Essential Architecture-  London

Hyde Park

architect

various

location

Hyde Park

date

1637

style

various

construction

trees, etc.

type

Outdoor space/ Park
 
 
 
 
  Hyde Park: Rotten Row
 
  The Serpentine, viewed from the eastern end
 
  The Upside-down Tree, Fagus sylvatica pendula
 
  The Grand Entrance to Hyde Park
 
  The main Live 8 concert in Hyde Park on 2 July 2005
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, England and 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, which is widely assumed to be part of Hyde Park, but is technically separate. 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).

The park was the site of The Great Exhibition of 1851, for which the Crystal Palace was 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.

On 20 July 1982 in the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, two bombs linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Army caused the death of eight members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets and seven horses.

History


In 1536 Henry VIII acquired the manor of Hyde from the canons of Westminster Abbey, who had held it since before the Norman Conquest;[1] 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 Kensington on 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 Corner across 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 Bridgeman for Queen Caroline;[2] 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 Hogarth described, 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.[3] 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 Palace was 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.[4]

Grand Entrance

"The Grand Entrance to the park, at Hyde Park Corner next to Apsley House, was erected from the designs of Decimus Burton in 1824-25.[5] 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. [6]

Sites of interest
Sites of interest in the park include Speakers' Corner (located in the northeast corner near Marble Arch), which is the former site of the Tyburn gallows, and Rotten Row, which is the northern boundary of the site of the Crystal Palace. To the southeast is Hyde Park Corner. South of the Serpentine Lake is the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain opened on 6 July 2004. 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,[7] demolished to widen Park Lane, was the home of Samuel Parkes who won the Victoria Cross in 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 autumn of 1964.

Concerts

Hyde Park has been the venue for some famous rock concerts, including those featuring Pink Floyd (1968) and (1970), Jethro Tull (1968), Blind Faith (1969), The Rolling Stones (1969), King Crimson (1969), Grand Funk Railroad (1971), Roy Harper (1971), 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 and Paul Rodgers (2005), Daft Punk 2007), Depeche Mode (2006), Foo Fighters (2006),Ditlev Frisch (2007,)Aerosmith (2007) and White Stripes (2007). Over 150,000 people attended Queen's concert in 1976 [1] and Capital 95.8 Party in the Park.

Hyde Park in fiction
In Volume II of Alan Moore's graphic novel, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Allan Quatermain implies 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 Mars in their advance upon London (adapted from H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds). In this story, Hyde Park was originally named "Serpentine Park".

In the Bernard Cornwell novel Sharpe's Regiment, a reenactment of the Battle of Vitoria was 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.

In The Face of Evil (a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who), The Doctor is attempting to reach Hyde Park when he lands on an alien planet.

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 Pitt is 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 sequel to Bridget Jones Diary.

Also, In Destroy All Humans! 2, it is an area in Albion, a fictionalized London.

Featured in Libba Bray's Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing.

Transport
There are five London Underground stations 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 (Piccadilly Line)
Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line)
Queensway (Central Line)
Lancaster Gate (Central Line)
Marble Arch (Central Line)
Bayswater on the Circle and District Lines, is also close to Queensway station and the north-west corner of the park.
Many buses also serve the local area.

Notes
^ 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: 05 June 2007).
^ 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.
^ 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.
^ Purbrick, Louise: "The Great Exhibition of 1851: New Interdisciplinary Essays": 2001: Manchester University Press, p. 122
^ Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. 1995, under "Decimus Burton."
^ GardenVisit.com:Hyde Park
^ Burton also provided lodges at Cumberland and Grosvenor Gates. (Colvin 1995:"Decimus Burton".)

References
Room, Adrian. Brewer's Names, Cassell, London, 1992. ISBN 0-304-34077-4

links

'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: 06 June 2007.
Official website
Hyde Park Union: Documentary about Hyde Park and its speakers
Map showing Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
A few old postcards of Hyde Park and Marble Arch
Hyde Park at Google Maps
Hyde Park in the 19th century Hyde Park article
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