The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


Hyde Park.


This demesne formerly belonged to the abbots and canons of ; but Henry VIII. obtained it in exchange for other lands. Notwithstanding its present very great extent, it


was originally much larger than even at present, being much reduced by the enclosure of Kensington-gardens. From a survey made in the year , contained acres, valued at per annum; the timber growing thereupon was valued at the sum of ; the deer at ; the materials of a lodge at ; and those of a building designed for a banquetting-house, at The park was divided into lots, and being sold to several purchasers, produced the sum of including the timber and deer. After the Restoration, when the crown lands were resumed into the king's hands, this park was replenished with deer, and surrounded with a brick wall, having before that time been fenced with pales.

The following description of the diversions of , about that time, will not perhaps be unacceptable:

May 1, 1654

. This day was more observed by people going a maying than for divers years past. Great resort to

Hyde park

; many


of rich coaches, and gallants in attire, but most shameful powdered hair men, and painted spotted women, some men plaid with a silver ball, and some took their recreation, but his highness the lord protector went not thither, nor any of the lords of the council.

It was about this tine that Cromwell met with an accident in , which had near cost him his life. Taking the air there day with secretary Therloe, in his own coach and , he chose to, turn charioteer but the horses proving ungovernable, he was thrown from the box, and in his fall discharged of his pocket pistols.

This extensive piece of ground is a place of singular beauty, and has a fine piece of water, somewhat ridiculously called The , which was formed in the year , by enlarging the bed of a stream flowing through the park, which, taking its rise at Bayswater, on the Uxbridge-road, falls into the Thames at Ranelagh.

An intelligent writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for April and , has suggested several valuable improvements in this river. He remarks that, whoever rides or walks along the south side of the river, must be struck with the very disagreeable effect of the head that now interrupts the continuation that might be given to that beautiful piece of water in a hollow, between rising and varied banks (as by this writer's improvements they would then be made), clothed with wood, amongst which its termination might be hid. This should be done with a simple and easy flow, as there is nothing to justify any very sudden turns or abrupt breaks, which would only produce littleness and confusion.

The walk above-mentioned, when separated from the rides by a rail, and joined to that above it, near the garden-gate, would be of the most beautiful of any in the park. That in the gardens would


be at least equally so, by being carried in a winding manner along the sides of the water, which it would look down upon, and command the reaches of. Several other almost equally judicious and important alterations are suggested in the above valuable work.

Some years ago was somewhat deficient in wood, many of the old trees being much decayed; but since the time alluded to, many plantations have been made, and its general appearance is now greatly enlivened.

On the north side of the , are the lodge and gardens of the keeper, which have a very pleasing and picturesque effect. The powder magazine, however, takes off from the beauty.

Besides being the most fashionable of our Sunday promenades, is used for field days of the horse and foot guards, and for some reviews.

Since the accession of his present majesty, great improvements have been made in the entrances to . Elegant lodges and gates have been erected opposite and ; they are of the Doric order, from the designs of Decimus Burton, esq. and were erected in . The wall has been taken down from Hyde-park-corner towards , and a light iron railing substituted. The new gate at Hyde-park-corner has been already noticed; and a new walk, with handsome railings, has been formed from the above gate to the opposite .

At the south-east corner of , is the gigantic and absurd


[] Kensington palace is in the parish of St. Mary, Kensington.

[] Lyson's Env. ii. p. 182.

[] Vide ante, p. 373.

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda