Regent's Park

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Regent's Park
Regent's Park bandstand.jpg
Regent's Park bandstand and lake
Open street map central london.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within central London
TypePublic park
Location London
Coordinates 51°31′56″N0°09′24″W / 51.532222°N 0.156667°W / 51.532222; -0.156667 Coordinates: 51°31′56″N0°09′24″W / 51.532222°N 0.156667°W / 51.532222; -0.156667
Area410 acres (170 ha) (1.6 km²)
Operated byThe Crown Estate
OpenOpen, year-round
StatusExisting
Website www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/the-regents-park

Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It occupies high ground in north-west Inner London, administratively split between the City of Westminster and the Borough of Camden (and historically between Marylebone and Saint Pancras parishes). [1] It contains Regent's University and the world-famous Zoo.

Contents

The Park was designed by John Nash and James and Decimus Burton. Its construction was financed privately by James after the Crown Estate rescinded its pledge to do so. The park is Grade I (highest) listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. [2]

Description

The park has an outer ring road called the Outer Circle (4.45 km) and an inner ring road called the Inner Circle (1 km), which surrounds the most carefully tended section of the park, Queen Mary's Gardens. Apart from two link roads between these two, the park is reserved for pedestrians (with the exception of The Broad Walk between Chester Road and the Outer Circle, which is a shared use path). The south, east and most of the west side of the park are lined with elegant white stucco terraces of houses designed by John Nash and Decimus Burton. Running through the northern end of the park is Regent's Canal, which connects the Grand Union Canal to London's historic docks.

Regent's Park Lake Regent's Park Lake - London - UK.jpg
Regent's Park Lake

The 166-hectare (410-acre) park [3] is mainly open parkland with a wide range of facilities and amenities, including gardens; a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area; sports pitches; and children's playgrounds. The northern side of the park is the home of London Zoo and the headquarters of the Zoological Society of London. There are several public gardens with flowers and specimen plants, including Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle, in which the Open Air Theatre stands; the formal Italian Gardens and adjacent informal English Gardens in the south-east corner of the park; and the gardens of St John's Lodge. Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, stands in private grounds in the western section of the park, near to the capital's first large mosque.

South of the Inner Circle is dominated by Regent's University London, home of the European Business School London, Regent's American College London (RACL) and Webster Graduate School among others.

Abutting the northern side of Regent's Park is Primrose Hill, another open space which, with a height of 64 metres (210 ft) [4] , has a clear view of central London to the south-east, as well as Belsize Park and Hampstead to the north. Primrose Hill is also the name given to the immediately surrounding district.

Management

The public areas of Regent's Park are managed by The Royal Parks, a charity. The Crown Estate Paving Commission is responsible for managing certain aspects of the built environment of Regent's Park. The park lies within the boundaries of the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, but those authorities have only peripheral input to the management of the park. The Crown Estate owns the freehold of Regent's Park.

History

Regent's Park c.1833 Regent's Park London from 1833 Schmollinger map.jpg
Regent's Park c.1833
Memorial to the soldiers killed in Regent's Park in the 1982 Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings Regent's Park bandstand memorial.jpg
Memorial to the soldiers killed in Regent's Park in the 1982 Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings

In the Middle Ages the land was part of the manor of Tyburn, acquired by Barking Abbey. The 1530s Dissolution of the Monasteries meant Henry VIII appropriated it, under that statutory forfeiture with minor compensation scheme. It has been state property since. It was set aside as a hunting and forestry park, Marylebone Park, from that Dissolution until 1649 after which it was let as small-holdings for hay and dairy produce. [5]

