By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Hyde Park from Domesday-book to Date
Author: Ashton, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hyde Park from Domesday-book to Date" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.















[_All rights reserved_]





The only History of Hyde Park, at all worthy of the name, is Vol. I. of
“The Story of the London Parks,” by Jacob Larwood. But, its author says,
definitely, “What happened in Hyde Park subsequently to 1825, approaches
too near to contemporary history to be told in these pages.” This (for
Hyde Park has a history since then), added to the inaccuracies and
imperfections of the book, has induced me to write a History of Hyde
Park from Domesday Book to Date.





 The forests round London--The Manor of Eia in Domesday Book--Its
 subdivision--The Manor of Hyde--The Manor of Ebury--The Manor of
 Neate--The Neat houses--Henry VIII. and Hyde Park--Queen Elizabeth
 and Hyde Park--James I.--The deer in the Park--Last shooting
 therein--Foxes--The badger                                            1


 Hyde Park in the early Commonwealth--Its sale--Toll on horses and
 carriages--A hurling match--Cromwell’s accident--Attempts to shoot
 him in the Park--Notices against trespassers--The Park at the
 Restoration                                                          14


 The camp in Hyde Park during the Plague of 1665--Boscobel Oaks in the
 Park--When first opened to the public--What it was then like--The
 Cheesecake House--Its homely refections--Orange girls                24


 Foot and horse racing in the Park--Prize fighting--Duelling--The duel
 between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton                          32


 Duelling in Hyde Park                                                39


 Skating on the ponds and Serpentine--The Ring--Many notices
 thereof--Fireworks in the Park--Bad roads therein, and accidents
 caused thereby--Regulations in the time of Queen Anne--Making the
 drive--Riding in the Park                                            49


 Rotten Row, the King’s Old Road--The New King’s Road made and
 lighted--The Allied Sovereigns in the Park--The Park after the
 Peninsular War--The Duke of Wellington in the Park--The Queen and
 Royal Family in the Park                                             61


 The springs in Hyde Park--Used as water supply for Westminster--Horses
 in the Park--The Westbourne--Making the Serpentine--The “Naumachia”
 thereon--Satires about it--The Jubilee Fair                          65


 Coronation of George IV.--Boat-racing on the Serpentine--Illumination
 of the Park--Fireworks--Coronation of Queen Victoria--Fair in the
 Park--Fireworks in Hyde Park, at “Peace rejoicing,” May, 1856        75


 The Great Exhibition of 1851                                         94


 Royal Humane Society’s Receiving House--Boats
 and bathing--The Dell--Chelsea Water Works
 reservoir--Walnut-trees--Flower-walk--Military executions--The
 Magazine, Whip, Four-in-hand and Coaching Clubs--Their dress--Satire
 on Coaching--The Park as a military centre--The first review--Fort
 at Hyde Park Corner--Guard-house--Camp in Hyde Park--Insubordinate
 troops                                                              120


 Grand Reviews in 1660-1661-1668, 1682-1695-1699--Camps in
 1715-1716-1722--Poem on the latter--Reviews in 1755-1759-1760       132


 Reviews in 1763-1764--Shooting-butts in 1778--Camp in 1780--Severe
 sentence of a Court-martial--Volunteer Reviews, 1799-1800--The rain at
 the latter                                                          142


 Volunteer Reviews of 1803--Review in honour of the Allied Sovereigns,
 1814--Popularity of Blücher--Review by the Queen in 1838--Volunteer
 Review, 1860                                                        152


 Volunteer Reviews, 1864, 1876--Mobs in the Park--Funeral of Queen
 Caroline                                                            163


 Commencement of the reign of King Mob--Sunday Trading Bill,
 1855--Riots--Withdrawal of the Bill--Meetings about high price of
 food, 1855--Rough play and window smashing                          177


 Sympathy with Italy, 1859--Garibaldi riots, 1862--Reform League
 Meeting, 23rd July, 1866--Police proclamation against it--Attempt to
 hold it--Hyde Park railings destroyed                               187


