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THE PARKS AND GARDENS.
Fountains and trees, our wearied pride do please,
This splendid city!
ST. JAMES' PARK Was originally formed by Henry VIII., who caused to be drained and enclosed what at that time was little better than a marsh. It was afterwards much improved by Charles II., who employed Le Notre to plant the avenues and form the canal, as also the aviary adjoining, from which the bird-cage-walk took its name. Succeed ing kings allowed the people the privilege of walking here, and William III., in 1699, granted the neighbour. ing inhabitants a passage into it through Spring-gardens. In 1828 it assumed its present appearance, and is now one of the most delightful promenades in the metropolis.
On the parade, in front of the Horse-guards, are placed
a Turkish piece of ordnance, captured at Alexandria by the British army, a piece of ordnance captured at Waterloo, and one of the mortars used by the French army to throw shells into Cadiz; its range being said to be three miles, and its weight sixteen tons.
One of the regiments of the foot guards daily parades in this park, between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, attended by the band.
THE GREEN PARK. Previous to the reign of Charles II. the Green Park was occupied by meadows; and it is to that monarch we are indebted for its being converted into an appanage of St. James' Palace. In 1730 it was the scene of a remarkable duel, between the celebrated minister, Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath, and John, Lord Hervey. It has recently been much improved, and now forms an agreeable promenade from St. James' Palace to Hyde Park corner. At the north-east angle is an useful reservoir, belonging to the Chelsea Waterworks, having no pretensions to picturesqueness or beauty.
HYDE PARK. This park, which is separated from the Green Park by the width of the street at Hyde Park corner, contains within its precincts about four hundred acres, and derives its name from the Manor of Hyde, given in exchange to Henry VIII. for other lands, at the suppression of the monastery. It has been greatly reduced in size by the building of housəs, and by the appropriation of a part to enlarge Kensington Gardens; it is, however, still large; and from the salubrity of the air has been happily called
one of the “lungs of London.” The views from the higher portions of ground are very pleasing ; more particularly those to the south and west. The Serpentine
THE SERPENTINE. river, which forms a lake at the junction with Kensing. ton Gardens, is crossed by a flat bridge of five arches, erected from the designs of Sir John Rennie. On the lower, or Knightsbridge side, are the barracks of the life guards. The grand entrance is at Hyde Park corner, Piccadilly, by a handsome gateway erected from the designs of Mr. Decimus Burton, divided into five leading parts, consisting of three arched entrances and two connecting colonnades; the centre one being the widest, and decorated with coupled Ionic columns. The colonnades are open, and support a beautiful entablature. The frieze is ornamented with basso relievo, representing a triumphal equestrian procession.
Vast numbers of persons assemble here on a Sunday afternoon, chiefly on the esplanade from Piccadilly to Kensington Gardens, on the north side of the Serpentine. Horsemen of every grade, and vehicles of every description, are then to be seen ; aud costumes as various as the climes which produce them: altogether forming a scene of extraordinary attraction. It is also much frequented during the season by the aristocracy on week days, from four to six o'clock.
A house has been erected by the Humane Society on the margin of the Serpentine, for the reception of such as by accident are immersed in the water; and every precaution is taken to prevent the loss of life.
THE REGENT'S PARK
Is situated on the north side of the metropolis, between the New-road and Hampstead. In the reign of Elizabeth this was a royal park and residence; at the restoration it passed into the hands of private individuals : when on its reverting to the crown, in 1814, it was again converted, under the direction of Mr. Nash, into a park, by the prince regent, afterwards George IV., from whom it derives its name. It is nearly of a circular form, and consists of four hundred and fifty acres, laid out in shrubberies, adorned with a fine piece of water, and intersected with roads, which are most delightful rides or promenades in fine weather. There is an artificial lake, over which are thrown some neat suspension bridges. In the enclosure are several villas; and in the immediate neighbourhood are various ornamental terraces; named York, Cumberland, Cornwall, Hanover, Gloucester, and Connaught, some of which have handsome houses, inhabited by persons of wealth and distinction, in various styles of architecture.
The Colosseum, Diorama, and Zoological Gardens, will be found described in other parts of this work.
The entire circumference of these delightful grounds is about two miles and three quarters. They were tastefully laid out by Bridgman, Kent, and Brown, in the French style of the seventeenth century, under the direction of Caroline, queen of George II. Though somewhat formal, there is a pleasing variety of wild and cultivated garden and pasture ground. The perspectives are charmingly arranged; and the water is so dispersed as to produce the best possible effect.
The gardens are open daily till sunset; and are much frequented during the season by fashionables in the afternoons of the week days, and the public generally on Sundays. During the months of June, July, and August, the band of the life guards, or Oxford blues, play in the afternoon (twice a week) in the gardens near the Serpentine.
THE VICTORIA PARK Is situated in Bishop Bonner's Fields. It was first opened in 1847, for the recreation of the east side of London. Its extent is about two hundred and ninety acres, or rather more than the area of St. James' Park. It is bounded on the west by the Regent's Canal, on the south by Sir George Duckett's Canal, and on the north by Grove-street-lane, and is approached by roads leading from Spitalfields and Bethnal-green.
It has been most admirably laid out, ander the direc