St. James's Park

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Royal Parks of London
Image:St James's Park Panorama - Sept 2006.jpg
St James's Park Lake, looking east from the bridge. The Shell Tower and the London Eye can be seen behind the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Image:St James's Park (original layout).jpg
André Mollet's design for the park in Charles II's time, before 18th and 19th century remodelling, which shaped a more natural-looking lake from the straight canal visible here, the eastern part of which was filled in to create Horse Guards Parade.
For the football stadium in Newcastle upon Tyne, see St James' Park; for the football stadium in Exeter, see St James Park.

St. James's Park is one of the Royal Parks of London in the City of Westminster, London, just east of Buckingham Palace and west of Whitehall and Downing Street. The St James's area, including St. James's Palace, is just to the north. It is 23 hectares (58 acres) in size.

It is bounded by The Mall to the north, Horse Guards to the east, and Birdcage Walk to the south. The park has a small lake, St James's Park Lake, with two islands, Duck Island (named for the lake's collection of waterfowl) and West Island. A bridge across the lake affords a westward view of Buckingham Palace framed by trees and fountains and a view of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, similarly framed, to the east.

The Park is the easternmost of an almost continuous chain of parks that also comprises (moving westward) Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The closest tube stations are St. James's Park, Victoria and Westminster.

[edit] History

In 1531, Henry VIII bought the area of swampy marshland, often flooded by the Tyburn from Eton College. This land lay to the west of York Palace that Henry had recently acquired from Cardinal Wolsey and was purchased in order to turn York Palace into a dwelling fit for a King. On James I's accession to the throne in 1603, he ordered the park drained and landscaped and kept various exotic animals in the park, including camels, crocodiles and an elephant, as well as aviaries of exotic birds along the south.

During Charles II's exile in France during the English Commonwealth, the young king was impressed by the elaborate gardens at French royal palaces and had the park redesigned in a more formal style, probably by the French landscaper André Mollet, including the creation of the 850×42-yard canal visible in the old plan shown to the right. Charles II opened the park to the public, as well as using the area to entertain guests and mistresses, such as Nell Gwyn. The park was notorious at the time as a meeting place for acts of sexual degeneracy, of which John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester wrote in his famous poem "A Ramble in St. James's Park."

The 18th century saw further changes, amongst which were included the reclamation of part of the canal for Horse Guards Parade and the 1761 purchase of Buckingham Palace by the royal family.

Further remodelling in 18267, 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 be rerouted to more 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, 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.

[edit] External links and references


Parks and open spaces in London

Alexandra Park | Battersea Park | Brockwell Park | Burgess Park | Bushy Park | Cannizaro Park | Clapham Common | Clissold Park | Eel Brook Common | Epping Forest | Finsbury Park | Green Park | Greenwich Park | Hackney Marshes | Hampstead Heath | Hampton Court Park | Holland Park | Hornchurch Country Park | Hyde Park | Island Gardens | Kennington Park | Kensington Gardens | Kilburn Grange Park | Lincoln's Inn Fields | London Fields | Mile End Park | Morden Hall Park | Morden Park | Osterley Park | Oxleas Wood | Parliament Hill | Parsons Green | Plumstead Common | Primrose Hill | Queen's Park | Regent's Park | Richmond Park | Kew Gardens | South Norwood Country Park | St. James's Park | Streatham Common | Trent Park | Valentines Park | Victoria Park | Victoria Tower Gardens | Wandsworth Common | Waterlow Park | West Ham Park | Wimbledon Park | Wimbledon and Putney Commons | Wormwood Scrubs

Coordinates: 51°30′6″N, 0°7′55″Wcs:St. James's Park cy:Parc Iago Sant de:St. James’s Park he:פארק סנט ג'יימס nl:St. James's Park no:St. James's Park

St. James's Park

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