The Gordian knot was all very well in its way: so was the maze of Hampton Court: so is the maze at the Beulah Spa: so were the ties of stiff white neckcloths, when the difficulty of getting one on, was only to be equalled by the apparent impossibility of ever getting it off again. But what involutions can compare with those of Seven Dials? Where is there such another maze of streets, courts, lanes, and alleys? Where such a pure mixture of Englishmen and Irishmen, as in this complicated part of London? … The stranger who finds himself in ‘The Dials’ for the first time, and stands Belzoni-like, at the entrance of seven obscure passages, uncertain which to take, will see enough around him to keep his curiosity and attention awake for no inconsiderable time. From the irregular square into which he has plunged, the streets and courts dart in all directions, until they are lost in the unwholesome vapour which hangs over the house-tops, and renders the dirty perspective uncertain and confined; and lounging at every corner, as if they came there to take a few gasps of such fresh air as has found its way so far, but is too much exhausted already, to be enabled to force itself into the narrow alleys around, are groups of people, whose appearance and dwellings would fill any mind but a regular Londoner’s with astonishment.

From the plaque accompanying the installation in the photograph above:

London Fieldworks

Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

Spontaneous City has been designed for the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Gardens. Made from a collection of over 300 specially-made wooden bird boxes it will provide shelter, nesting and feeding space for birds, bees, insects and other wildlife that occupy the gardens. […].

The design of the boxes is inspired by the architecture of the Georgian houses and 1960’s flats that surround Duncan Terrace. The method of installation has been designed in close consultation with the Forestry Commission and the borough’s ecology department to enable the tree to continue to grow and expand.

Secret Garden Project

About the artists

London Fieldworks create art installations for urban and rural settings that engage with ecology as a complex inter-working of social, natural, and technological worlds.

About the Secret Garden Project

Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Gardens is one of a series of Secret Garden Projects across London, curated and produced by up projects. It has been commissioned by Islington Council as part of the ‘Greening the Grey’ programme. This aims to create more green space, make the borough more attractive, tackle climate change and encourage wildlife.

To find out more about the Secret Garden Project see

2 Responses

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  1. Jenny Grounds said, on October 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

    gorgeous photo, ingenious installation and lucky birds.

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