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St. James's Park
Buckingham Palace from St James's Park - geograph.org.uk - 522827.jpg
St. James's Park, looking west towards Buckingham Palace.
Location Westminster, London
Coordinates 51°30′6″N 0°7′55″W / 51.50167°N 0.13194°W / 51.50167; -0.13194Coordinates: 51°30′6″N 0°7′55″W / 51.50167°N 0.13194°W / 51.50167; -0.13194
Area 23 hectares (57 acres)
Established 1603
Operated by The Royal Parks
Public transit access St. James's Park, Victoria, and Westminster
Looking east from the Blue Bridge on St. James's Park Lake.

St. James's Park is a 23 hectares (57 acres)[1] park in the City of Westminster, central London.[2] The park lies at the southernmost tip of the St James's area, which was named after a leper hospital dedicated to St. James the Less.

Geographical location

St. James's Park is bounded by Buckingham Palace to the west, The Mall and St James's Palace to the North, Horse Guards to the east, and Birdcage Walk to the south.

Features

The park has a small lake, St. James's Park Lake, with two islands, West Island, and Duck Island, which is named for the lake's collection of waterfowl. This includes a resident colony of pelicans, which has been a feature of the park since the first gift of the birds from a Russian ambassador in 1664. The Blue Bridge across the lake affords a view west towards Buckingham Palace framed by trees. Looking east the view includes the Swire fountain to the north of Duck Island and, past the lake, the grounds known as the Horse Guards Parade, with the Horse Guards building, the Old War Office building, and Whitehall Court progressively behind. To the south of Duck Island is the Tiffany fountain situated on Pelican Rock, and past the lake is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the London Eye, the Shell Tower, and The Shard progressively behind.

The park is the most easterly of a near-continuous chain of parks that also comprises (moving westward) Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. The closest London Underground stations are St. James's Park, Victoria, and Westminster.

History

In 1532, Henry VIII purchased from Eton College an area of marshland, through which the Tyburn flowed. This land lay to the West of York Place, recently acquired by Henry from Cardinal Wolsey; it was purchased in order to turn York Palace, renamed Whitehall, into a dwelling fit for a king. On James I's accession to the throne in 1603, he ordered that the park be drained and landscaped, and exotic animals kept in the park, including camels, crocodiles, and an elephant, as well as exotic birds kept in aviaries along the south.[3]

During Charles II's exile in France under the Commonwealth of England, the young king was impressed by the elaborate gardens at French royal palaces, and on his he ascension had the park redesigned in a more formal style, probably by the French landscaper André Mollet. This included the creation of the 775 by 38 metre (850 by 42 yard) canal visible in the old plan. Charles II opened the park to the public as well as used the area to entertain guests and mistresses, such as Nell Gwyn. The park was notorious at the time as a meeting place for impromptu acts of lechery, of which John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester wrote in his poem "A Ramble in St. James's Park".[4]

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries cows were grazed on the park, and milk could be bought fresh at the "Lactarian", described by Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach in 1710.[5]

The 18th century saw further changes, including the reclamation of part of the canal for Horse Guards Parade and the 1761 purchase of Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) at the west end of the Mall, for the use of Queen Charlotte.

Further remodelling in 1826–27, commissioned by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and overseen by the architect and landscaper John Nash, saw the straight canal's conversion to a more naturally-shaped lake, and formal avenues rerouted to romantic winding pathways. At the same time, Buckingham House was expanded to create the current palace, and Marble Arch was built at its entrance, whilst The Mall was turned into a grand processional route, opened to public traffic 60 years later in 1887, the Marble Arch having been moved to its current location at the junction of Oxford Street and Park Lane in 1851 and replaced with the Victoria Memorial between 1906 and 1924.

In popular culture

  • In Charlie Higson's post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel The Enemy (2009), two groups of children battle for control of St. James's Park, after a worldwide sickness has infected adults turning them into something akin to zombies.

References

  1. ^ "St. James’s Park". Royalparks.org.uk. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  2. ^ St. James's Park – History
  3. ^ "St James's Park – From pigs to processions". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Rochester. "A Ramble in St. James's Park". 
  5. ^ Cockayne, Emily (2007). Hubbub: Filth Noise & Stench in England. Yale University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-300-13756-9. 

External links

  • [1] royalparks.org

12 Annotations

language hat  •  Link

From the Companion:

St. James's Park. Formed and walled in by Henry VIII, transformed by Charles II and much modified by George IV. The diary has many references to its use by the King and his circle, to the degree of semi-privacy preserved there, and to the great alterations in its lay-out made in the '60s, but no set of plans of those alterations has yet appeared. It contained at this time a lake and canal, a physic garden and several deer-houses.

Glyn  •  Link

St James Park was next to St James Palace (now long-gone) and very near to Pepys' office.

Although there were still open fields nearby, parks were less common. This map shows buildings were beginning to grow around it:

http://instruct.uwo.ca/english/234e/site/lndnmp...

