Bradshaw’s Hand Book, The West, District III, Hyde Park (no.28)

On a village green?
A Summer afternoon in London

It was a beautiful afternoon in London and Mr Bradshaw took me to Hyde Park. I was going to follow a strict schedule but the day was a gift and I just enjoyed it!

Map of Hyde Park
Map of Hyde Park

I started at Marble Arch, the arch that used to stand in front of Buckingham Palace and was placed in its current position in 1851. (Top r-hand corner of the map.)

Marble Arch
Marble Arch

There is a little island around Marble Arch, a leisure area in the middle of busy traffic flows, with fountains, a slightly unnerving Bronze Horse head by Nic Fiddian Green, and a statue of Genghis Khan by Dashi Namdakov. (Genghis Khan in Central London?)

Nic Fiddian Green
Nic Fiddian Green’s Bronze Horse
Genghis Khan by Dashi Namdakov
Genghis Khan by Dashi Namdakov
Fountains at Marble Arch
Fountains at Marble Arch

Speakers Corner was of course deserted, although not the cafe!

Speakers Corner Cafe in Hyde Park
Speakers Corner Cafe in Hyde Park

It was cool under the trees and Boris Bikers were everywhere.

The shady walk alongside Park Lane, in Hyde Park
The shady walk alongside Park Lane, in Hyde Park

The Joy of Life was created by T B Huxley Jones in 1963 – fun! (Brilliant photo here.)

Joy of Life fountain, Hyde Park
Joy of Life fountain, Hyde Park
One of the smaller figures on the 'Joy of Life' fountain
One of the smaller figures on the ‘Joy of Life’ fountain
Beautiful
Beautiful

The Park has several memorials. The 7/7 Memorial remembers the 52 people killed by the bombs of 7 July 2005 in central London; the Wellington is a statue of Achilles dedicated to the victories of the Duke of Wellington and erected in 1822. The money, £10,000, was raised by the women of England and the bronze came from canon used in his battles. The Cavalry Memorial was cast from guns used in WWI and erected in 1924 to remember those killed in WWI in Cavalry Regiments. The Norwegian War Memorial (1978) was from the Norwegian Naval and Merchant Fleets as a ‘thank you’ for support in WWII. And the ‘hidden’ memorial of the Queen Mother’s Gate.

7/7 Memorial
7/7 Memorial
'Achilles'
‘Achilles’, the Wellington Monument
The Cavalry Memorial
The Cavalry Memorial
Norwegian War Memorial
Norwegian War Memorial
The Queen Mother's Gate
The Queen Mother’s Gate

And then there was the Diana, Princess of Wales Fountain, unveiled in 2004.

Diana, Princess of Wales Fountain
Diana, Princess of Wales Fountain

It felt like a giant playground, for people of all ages. They were Boris Biking, riding, and buggying along Rotten Row, or being watched from the deck chairs! Others were pedalling away on the Serpentine. And the more artistically-inclined  were in the Pavilion at the Serpentine Art Gallery.

Action in Rotten Row
Action in Rotten Row
Riding along Rotten Row
Riding along Rotten Row
Levels of 'activity'
Levels of ‘activity’
Pedaloes in the Serpentine
Pedaloes in the Serpentine
The Pavilion at the Serpentine Art Gallery
The Pavilion at the Serpentine Art Gallery

It looked more like the South of France than Central London!

The Serpentine with The Lido Cafe in the background
The Serpentine with The Lido Cafe in the background

There were quiet corners too, where it was easy to imagine I was in the countryside, or a small village.

Looking towards The Long Water
Looking towards The Long Water

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The Ranger's Cottage
The Ranger’s Cottage

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Old trees in Hyde Park
Old trees in Hyde Park

And the roses were still flowering, and there were happy bees!

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Happy bees in the sedums
Happy bees in the sedums

But the summer is coming to an end

Rose hips are forming and colouring
Rose hips are forming and colouring

And so back to Charing Cross via Trafalgar Square where the Fourth Plinth matched the mood of the afternoon

The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square
The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square

One comment

  1. […] The Park changed quite dramatically in the 17C. James I allowed the aristocracy limited access and it became fashionable, particularly on May Day. Charles I created The Ring, the circular carriageway, and opened the Park to the general public in 1637. The Park was restocked with deer which were eventually confined to an area in the north-west, Buckdean Hill. (The last deer were hunted in c.1768, and by 1840 there were no deer left in the Park.) In 1642 fortifications were built around London to protect the City from Royalist attacks. The walls cut through a corner of the park with a checkpoint near the current Hyde Park Corner. The Park was sold in 1652 by order of Parliament (it was Royal property). After the Restoration, in 1660, Charles II took control of the Park again and it has remained in Royal ownership ever since. […]

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