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 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|
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|
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|