A city square is a large open area usually situated at the center of the city or town. The open space is free for public events such as music concerts, art exhibitions, military parades, political rallies, and open markets. The United Kingdom has numerous city squares scattered around the nation’s many cities. Lincoln's Inn Fields in London is the largest city square in the UK. The other large city squares in the UK are Queen Square, Old Market Square, Trafalgar Square, and George Square.
1. Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln’s Inn Fields is the UK’s biggest square, laid out in the 1630s by the contractor William Newton, who was instrumental in developing London at the time. The square was named after Lincoln’s Inn, a school of law near the park that has been open for 600 years. Lincoln's Inn Fields remained in private ownership until the London City Council bought it in 1895. It was the location of public executions in the 17th century. The field was also used for sporting events such as tennis and netball tournaments. Currently, Lincoln's Inn Fields is dotted with trees, lush green lawns, footpaths that crisscross the open space and at the center of the park is an octagonal pavilion. Additionally, some sculptures and memorial sites are scattered in the open park.
2. Queen Square
Queen Square is the UK’s second-largest city square. It is located in Bloomsbury, central London. The square was created in 1716 from the garden of Sir John Cutler. Queen Square remained as an open area until the 19th century when some charitable institutions and booksellers set up in the area. Over time, the buildings around Queen Square were converted into healthcare institutions. Currently, Queen Square is mainly associated with medical institutions such as the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Institute of Neurology, and the Dementia Research Centre.
3. Old Market Square
Old Market Square is among the biggest and the oldest public spaces in the UK. The 800-year-old public square is the heart of Nottingham, forming its center. The square is the site for many notable events such as the Nottingham Goose Fair held every October since the 13th century. The Old Market Square has undergone numerous reconstructions, including as recently as 2005. It has prominent features like the two enormous lion sculptures outside the Council house, fountains, and the speaker’s corner.
4. Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is possibly the most iconic public square in the UK. It is fondly referred to as the "heart of the city" in London. The square has been in existence since the 13th century. It got its name from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 in which British troops won against Napoleon and his army, forever shattering the French emperor’s dream to conquer the British Isles. The open area was well known for the many pigeons that would flock there, and as many as 35,000 pigeons flocked Trafalgar Square daily until September 2007 when feeding the birds in the square was banned. Notable features in Trafalgar Square include sculptures of prominent people, water fountains, and plinths that display essential information.
5. George Square
George Square is a major public square in Glasgow, Scotland, created in 1781. The square derives its name from King George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820. George Square has been an important meeting point for various occasions for the people of Glasgow. Essential buildings surround George Square such as the North British Railway Hotel, Glasgow City Chambers, and the Queen Street Station. The square is also dotted with notable statues of influential figures in the UK’s history.
Importance Of City Squares
City squares are essential sites in most cities. Most cities are congested, and therefore city squares provide open spaces for use by the public. They are recreational centers where friends meet up, music concerts are performed, and where art displays are held. Additionally, city squares provide ideal spaces for protests, campaigns, and public rallies. The public squares are also used as markets for local produce.