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Lincoln's Inn Fields

Largest Public Square in London

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Lincoln's Inn Fields London
© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest public square in London and is said to be the inspiration for Central Park in New York City.

Lincoln's Inn Fields History

Lincoln's Inn Fields public square developed between 1629-38 from three fields: Cup Field to the east; Purse Field to the west, and Fickett's Field to the south.

There has been a public space here since the 12th century but Lincoln's Inn Fields as we see it today was laid out by Inigo Jones, the famous architect, in the 17th century.

In Inigo Jones' time, the square was in the most fashionable area of London due to it's central location, close to the West End theaters. Nell Gwynne, the famous English actress, lived here at the time and her son, the Duke of St. Albans, was born here. (She was the mistress of King Charles II.)

The square was later enclosed in 1735 under an Act of Parliament and not reopened to the public again until its acquisition by London County Council in 1895.

Once A Home to Rough Sleepers

Lincoln's Inn Fields London© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
By the 1980s, Lincoln's Inn Fields was home to a large number of street homeless rough sleepers. The problem was exacerbated by the rats that spread from the detritus left by the homeless and well-meaning soup kitchens.

In 1992, temporary fencing was erected around Lincoln's Inn Fields to enforce a 'No Camping' byelaw. When all the rough sleepers had left, decorative railings were installed and the Fields reopened to the public in 1993.

Lincoln's Inn

Lincoln's Inn Fields should not be confused with Lincoln's Inn which is close by. The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of four Inns of Court in London and is thought to be the oldest dating back to at least 1422. (The others are Gray's Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple.)

Lincoln's Inn was established to educate lawyers, and continues to train barristers of England and Wales before they are called to the Bar.

Public are allowed to walk through the grounds of Lincoln's Inn, but the gardens are private.

How to Find Lincoln's Inn Fields

Lincoln's Inn Fields London© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Address: London WC2 Location Map

Nearest Tube Stations: Holborn / Chancery Lane

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Facilities: Tennis and netball courts and a bandstand.

Lincoln's Inn Fields is managed by Camden Council.

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