The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
St. James's Park
, which was formerly a marsh, was inclosed by Henry VIII., and afterwards much enlarged by Charles II., who employed Le Notre, gardener to Louis XIV., to lay out the grounds. What is now called Walk, was formerly an aviary, and near it was a pond, where Charles II. might be seen,
At the east end of the park, there was a swampy retreat for the ducks, thence denominated Duck-island, which, by that merry monarch, was erected into a government, and a salary annexed to the office, in favour of the celebrated French writer, M. de St. Evremond, who was the and last governor. Le Notre constructed , so long a fashionable promenade, and frequently mentioned by our British Essayists.
It will be seen by the following notice, which appeared in the London Gazette of the , that was then within the rigorous operation of the Game Laws :
In this park are pieces of artillery, the trophies of our arms, in distant parts of the globe. is a Turkish piece of ordnance, about eighteen feet in length, which was brought from Alexandria, by our troops, in the campaign of -. The other is a grand mortar, which was cast in the French camp, during the siege of Cadiz, in the last Peninsular war. It is feet long, the bore is inches in diameter, and it will throw a shell a distance of miles. When the British troops, under the immortal Wellington, compelled the French to raise the siege, this mortar fell into our hands, and was brought to England. In it was mounted on a bed of metal, weighing tons, with several allegorical devices and an appropriate inscription, and placed in this park.
In , very important and in some respect excellent alterations were made in St. James's-park; the interior has been entirely altered, the straight formal canal has been widened in some places and narrowed in others, and some pretty little picturesque islands have been formed, numerous paths have been made, and the tout ensemble of the whole is very pleasing. Of the alterations without the fence little can be said in praise; the width of the promenade has been narrowed by taking m the old carriage road next Carlton-house gardens; and forming a road on what was formerly . On the opposite side of the park the same has been done by enclosing a large piece of ground within the rails. Indeed it is a matter of doubt how much longer the beautiful groves of trees forming and Birdcage-walk will exist, as the terraces intended by the
will be so near the trees that it will be almost impossible for them to have any view of the park or canal, the whole architectural effect (if they ever possess any) will be effectually concealed.
The is a triangular piece of ground, parallel with , and adjoining to and the gardens of Buckingham-house. It contains a sheet of water on the north side, with a promenade round it, which is much frequented in summer.
In the Antiquarian Repertory there is a View of St. James's, , and hall, taken from the village of Charing-
In this view, on the left of the observer is a public house, with some large trees before it, and or small cottages: these are at the village just mentioned. From thence runs a long dead wall, which belongs to the palace. The site of this wall is now occupied by the capacious and elegant street of . Near the eastern extremity is a conduit, supposed to be standing where now is; at the end of the wall stands the present palace of St. James. Beyond the wall are fields, now ; and beyond those stand the venerable abbey and hall of ; the back ground is an elevated country, where not a solitary house can be discovered.
This tract of ground, as far as the wall and palace just mentioned belonged, and still does, to the parish of in the Fields, and, as such,