- Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest
parksin central London, Englandand one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.
The park is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake. The park is contiguous with
Kensington Gardens; although often still assumed to be part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens has been technically separate since 1728, when Queen Caroline made a division between the two. Hyde Park is 350 acres (140 hectare/1.4 km²) and Kensington Gardens is 275 acres (110 ha/1.1 km²) giving an overall area of 625 acres (250 ha/2.5 km²), making this park larger than the Principality of Monaco (1.96 square kilometres or 485 acres), but still smaller than Central Park(3.41 square kilometres or 843 acres). To the southeast (but outside of the park) is Hyde Park Corner. Although, during daylight, the two parks merge seamlessly into each other, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk but Hyde Park remains open throughout the year from 5 am until midnight. The park was the site of The Great Exhibitionof 1851, for which the Crystal Palacewas designed by Joseph Paxton.
The park has become a traditional location for mass demonstrations. The Chartists, the
Reform League, the Suffragettes and the Stop The War Coalition have all held protests in the park. Many protestors on the Liberty and Livelihood March in 2002 started their march from Hyde Park.
20 July 1982in the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, two bombs linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Armycaused the death of eight members of the Household Cavalryand the Royal Green Jacketsand seven horses.
In 1536 Henry VIII acquired the manor of Hyde from the canons of
Westminster Abbey, who had held it since before the Norman Conquest; [It was the northeast part of the Manor of Eia, or Ebury. ('The Acquisition of the Estate', "Survey of London" 39: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 1 (General History) (1977), pp. 1-5. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=41820. Date accessed: 5 June 2007).] it was enclosed as a deer park and used for hunts. It remained a private hunting ground until James I permitted limited access to gentlefolk, appointing a ranger to take charge. Charles I created the Ring (north of the present Serpentine boathouses) and in 1637 he opened the park to the general public.
In 1689, when William III moved his habitation to Nottingham House in the village of
Kensingtonon the far side of Hyde Park, and renamed it Kensington Palace, he had a drive laid out across its south edge, leading to St. James's Palace; this "Route du Roi" came to be corrupted to Rotten Row, which still exists as a wide straight gravelled carriage track leading west from Hyde Park Corneracross the south boundary of Hyde Park. Public transportation that was entering London from the west paralleled the King's private road along Kensington Gore, just outside the Park.The first coherent landscaping was undertaken by Charles Bridgemanfor Queen Caroline; [Bridgeman was Royal Gardener 1728-38; he also designed the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens. Peter Willis, "Charles Bridgeman and the English Landscape Garden" (London and New York) 1978, devotes a chapter to Bridgeman's royal commissions.] under the supervision of Charles Withers, Surveyor-General of Woods and Forest, who took some credit for it, it was completed in 1733 at a cost to the public purse of ₤20,000. Bridgeman's piece of water called The Serpentine, formed by damming the little Westbourne that flowed through the Park was not truly in the serpentine "line of beauty" that William Hogarthdescribed, but merely irregular on a modest curve. The 2nd Viscount Weymouth was made Ranger of Hyde Park in 1739 and shortly began digging the serpentine lakes at Longleat. [Timothy Mowl, "Rococo and Later Landscaping at Longleat" "Garden History" 23.1 (Summer 1995, pp. 56-66) p. 59, noting Jacob Larwood, "The Story of London Parks" 1881:41.] The Serpentine is divided from the Long Water by a bridge designed by George Rennie (1826).
One of the most important events to take place in the park was the
Great Exhibition of 1851. The Crystal Palacewas constructed on the south side of the park. The public in general did not want the building to remain in the park after the conclusion of the exhibition, and the design architect, Joseph Paxton, raised funds and purchased it. He had it moved to Sydenham Hill in South London. [Purbrick, Louise: "The Great Exhibition of 1851: New Interdisciplinary Essays": 2001: Manchester University Press, p. 122]
The Grand Entrance to the park, at
Hyde Park Cornernext to Apsley House, was erected from the designs of Decimus Burtonin 1824-25. [ Howard Colvin, "A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840", 3rd ed. 1995, under "Decimus Burton."] An early description reports:
"It consists of a screen of handsome fluted
Ionic columns, with three carriage entrance archways, two foot entrances, a lodge, etc. The extent of the whole frontage is about 107 ft (33 m). The central entrance has a bold projection: the entablature is supported by four columns; and the volutes of the capitals of the outside column on each side of the gateway are formed in an angular direction, so as to exhibit two complete faces to view. The two side gateways, in their elevations, present two insulated Ionic columns, flanked by antae. All these entrances are finished by a blocking, the sides of the central one being decorated with a beautiful frieze, representing a naval and military triumphal procession. This frieze was designed by Mr. Henning, junior, the son of Mr. Henning who was well known for his models of the Elgin marbles.
"The gates were manufactured by Messrs. Bramah. They are of iron, bronzed, and fixed or hung to the piers by rings of gun-metal. The design consists of a beautiful arrangement of the Greek honeysuckle ornament; the parts being well defined, and the raffles of the leaves brought out in a most extraordinary manner."
A rose garden, designed by Colvin & Moggeridge, was added in 1994. [ [http://www.gardenvisit.com/landscape/london/lguide/hyde-park-landscape.htm GardenVisit.com:Hyde Park] ]
ites of interest
Sites of interest in the park include
Speakers' Corner(located in the northeast corner near Marble Arch), close to the former site of the Tyburn gallows, and Rotten Row, which is the northern boundary of the site of the Crystal Palace. South of the Serpentine Lake is the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain opened on 6 July 2004. To the east of the Serpentine, just beyond the dam, is London's Holocaust Memorial. A magnificent specimen of a botanical curiosity is the Weeping Beech, "Fagus sylvatica pendula", cherished as "the upside-down tree" ("illustration"). Opposite Hyde Park Corner stands one of the grandest hotels in London, The Lanesborough, which offers its top suite at £8,000 per night.
Stanhope Lodge (Decimus Burton, 1824-25) at Stanhope Gate, [Burton also provided lodges at Cumberland and Grosvenor Gates. (Colvin 1995:"Decimus Burton".)] demolished to widen
Park Lane, was the home of Samuel Parkes who won the Victoria Crossin the Charge of the Light Brigade. Parkes was later Inspector of the Park Constables of the Park and died in the Lodge on 14 November 1864.The photography for the Beatles album " Beatles for Sale" was taken at Hyde Park in the autumn of 1964.
Hyde Park has been the venue for some famous rock concerts, including
Pink Floyd(1968 and 1970), Jethro Tull (1968), Traffic(1968), Fleetwood Mac(1968), Blind Faith(1969), The Rolling Stones(1969), King Crimson(1969), Crosby, Stills & Nash(1969), Eric Burdon& War (1970), Canned Heat(1970), Grand Funk Railroad(1971), Roy Harper(1971), Wigwam (1975), Queen (1976), Pavarotti(1991), The Who(1996), Eric Clapton(1996), Michael Flatley(1998), Steps(2000), Bon Jovi(2003), Shania Twain(2003), Red Hot Chili Peppers(2004), Live 8(2005), Queen + Paul Rodgers(2005), Daft Punk(2007), Depeche Mode(2006), Foo Fighters(2006), Aerosmith(2007), White Stripes(2007), and Capital 95.8 Party in the Park& Concert For Mandella 90 (2008). Red Hot Chili Peppersin 2004 did three concerts over the space of one week, these three concerts became the highest grossing concerts at a single venue in history. Eric Claptonperformed here just recently during his 2008 Summer Tour, the concert took place on Saturday the 28th of June (the bill also featured Sheryl Crow& John Mayerperforming Crossroads alongside Eric Clapton)
Hyde Park in fiction
In Volume II of
Alan Moore's graphic novel, " The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Allan Quatermainimplies that Hyde Park is named in honour of Mr. Edward Hyde, the bestial alter ego of Dr. Henry Jekyll, the titular character(s) of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, " The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". This was a posthumous honour, done so to recognize Hyde's death while attempting to stop invaders from the planet Marsin their advance upon London (adapted from H. G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds"). In this story, Hyde Park was originally named "Serpentine Park".
The park is mentioned in the
Bernard Cornwellnovel Sharpe's Regiment, a reenactment of the Battle of Vitoriawas staged. During the reenactment, Major Richard Sharpe, led the Second Battalion of the South Essex Regiment into Hyde Park holding a French Imperial Eagle, which Sharpe had captured during the Battle of Talavera, to present his men to the Prince Regent in order to secure their protection from Sharpe's enemies.
Hyde Park is also the setting for
Anne Perry's Victorian murder mystery, " The Hyde Park Headsman" in which several murder victims are found beheaded in or near the park under strange circumstances, causing near-hysterical terror in the residents of 1892 London. Superintendent Thomas Pittis charged with discovering the murderer before he/she can strike again.
Hyde Park features as a setting in "
The Eye in the Door" by British novelist Pat Barker. Chapter one in particular alludes to the Park's history as a gay cruising ground before the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967.
It featured where Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver fight in the 2004 to "Bridget Jones Diary".
The discovery of a young scientist's body in the Long Water, near the Peter Pan statue, is a central incident in
Boris Starling's 2006 novel Visibility.
Destroy All Humans! 2, it is an area in Albion, a fictionalized London.
Featured in Libba Bray's
Rebel Angelsand The Sweet Far Thing.
There are five
London Undergroundstations located on or near the edges of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens(which is contiguous with Hyde Park). In clockwise order starting from the south-east, they are:
* Hyde Park Corner (
* Knightsbridge (
* Queensway (
* Lancaster Gate (
* Marble Arch (
Many buses also serve the local area.
*Room, Adrian. "Brewer's Names", Cassell, London, 1992. ISBN 0-304-34077-4
*'Hyde Park', Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 375-405. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45205. Date accessed:
6 June 2007.
* [http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/parks/hyde_park/ Official website]
* [http://lebensfilme.de/?Referenz:VideoHyde=1 Hyde Park Union: Documentary about Hyde Park and its speakers]
* [http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=527250&Y=180250&A=Y&Z=2 Map showing Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens]
* [http://www.oldstratforduponavon.com/londonmarblearch A few old postcards of Hyde Park and Marble Arch]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=51.507140,-0.170460&spn=0.012206,0.030088&t=k Hyde Park at Google Maps]
* [http://www.victorianlondon.org/entertainment/hydepark.htm Hyde Park in the 19th century]
* [http://www.european-city-parks.com/london/hyde-park/ Hyde Park article]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.