Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hyde Park has been pinned!

Hyde park is not only one of the largest parks in London, it is also one of the 11 Royal Parks and one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. The park covers 350 acres and it contains and is surrounded by a number of  famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner, Marble Arch, Wellington Arch and Rotten Row.

The land was acquired by Henry VIII  from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536 and he used it as a private hunting park for deer. It remained closed to the public until James I came to the throne, however he only allowed limited access to the park. It wasn't until Charles I became monarch that the general public were allowed full access to the park in 1637.

Ref: AWNS-19250730-53-6, the latest craze of Country Dancing in Hyde Park, 1925, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Charles I and subsequent monarchs also influenced the design of the park. For example, Charles I had 300 oil lamps added to the park, so that he could walk in safety to Kensington Palace. This route later became known as Rotten Row - a corruption of the French 'Route de Roi' or King's Road. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Rotten Row was a fashionable place for upper-class Londoners to be seen promenading and horse riding.

Charles I also had the circular track called the Ring created, so that  members of the royal court could drive their carriages through the park. The Serpentine, the large lake in the centre of Hyde Park was created in the 1730s by Queen Caroline, wife of George II.

Ref: AWNS-19340801-54-2, Crowds watching the start of the Coaching Marathon, 1934, Sir George Grey Special Collections
During the 1820s and the reign of King George IV, the park went under a full makeover, which included the creation of a grand entrance to the park and the addition of Wellington Arch, railings, lodges and gates around the park. In 1851, the Great Exhibition was housed in the Crystal Palace, which was located by Rotten Row.

Hyde Park has remained an important place for people to relax, take part in sports, speak their mind and for demonstrations, national ceremonies and processions. It was even used as a place to camp in 1665 by Londoners trying to avoid the Great Plague.

Ref: AWNS-19370602-58-2, Camping out in Hyde Park along the route of the Coronation procession, 1937, Sir George Grey Special Collection
In the Auckland Libraries' Heritage Images database, there is a huge selection of images of Hyde Park from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News. The images range from the historical to the interesting, to the bizarre and quirky. We have been busy pinning these images up on Historypin and now you can virtually explore one of the world's most famous parks. This collection captures all these Hyde Park moments and more, as they were reported on in the New Zealand press at the time. Same location, different perspective.

To access 'Hyde Park from a New Zealand perspective', go to the Auckland Libraries, Heritage and Research channel/profile page on the Historypin website, scroll down the page and click on the Collections tab and choose the Hyde Park collection. Enjoy!

Link to AL Heritage & Research content on Historypin

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