Nestled away behind the Hospital church of St Bartholomew the Less and next to the Henry VIII Gate is a place of secluded serenity, the Princess Alice Garden.
It was opened in 1962 to provide patients and visitors with some peace and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the Hospital and the City of London, and is maintained by the Guild.
In 2001, it was decided to name the garden in honour of HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, on the occasion of her 100th birthday. HRH Princess Alice had been Patron and President of the Guild since 1937, and she provided a great deal of support throughout her 67-year association with the Guild until her death in 2004.
In 2010, new planting took place thanks to sponsorship from Fidelity International, and under the watchful eye of Guild stalwart Jackie Roe the garden is now regularly watered and maintained by a dedicated gardener.
Refurbishment works on the Garden started in March 2019, with a plan devised by the renowned landscape gardener Mary Keen to rearrange, refresh and restore the planting of the garden. Shrubs are being used more than perennials for simplicity, and some plants from Princess Alice’s original list are being introduced.
As Barts and the City has got busier, and louder, the Princess Alice Garden remains an oasis of calm, save for the constant interruptions of pigeons and the resident, extremely tame, squirrels!