Clerkenwell Green, first mentioned in the 11th century, was the unique public open space outside the City walls where people wishing to protest and make their rights known could speak openly. This brought about changes in law and freedoms that are enjoyed throughout the world today. Clerkenwell Green has retained its size and shape from the 16th century and witnessed many celebrated orators, political gatherings and historic events (see here).
Clerkenwell Green Preservation Society Ltd, run entirely by volunteers, was founded in 2002 by Ann Pembroke, with the aim to protect and restore this significant public open space and promote the Green's rich history.
The first major initiative made by the Society was to mount a campaign to prevent the public open space of Clerkenwell Green (London EC1) from the threat of a multi-storey commercial building being built on the central site of the Victorian lavatories. The Society's campaign was successful, thanks to the enthusiastic support by the media, in particular The Times and The Guardian newspapers, and many notable individuals from throughout the United Kingdom who wish to retain the ambience of what is known as "the first London village".
Further activities followed, including saving the entrances of the public toilets from being concreted over. Also, the Society intervened to stop the stone Metropolitan horse and cattle trough on the Green being a depository for refuse and instead had it planted with flowers.
The Society is conscious of the vulnerability of Clerkenwell Green to exploitation and abhors its current use as it has developed into an unsightly parking lot and through road. Moreover, the impending opening of Crossrail at Farringdon Station will generate public interest and increased footfall on Clerkenwell Green, which gives the Society the opportunity to share and promote the rich history of Clerkenwell Green to a wider public.
Clerkenwell Green Preservation Society Ltd is a non-profit making company limited by guarantee, registered number 04353031. Directors: Ann Pembroke, OSt.J., C.C. (Founder and Chairman), Helen Cagnoni. Hon. Secretary: Stuart Wortley.