And this map from about 80 years later, show the Park after its alterations by King Charles 2nd:

http://www.motco.com/Map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

You will find these and other maps at "BACKGROUND INFORMATION / GENERAL REFERENCE / MAPS / MAPS OF LONDON"

vincent  •  Link

St James Park and rest of city 173?
"....St. James's Park is something more than a mile in circumference, and
the form pretty near oval; about the middle of it runs a canal 2,800
feet in length and 100 in breadth, and near it are several other
waters, which form an island that has good cover for the breeding
and harbouring wild ducks and other water-fowl; on the island also
is a pretty house and garden, scarce visible to the company in the
park..... the shining equipage of the soldiery, will find their eyes and ears agreeably entertained by the
horse ..."
london 1731 written 17xx Don Manoel Gonzales

http://www.flora-source.com/library/610-1.html

Also pages of description of London town . A regular tour guide for "Toute de mondo popoli including the commutors rushing from black fryers ste" It may be 70 years later. London of the 1940's is closer to SP than changes that have come to be 'til now (the 21st c), since first I went prancing down the mall to Buck. Pal.

paul galpin  •  Link

St. James's Palace (now long-gone)

Glyn is somewhat precipitate to describe St. James's Palace thus, since it still stands, close to St. James's Park, sandwiched between The Mall and Pall Mall - where it can be seen on the second map referenced by Glyn.

The Palace remains a Royal Residence as well as housing some of the offices of the Royal Household. Further information about the Palace can be found at http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page562.asp

dirk  •  Link

A contemporary anecdote...

"It was [...] in St. James's Park the Duke of York, meeting John Milton one day, asked him if his blindness was not to be regarded as a just punishment from heaven, due to his having written against the martyred king. "If so, sir," replied the great poet and staunch republican, "what must we think of his majesty's execution upon a scaffold?" To which question his royal highness vouchsafed no reply."

From:
"Royalty Restored or London under Charles II", ch.XIX

http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/hs...

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Dankerts, Henrik (Dutch c.1625-1680)

Whitehall and Westminster from St James's Park; view looking E along the Park with the Mall left and the canal right, in the distance from left to right, Northumberland House, the houses bordering on Whitehall, Wallingford House, the Banqueting House, Holbein's Gate, the Cockpit, the Clock Tower, the West gate of New Palace Yard, Westminster Hall, St Margaret's, Westminster and the Abbey, in the mid-distance towards the left a tall post or maypole with a group of figures to the left
Pen and brown ink, with grey wash and watercolour; on three conjoined sheets with two strips interpolated

Executed, after c. 1662

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_th...

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Dankerts, Henrik (Dutch c.1625-1680)

St James's Park from the NE; view of the park seen from the eastern end of the canal and looking directly along it towards a distant building, probably Tart Hall, in the foreground three statues of classical figures, the central one representing a gladiator, along both sides of the canal, rows of young trees forming avenues running outwards diagonally, on the extreme left beyond a wall with a gateway, a double-gabled house with balcony and to its right other buildings, to the right a maypole (?) and beyond it the Mall visible through an avenue of taller trees

Pen and brown ink, over graphite, with grey, brown and blue-green wash; on two conjoined sheets
Executed, after c. 1662
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_th...

Pedro  •  Link

The Canada Goose

The Canada goose is a native of the American Atlantic seaboard, and records purport it to have been introduced to England by King Charles II (or more likely a collector), around 1660, having acquired a number of birds as additions to his wildfowl collection in St James's Park, London. Due to this Royal connection it soon became popular in country gardens with lakes and ponds across England, especially due to its striking plumage and call. It became a wildfowl staple with landed gentry and country estates. Surprisingly, despite its popularity, the first recorded entry for breeding does not occur until 1890. However, this may be the first wild breeding record, rather than captive. The records do not give a distinction. The Canada goose has taken 200 years to spread nationally, via escapees, released birds and possibly human intervention (see pest control below), in the wild and become acknowledged on the British list as a native bird1.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A14540447

Bill  •  Link

James's (St.) Park, a park of 58 1/2 acres (shaped not unlike a boy's kite), originally appertaining to the Palace of St James's. It was first formed and walled in by Henry VIII., replanted and beautified by Charles II.
...
Charles II threw the several ponds (Rosamond's Pond excepted) into one artificial canal, built a decoy for ducks, a small ring fence for deer, planted trees in even ranks, and introduced broad gravel walks in place of narrow and winding footpaths. Well might Dr King exclaim:

"The fate of things lies always in the dark;
What Cavalier would know St James's Park?
For Locket stands where gardens once did spring
And wild ducks quack where grasshoppers did sing."
...
Waller describes in pretty if somewhat languid and diffuse verse his vision of the charms of completed St James's, -- the groves with lovers walking in their amorous shade; the gallants dancing by the river's side, where they bathe in summer and in winter slide; the crystal lake in which a shoal of silver fishes glide, while laden anglers make the fishes and the men their prize.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

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