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Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Royal Parks of London (1) St James Park

A magical view  across the lake in St James Park, London
St James Park is the second smallest of London's eight Royal parks at 57 acres. These parks were originally owned by the Crown and used for sport, mainly deer hunting. In 1532 Henry VIII purchased some marshland owned by Eton College in an area that had formerly consisted of a female leper colony and pig farms and he enclosed it to create a hunting park on his door-step. Successive monarchs improved the park until Charles II, upon the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War, had the park laid out in the way he had seen in France during his exile. Today the park is pretty much as improved by the architect and landscape designer John Nash in 1827. It's full of the most charming range of trees, shrubs, flowers and wildlife.
In 1664 the Russian Ambassador presented a pelican to the Court of St James (any Ambassador or High Commissioner to the United Kingdom is officially "Ambassador to the Court of  St James") this began a tradition of presenting pelicans as gifts and today there is an island of rocks in the lake, especially for them. There are also Egyptian geese, Greylags, Wood Ducks and many other beautiful birds. At one end of the park is Horse Guards Parade famous for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour and at the other end the best view of Buckingham Palace is to be seen.


John said...

Hi Bazza,
Another informative post my friend! All the better as it mentions some of our feathered friends! ;)
Of course, none of these birds can be 'ticked' by true birdwatchers!

bazza said...

Hi John. There were many more interesting birds the park but, not being a 'true birdwatcher', I couldn't identify them!

Anonymous said...

The aristocratic and lovely Sir Tom Eagerly says:
Yes one can see Aunty Betty's house nicely from St James's.
A remarkable bird is the pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can!

bazza said...

Sir Tom you are a cheeky rascal!

klahanie said...

Hey bazza,

Thank you for the visual delight of visiting the Royal Parks of London. I have been known to frequent those parks in my past.

I think I want one of those parks.


bazza said...

Hi Gary. Let me see: 57 acres of prime land in one of the world's most expensive cities. Land for building on in London suburbs and around the Home Counties is worth about one million per acre. Sadly even the Crown-owned buildings around the parks can not be bought.
So you had better put your piggy-bank away!

joanne fox said...

London's parks are such an asset to the city. I used to love seeing people learning to ride horses around Hyde Park, with all the bustle of London going on around them.

bazza said...

They are like oases of peace and quite in the middle of a bustling city!