Peek over a neighbour’s garden wall at St John’s Wood exhibition

Caf� offers the chance for residents to find out the secrets of their neighbours’ gardens

For many St John’s Wood residents the chance for a glimpse behind the walls of their neighbours’ homes is something they only dream of.

But a new exhibition which opened last week at a cultural caf� in Queen’s Terrace is giving people exactly that chance.

Secret Gardens of St John’s Wood delves into the private back yards of 20 houses in the area with a series of photographs on display at the Queen’s Terrace Caf�.

While the exhibition consists of individual photos of each garden, a limited edition book of the same name has also been published with a further 50 pictures of the gardens and accompanying extracts from house owners.

The concept behind the exhibition and book was that of caf� owner Mireille Galinou.

Her book Cottages and Villas, which was published last year, explored the development of St John’s Wood as the first “garden suburb”.

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She said: “St John’s Wood is well known for its villas and gardens, but very few are actually open to the public. These gardens are largely unknown and local people are very curious.

“What the Queen’s Terrace Caf� is trying to do is bring to the fore not only the creativity of the area but also its heritage.

“This project marries past and present together. It’s history in the making because in 20 or 30 years time it will take on even more significance.”

The pictures were taken by professional photographer Peter Marshall.

He said: “It’s a very mixed bunch of gardens. For example there is one that is a penthouse overlooking Lord’s cricket ground. There are some that are very big houses and then others that are quite small. It’s very interesting looking over high walls that you usually don’t get to see behind.”

n The caf� is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm and the exhibition runs until November 5. The limited edition Secret Gardens of St John’s Wood book is available to buy at the cafe for �20.