A Garden and Statue for Joseph Merrick

Joseph Merrick lived an extraordinary life. To recognise this, Whitechapel residents together with Londoners with visible differences or disabilties aim to put up a statue of Merrick in a new city garden named after him.

Joseph loved flowers but was unable to visit the Royal London Hospital’s garden during daylight as he was surrounded by mobs each time he went into the street.

Joseph’s Garden aims to put this right by placing the new statue in the middle of a new community garden that recognises Joseph’s personal strength and dignity in the face of prejudice and ignorance.

At its heart is Joseph’s belief that we should be measured by our minds and actions and not our appearance.


Joseph’s Garden will be within sight of the shop where Merrick appeared in a “freak show” and the Royal London Hospital where he spent his last years.

It will be sited on land currently used by Crossrail and marked for reinstatement as a garden which will be planted with year round flowering plants and cared for by local residents.  

These photographs show the current reinstatement plans which will be replaced by Joseph’s garden and memorial.

This map shows the location and approximate boundary of Joseph’s Garden.

If I could reach from pole to pole or grasp the ocean with a span, I would be measured by the soul; 
The mind’s the standard of the Man.

Poem used by Joseph Merrick to end his letters (by Isaac Watts)