 Reform League Meeting of 25th July, 1866--Burning a
 tree--Stone-throwing--Temporizing policy of the Government--Special
 constables sworn in--Meeting abandoned--Return of police
 injured--Meeting of “Working Men’s Rights Association,”
 1867--Reform League Meeting of 6th May, 1867--Police warning--Legal
 opinions--Meeting held--Meeting on 5th August, 1867                 200


 Demonstrations against the Irish Church, 1868--In favour of
 Fenians, 1869--Regulations made by Commissioners of Works--Fenian
 Demonstration, 1872--A speaker sentenced--Meeting about the
 Eastern Question, 1878--Fight--Preaching in the Park--Modern
 instances--May-Day and May 6, 1894--Against the House of Lords, Aug.
 26, 1894                                                            212


 The Children’s Fête in Hyde Park, 1887                              224


 List of Rangers--A horse jumping the wall--Highwaymen--Horace Walpole
 robbed--Other robberies--Assaults, offences, etc., in the present
 reign--A very recent case                                           235


 The Gates--That into Kensington Gardens--Improvements in the
 Park--Encroachments--The case of Ann Hicks and the other
 fruit-sellers--Seats in the Park--New house in ditto                253


 Works of art in the Park--Drinking fountain--Marble Arch--Hyde
 Park Corner--Achilles statue--Walk round the park--Cemetery of St.
 George’s, Hanover Square--Sterne’s tomb and burial--Tyburn tree--The
 Tybourne--People executed--Henrietta Maria’s penance--Locality
 of the gallows--Princess Charlotte--Gloucester House--Dorchester
 House--Londonderry House--Apsley House--Allen’s apple stall--The
 Wellington Arch--Statues of the Duke--St. George’s Hospital,
 Knightsbridge--A fight on the bridge--Albert Gate and George
 Hudson--Knightsbridge Barracks                                      265



Exhibition of 1851: Osier’s Glass Fountain and the Transept _Frontispiece_

Boscobel Oaks, 1804                                                   27

Cheesecake House, 1826                                                30

Duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton                      37

Duel between George Garrick and Mr. Baddeley, 1770                    42

Winter Amusement, 1787                                                50

The Row, 1793                                                         62

  “  “   1814. The Allied Sovereigns                                  62

  “  “   1834                                                         62

The Duke of Wellington                                                64

A Spring in the Park, 1794                                            65

Houses in the Park, 1794                                              66

A Man of War, 1814                                                    73

“Albert, spare those trees!”                                         103

Tailpiece: Col. Sibthorpe and Exhibition of 1851                     119

Map of Hyde Park from “Roque’s Survey,” 1741-1745                    120

Volunteer Review by George III., 1799                                143

The Soldiers’ Toilet, 1780                                           145

Returning from the Review, 1800                                      150

Popularity of Blücher, 1814                                          157

The Broken Windows at Apsley House, 1831                             280

[Illustration: decorative bar]



     The forests round London--The manor of Eia in Domesday Book--Its
     subdivision--The Manor of Hyde--The Manor of Ebury--The Manor of
     Neate--The Neat houses--Henry VIII. and Hyde Park--Queen Elizabeth
     and Hyde Park--James I.--The deer in the park--Last shooting
     therein--Foxes--The badger.

In old times London was surrounded by forests, of which the only traces
now remaining are at Bishop’s Wood, between Hampstead and Highgate, and
the Chase at Enfield. FitzStephen, who lived in the reign of Henry II.,
tells us, in his Description of London, that beyond the fields to the
north of London was an immense forest, beautified with woods and
groves--or in other words, park land--full of the lairs and coverts of
beasts and game, stags, bucks, boars and wild bulls. Contrary to what
one might expect, these forests were not reserved for the sole hunting
of the King and his favourites; but, as we are informed by the same
writer, many of the citizens took great delight in fowling, with
merlins, hawks, etc. (which showed how wealthy they were at that time),
and they had the right and privilege of hunting in Middlesex,
Hertfordshire, in all the Chiltern country, and in Kent, as far as the
River Cray. And this forest of Middlesex was only disforested in 1218 (2
Henry III.).