Development by John Nash, James Burton, and Decimus Burton

Although the park was initially the idea of the Prince Regent George IV, and was named for him, [6] James Burton, the pre-eminent London property developer, was responsible for the social and financial patronage of the majority of John Nash's London designs, [7] and for their construction. [8] Architectural scholar Guy Williams has written, "John Nash relied on James Burton for moral and financial support in his great enterprises. Decimus had showed precocious talent as a draughtsman and as an exponent of the classical style... John Nash needed the son's aid, as well as the father's". [7] Subsequent to the Crown Estate's refusal to finance them, James Burton agreed to personally finance the construction projects of John Nash at Regent's Park, which he had already been commissioned to construct: [9] [8] consequently, in 1816, Burton purchased many of the leases of the proposed terraces around, and proposed villas within Regent's Park, [9] and, in 1817, Burton purchased the leases of five of the largest blocks on Regent Street. [9] The first property to be constructed in or around Regent's Park by Burton was his own mansion: The Holme, which was designed by his son, Decimus Burton, and completed in 1818. [9] Burton's extensive financial involvement "effectively guaranteed the success of the project". [9] In return, Nash agreed to promote the career of Decimus Burton. [9] Such were James Burton’s contributions to the project that the Commissioners of Woods described James, not Nash, as "the architect of Regent's Park". [10]

Contrary to popular belief, the dominant architectural influence in many of the Regent's Park projects – including Cornwall Terrace, York Terrace, Chester Terrace, Clarence Terrace, and the villas of the Inner Circle, all of which were constructed by James Burton's company [9] – was Decimus Burton, not John Nash, who was appointed architectural "overseer" for Decimus's projects. [10] To the chagrin of Nash, Decimus largely disregarded his advice and developed the Terraces according to his own style, to the extent that Nash sought the demolition and complete rebuilding of Chester Terrace, but in vain. [11] Decimus's terraces were built by his father James. [12] [9]

The Regent Park scheme was integrated with other schemes built for the Prince Regent by the triplet of Nash, James Burton, and Decimus Burton: these included Regent Street and Carlton House Terrace in a grand sweep of town planning stretching from St. James's Park to Parliament Hill. The scheme is considered one of the first examples of a garden suburb and continues to influence the design of suburbs. [13] The park was first opened to the general public in 1835, initially two days a week. The 1831 diary of William Copeland Astbury describes in detail his daily walks in and around the park, with references to the Zoo, the canal, and surrounding streets, as well as features of daily life in the area. [14]

Subsequent history

On 15 January 1867, forty people died when the ice cover on the boating lake collapsed and over 200 people plunged into the lake. [15] The lake was subsequently drained and its depth reduced to four feet before being reopened to the public. [16]

Late in 1916, the Home Postal Depot, Royal Engineers moved to a purpose built wooden building (200,000 sq ft) on Chester Road, Regent’s Park. This new facility contained the depot's administration offices, a large parcel office and a letter office, these last two previously being at the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre. HM King George V and HM Queen Mary visited the depot on 11 December 1916. The depot vacated the premises in early 1920. [17]

Queen Mary's Gardens, in the Inner Circle, were created in the 1930s, bringing that part of the park into use by the general public for the first time. The site had originally been used as a plant nursery and had later been leased to the Royal Botanic Society.

In 1982 an IRA bomb was detonated at the bandstand, killing seven soldiers.

The sports pitches, which had been relaid with inadequate drainage after the Second World War, were relaid between 2002 and 2004, and in 2005 a new sports pavilion was constructed.

On 7 July 2006 the Park held an event for people to remember the events of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Members of the public placed mosaic tiles on to seven purple petals. Later bereaved family members laid yellow tiles in the centre to finish the mosaic.

Sport

Sports are played in the park including cycling, tennis, netball, athletics, cricket, softball, rounders, football, hockey, Australian rules football, rugby, ultimate frisbee and running. Belsize Park Rugby Football Club play their home games in the park.

There are three playgrounds and there is boating on the lake.

Sports take place in an area called the Northern Parkland, and are centred on the Hub. This pavilion and underground changing rooms was designed by David Morley Architects and Price & Myers engineers, and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.[ citation needed ] It won the IStructE Award for Community or Residential Structures in 2006.

