Lord Meath founded the MPGA in 1882, working tirelessly to put it on the map. For his efforts, he was commemorated with a memorial minutes from his London home, very aptly opposite Kensington Gardens at Lancaster Gate. From the outset the MPGA recognised the need to create new public open spaces, including converting churchyards and burial grounds, to keep up with the expanding populationn, especially in deprived areas. In fact one of the largest burial grounds to be converted into a public space was the Victoria Park Cemetery, designed by Fanny Wilkinson in 1893, and renamed Meath Gardens.

Lord Meath encouraged many of his friends and contacts to support the charity and even persuaded philanthropic London landowners to hand over green spaces for new parks and recreation grounds. Later the Charity campaigned and helped to set up several amenity organisations, such as the National Trust and the National Playing Fields Association. Since 1882 the Charity has adapted to the immense changes which have occurred across London and is as relevant today as it was 140 years ago.

The Lancaster Gate at Kensington Gardens
The Lancaster Gate at Kensington Gardens
Lord Meath Statue
Lord Meath Statue


Victoria Park Cemetry Victoria Park Cemetry The opening up of churchyards and burial grounds was very important and created many new parks and green spaces. This was greatly facilitated by an Act of Parliament promoted by the MPGA.

A good example is Victoria Park Cemetery, Tower Hamlets, an 11 acre site which was laid out and renamed Meath Gardens in 1894. The cemetery was designed and transformed by the MPGA resident female landscape designer, Fanny Wilkinson

Red Loin Square De Beauvoir Square


In the early days of the Charity, Garden Squares were often neglected or under the threat of being sold off for building development. It was not until the 1930s that they were fully protected by legislation. In 1885 the MPGA launched a public appeal for several squares in London, including Red Lion Square in Holborn, and also met the cost of laying it out. Today this is a beautiful oasis in a very built up area, as is de Beauvoir Square in Islington. Both these squares were designed by Fanny Wilkinson.

The Cleary Garden


The Cleary Garden in the City of London is named after Fred Cleary, Chairman of the MPGA from 1954 for around 25 years. He was a great campaigner and well known for his negotiating skills. He was involved with several new gardens in the Square Mile and was instrumental in the planting of a huge number of trees. In 1982, after his death, the MPGA created a garden in his honour on a former City bomb site, which was relandscaped to mark the Charity's Centenary, and named Cleary Gardens.

Cricket Green Mitcham


The MPGA has long been recognised as one of the leading Charities in its field, and has helped to set up several organisations including the National Trust and the National Playing Fields Association. It also campaigned for school play-grounds to be made available for public use out of school hours. The MPGA continues to support gardens and green sites under threat of development in the Capital. A notable achievement was the famous historic cricket ground in Mitcham which was saved from being destroyed by an ill conceived highway.