The site became a public garden in 1886, opening as St John's Wood Church Grounds. It was a burial ground from 1814 to 1855 - only a small fraction of its history. Perhaps this is why it is so little known. There are thought to be 50,000 graves here but only a part of the area is still obviously a cemetery. (A transcription was made in 1962 of the gravestones that were still legible and this can be consulted in the Westminster City Archives.)
Most of the area is simply a lovely park, handy for Lord's Cricket Ground on the other side of the road and obviously overshadowed by the famous Regent's Park next door. But whilst the latter will be teaming with people on a summer's day, this park continues in relative silence and solitude.
Among the remaining monuments is that of water colourist John Sell Cotman (16 May 1782 – 24 July 1842). He was an English marine and landscape painter, etcher, illustrator and author, who became Master of Landscape Drawing at King's College School in London, partly on the recommendation of J. M. W. Turner.
The garden has many mature trees providing plenty of shade. There is a children's playground and an outside gym. On the roundabout in front of the church is a Neo-baroque war memorial with bronze sculpture of St George and the Dragon, 1925-30, by C.L. Hartwell RA, sculptor.