The Outer Circle is used by road cyclists. One circuit is 4.45 km. A number of amateur cycling clubs that meet regularly to complete laps of the Outer Circle for exercise and leisure. Prominent clubs include: Regent's Park Rouleurs (RPR), Islington Cycling Club (ICC), Cycle Club London (CCL), Rapha Cycle Club (RCC). Many cyclists track & log their rides using the online social network site Strava. As at January, 2018 – some 22,000 cyclists had completed & logged 1.6mn laps of the park using the Strava app. [18] In 2015, Regent's Park Cyclists was formed to represent the interest of cyclists and cycling clubs that use the Inner & Outer Circle. [19]

The park was scheduled to play a role in the 2012 Summer Olympics, hosting the baseball and softball events, but these sports were dropped from the Olympic programme with effect from 2012. The Olympic cycling road race was supposed to go through Regent's Park, as was the cycling road race in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, but the routes were changed. [20] [21]

The terraces

Gloucester Gate Gloucester Gate.jpg
Gloucester Gate
Sussex Place Sussex Place.jpg
Sussex Place

These terraced houses are grand examples of the English townhouse. Clockwise from the north, they are:

Immediately south of the park are Park Square and Park Crescent, also designed by Nash.

The villas

Nine villas were built in the park. There follows a list of their names as shown on Christopher and John Greenwood's map of London (second edition, 1830), [32] with details of their subsequent fates:

Close to the western and northern edges of the park

Winfield House Winfield House London.png
Winfield House

Around the Inner Circle

St John's Lodge St John's Lodge, Regent's Park.jpg
St John's Lodge

Close to the eastern edge of the park

Park Crescent, home of International Students House, is just above Regent's Park station The east curve of Park Crescent, London - geograph.org.uk - 1524045.jpg
Park Crescent, home of International Students House, is just above Regent's Park station

More attractions

Transport

Nearest Tube stations

There are five London Underground stations located on or near the edges of Regent's Park: [38]

Nearest railway stations

Cultural references

In film

In literature

In music

In art

Related Research Articles

John Nash (architect) British architect

John Nash was one of the foremost British architects of the Regency and Georgian eras, during which he was responsible for the design, in the neoclassical and picturesque styles, of many important areas of London. His designs were financed by the Prince Regent, and by the era's most successful property developer, James Burton, with whose son Decimus Burton he collaborated extensively.

Regent Street Shopping street in London

Regent Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London. It is named after George, the Prince Regent and was laid out under the direction of the architect John Nash and James Burton. It runs from Waterloo Place in St James's at the southern end, through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, to All Souls Church. From there Langham Place and Portland Place continue the route to Regent's Park.

Hyde Park Corner place in London

Hyde Park Corner is an area in London, England, located around a major road junction at the southeastern corner of Hyde Park, that was designed by Decimus Burton. Six streets converge at the junction: Park Lane, Piccadilly (northeast), Constitution Hill (southeast), Grosvenor Place (south), Grosvenor Crescent (southwest) and Knightsbridge (west). Hyde Park Corner tube station, a London Underground station served by the Piccadilly line, is located at the junction, as are a number of notable monuments. Immediately to the north of the junction is Apsley House, the home of the first Duke of Wellington; several monuments to the Duke were erected in the vicinity, both in his lifetime and subsequently.

Decimus Burton British architect

Decimus Burton was one of the foremost English architects and urban designers of the 19th century. He was the foremost Victorian architect in the Roman revival-, Greek revival-, Georgian neoclassical-, and Regency styles. He was accomplished also in the cottage orné-, picturesque-, and neogothic styles. He was a founding Fellow and, later, Vice-President, of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and architect to the Royal Botanic Society from 1840 and an early member of the Athenaeum Club, London, whose club premises he designed and the company of father, James Burton, the pre-eminent property developer of Georgian London, built. Modern architectural historians, such as Guy Williams (1990) and Dana Arnold (2004), contend that Decimus Burton's contribution to architecture has been grossly underestimated by previous architectural historians: as a consequence of the misattribution to Nash of many of his works; of his undeserved vituperation by his neo-gothic nemesis, Augustus W. N. Pugin; and of the consequent retention of his archives by his family.

