Sunday, 4 July 2010

London Parks and Goat Carriages

Browsing an article by 'Meath' about London's parks, 'The Possibilities of Metropolitan Parks', which appeared in The New Review of 1894.

The most interesting information is the sizes of parks in the metropolis (I have re-ordered to show the largest to smallest, sizes in acres, nothing listed smaller than 10 acres) ...

Epping Forest 5348
Richmond Park 2358
Wimbledon Common 1412
Bushey Park 994
Hampton Court Park 752
Hampstead Heath 505
Regent's Park 473
Hyde Park 361
Hackney Marshes 345
Kensington Gardens 275
Blackheath Park 267
Kew Gardens 246
Victoria Park 244
Clapham Common 220
Battersea Park 198
Wormwood Scrubs 193
Greenwich Park 185
Wandsworth Common 183
Tooting Bec Common 144
Finsbury Park 115
Peckham Rye 113
Petersham Park 111
Barnes Common 100
Plumstead Common 100
St. James's Park 93
West Ham Park 80
Brockwell Park 78
Dulwich Park 72
Highgate Woods 70
Streatham Common 66
Southwark Park 63
Tooting Graveney Common 63
Bostall Woods 61
Bostall Heath 55
Green Park 54
Clissold Park 53
Ealing Common and Greens 50
Ladywell Recreation Ground 47
Hilly Fields 45
Hackney Downs 41
Ravenscourt Park 32
Kilburn Park 30
Waterlow Park 30
Highbury Fields 27
London Fields 26
South Mill Field 26
Acton Recreation Ground 25
Paddington Recreation Ground 25
Ealing Lammas Land 24
North Mill Field 23
Little Scrubs 22
South Hackney Common 20
Kennington Park 19
Sydenham Recreation Ground 17
Eelbrook Common 14
Myatts' Fields 14
Thames Embankment Gardens 14 
Acton Green 12
Back Common 12
Maryon Park 12
Kew Green 11
Victoria Park Cemetery 11
Richmond Green 10
Royal Victoria Gardens 10

I wonder if all these spaces remain? I recognise most of them, but some are small suburban parks beyond my knowledge. Any modern list of London parks out there?

Other fascinating facts from 1894, "London County Council spends £5,000 a year in providing music in the parks under its control, and has engaged the services of 92 bandsmen, four conductors, a librarian, and attendants, under the control of a musical director" ... I wonder how this compares to modern spend on music festivals etc?

The author presses for electric lighting ("It is impossible for any respectable man or woman to venture to cross Hyde Park of an evening, or at night, without risk of robbery or outrage") and also suggests "I cannot see why goat carriages for children should not be found in our London parks as well as in the Champs Elysées" (an innovation I do not believe was ever introducted ... yes, goat carriages, that's carriages drawn by goats).

1 comment:

  1. I don't know of a list or map of parks for the whole of London but such might well exist. Map gurus Stanfords might be able to advise. Islington publishes a handy map of its own green spaces and I expect some other boroughs do too.

    One way to check some of the items on the above list is to type their names into Google maps. I found some of them quite easily, and others by implication, their names having changed. Some did not appear at all. This presumably means that either they no longer exist, having been built on, or they have been renamed.

    There will also be new parks where many old churchyards have been decommissioned, their gravestones moved to one side or removed entirely, and the whole area landscaped and opened to the public. Some of these are very pleasant and make a good addition to public amenities, though with some loss of historical data.