Pall Mall, London street in London, England

Pall Mall is a street in the St James's area of the City of Westminster, Central London. It connects St James's Street to Trafalgar Square and is a section of the regional A4 road. The street's name is derived from 'pall-mall', a ball game played there during the 17th century.

Richard Turner (iron-founder) Irish iron founder

Richard Turner (1798–1881) was an Irish iron founder and manufacturer of glasshouses, born in Dublin. He is rated as one of the most important glasshouse designers of his time. His works included the Palm House at Kew Gardens, the glasshouse in the Winter Gardens at Regent's Park in London, the Palm House at Belfast Botanic Gardens and the Curvilinear Range at the Irish National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Ireland.

Wellington Arch triumphal arch in London

Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or (originally) as the Green Park Arch, is a Grade I-listed triumphal arch by Decimus Burton that forms a centrepiece of Hyde Park Corner in central London, between corners of Hyde Park and Green Park; it stands on a large traffic island with crossings for pedestrian access. From its construction in 1826 until 1830 the arch stood in a different location nearby; it was moved to its current site in 1882–1883. It originally supported a colossal equestrian statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington by the sculptor Matthew Cotes Wyatt, as a result of which it has acquired the name "the Wellington Arch" in the vernacular. A bronze quadriga by Adrian Jones has surmounted it since 1912.

Winfield House Residence of the U.S. ambassador in London

Winfield House is an English townhouse in Regent's Park, central London, commissioned in 1936 by American heiress Barbara Hutton. The grounds are 12 acres (4.9 ha); the second-largest private garden in the British capital after that of Buckingham Palace. Since 1955 it has been the official residence of the United States Ambassador. The house is Grade II listed as an "exceptional ambassador's residence and as a notable Neo-Georgian town house containing numerous features of note."

Cumberland Terrace Grade I listed terraced house in London, United Kingdom

Cumberland Terrace is a neoclassical terrace on the eastern side of Regent's Park in the London Borough of Camden, completed in 1826. It is a Grade I listed building.

Carlton House Terrace Grade I listed building in City of Westminster, United Kingdom

Carlton House Terrace is a street in the St James's district of the City of Westminster in London. Its principal architectural feature is a pair of terraces of white stucco-faced houses on the south side of the street overlooking St. James's Park. These terraces were built on Crown land between 1827 and 1832 to overall designs by John Nash, but with detailed input by other architects including Decimus Burton, who exclusively designed No. 3 and No.4.

Architecture of London

London is the largest and capital city of England and the United Kingdom. Founded as the ancient city of Londinium in the first century CE by the Romans as capital of the Roman province of Britannia, London has been an inhabited settlement almost continuously since. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, the layout of the Roman settlement became the approximate blueprint of the Saxon and medieval city. This ancient core of London is known as the City of London with Westminster, the ancient centre of political power in London, lying to the west. Relatively few structures survive from London's medieval past due to the city's near-total destruction in the Great Fire of 1666, but notable survivors include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Hall, Guildhall, St James's Palace, Lambeth Palace and a handful of scattered Tudor survivals. After the Great Fire, London was transformed as it was rebuilt and greatly modernised under the direction of the Baroque architect Sir Christopher Wren, with the new Baroque St Paul's Cathedral as its centrepiece. After a period of dramatic expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries, London reached its zenith as the world's largest and populous city from 1831 to 1925, as well as being the capital of the British Empire at its greatest extent and power. In this period London sprawled vastly beyond its historical boundaries, absorbing many formerly rural settlements and creating vast suburbs. The city was also transformed by groundbreaking new infrastructure projects like the West India Docks which affirmed London's status as a major port, a system of canals which included the Regent's Canal, a modern sewage system, some of the world's first intercity railway termini such as Paddington Station, and the world's first underground railway system. These innovations set London apart as the pre-eminent city of the industrial age. After suffering significant destruction during by The Blitz of World War II and a period of economic decline in the post-war period, London is once again a global capital of culture and commerce, with much new development adding to its eclectic cityscape.

Albany Street Street in the London Borough of Camden

Albany Street is a road in London running from Marylebone Road to Gloucester Gate following the east side of Regent's Park. It is about three-quarters of a mile in length.

Chester Terrace terrace in Regents Park, London

Chester Terrace is one of the neo-classical terraces in Regent's Park, London. The terrace has the longest unbroken facade in Regent's Park, of about 280 metres (920 ft). It takes its name from one of the titles of George IV before he became king, Earl of Chester. It now lies within the London Borough of Camden.

James Burton (property developer) British businessman and architect

Lieutenant-Colonel James Burton was the most successful and imperative property developer of Regency and Georgian London. By the time of his death in 1837, Burton had built over 3000 properties, and his buildings covered over 250 acres of central London. His imperative contribution to the development of the West End has been acknowledged by James Manwaring Baines, John Summerson, and Dana Arnold. Steen Eiler Rasmussen, in London: The Unique City, commended Burton's buildings, but did not identify their architect. The 21st century Oxford Dictionary of National Biography contends that Burton were 'the most successful developer in late Georgian London, responsible for some of its most characteristic architecture'.

St Johns Lodge, London house in Regents Park, London

St John's Lodge is a Grade II* heritage-listed private residence located in Regent's Park, in the City of Westminster, London, England. Since 1994 it has been owned by the royal family of Brunei Darussalam and is the London home of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei. St John's Lodge is located on the Inner Circle of Regent's Park, which until 1965 was in the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone and is now part of the City of Westminster.

Park Square, London square in City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, UK

Park Square is a large garden square or private appendix to Regents Park in London and is split from a further green, the long northern side of Park Crescent, by Marylebone Road and (single-entrance) Regent's Park tube station. It consists of two facing rows of large, very classically formed, stuccoed, terraced houses with decorative lower floor balconies and a colonade of consecutive porticos by architect John Nash, and was built in 1823–24. Alike, shorter-length terraces flank its corners at right angles, equally Grade I listed buildings: Ulster Terrace, Ulster Place, St Andrew's Place and Albany Terrace.

Cornwall Terrace Grade I listed architectural structure in London

Cornwall Terrace is a Grade I listed building of consecutive terraced mansions overlooking Regent's Park in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated at the park's southwest corner, near Baker Street, between York Terrace and Clarence Terrace, within the park's Crown Estate development. Cornwall Terrace was part of the scheme of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, to develop grand housing in Regent's Park. The buildings are Grade I listed buildings.

York Terrace street next to Regents Park in London

York Terrace overlooks the south side of Regent's Park in Marylebone, City of Westminster, London, England. York Terrace West is a grade I listed building. York Terrace East contains Grade II listed buildings.

The Holme

The Holme is a mansion located on Inner Circle by Regent's Park in the City of Westminster, London, England. It was designed by Decimus Burton, as a residence for the Burton family, and built in 1818, by the company of James Burton, who subsequently lived there. It has been described as 'one of the most desirable private homes in London' by architectural scholar Guy Williams. Architectural critic Ian Nairn wrote of the house, "If you want a definition of western civilization in a single view, then here it is".

Quinlan Terrys Regents Park villas six large detached villas on the north-western edge of Londons Regents Park

Quinlan Terry's Regent's Park villas are six large detached villas on the north-western edge of London's Regent's Park designed by the English Driehaus Prize winner and New Classical architect Quinlan Terry between 1988 and 2004. Terry designed each house in a different classical style, intended to be representative of the variety of classical architecture, naming them the Veneto Villa, Doric Villa, Corinthian Villa, Ionic Villa, Gothick Villa and the Regency Villa respectively.

References

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  21. Exclusive: 2012 Olympics road race route, CyclingWeekly
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Bibliography