If, however, Hyde Park was, primævally, a forest, it must have been
cleared and brought into cultivation in the Saxon times, for there is no
mention of a forest, or even woodland, in the Domesday Book account of
the Manor of Eia--in which Hyde Park was situate: on the contrary, it
seems as if it was highly cultivated, as is evidenced by the following
translation of that portion of the book relating to this manor:--

“Ossulton Hundred. The land of Geoffrey Mannevile.[1] Geoffrey de
Mannevile holds the Manor of Eia. It was assessed for 10 hides[2]/. The
land is 8 carucates/[3]. In demesne 5 hides, and there are 2
ploughs/[4]. The villans[5] have 5 ploughs, and a 6th might be made.
There is 1 villan with half a hide/ and 4 villans each with 1
virgate,[6] and other 14 each with half a virgate/ and 4 bordars[7] with
one virgate, and 1 cottager. Meadow for 8 ploughs’ teams, and of hay/
60_s._ of pasture 7_s._ In all the profits it is worth £8/ when received
£6. In the time of King Edward £12/. Harold, son of Earl Radulf, held
this manor, whom Queen/ Editha had the custody of with this manor, on
the day that King Edward was alive and dead./ Afterwards, William, the
Chamberlain, held it of the Queen in fee for £3,/ yearly to farm. And
after the death of the Queen, he now holds it/ of the King, in the same
manner. It is now 4 years since William lost the manor, and nothing has
been received from the King’s farm, that is £12.”

This Manor of Eia was bounded on the north by the _Via Trinobantina_, a
road which crossed England from the coast of Suffolk to that of
Hampshire, and we now call that portion by Hyde Park the Uxbridge Road:
and on the east ran the _Watling Street_, a road from Chester to Dover
(of which the Edgware Road is a portion), which crossed the _Via
Trinobantina_, and continued down Park Lane to the Thames--which was the
southern boundary of the manor.

About the compilation of Domesday Book the Manor of Eia (we know not
why) was divided into three manors, named severally Hyde, Ebury (or
Eubery), and Neate (or Neyt), and was given by Geoffrey de Manneville to
the Monastery of St. Peter in Westminster, where his wife Athelais was
interred, and it was in the possession of this monastery till 1536. The
Manor of Neate was nearest the river, about Chelsea, and there it was
that the abbots of Westminster had a pleasure house. We read[8] how
Nicholas Littlington, who was prior of the Monastery, was made Abbot on
the elevation of Abbot Simon Langham to the See of Ely in 1362, and how
“he improved the estate of the convent at Hyde”--and also how he died,
November 29th, 1386, “at the Manor house of Neyte near Westminster, at
that time thought a good building; for the Duke of Lancaster,[9] styling
himself King of Castile, desired leave of the Abbot to reside there
during a sitting of parliament at Westminster.” And here also was born
John, the fifth son of Richard, Duke of York, on November 7th, 1448.
Here died (May 12th, 1532) John Islip, who was elected Abbot of
Westminster October 27th, 1500, and was buried in a chapel in the Abbey,
which he built and which is still called by his name. In his abbacy
(1502-3) the building of Henry VII.’s Chapel was begun, and in 1532 he
negotiated an exchange between the Abbey and the King; the latter had
from the Abbey about one hundred acres of land, part of which was made
into St. James’s Park, and the former received in exchange the priory of
Poughley, in Berks, of which Cardinal Wolsey had procured the
dissolution, to help him endow the colleges he designed at Oxford and

Islip’s successor was William Boston, and, in 1536, an Act of Parliament
was passed (28 Henry VIII., c. 49) and confirmed by a conveyance dated
July 1, 1537, granting the King the lands belonging to the Abbey of
“Nete, within the towne and paryshes of Westmynster and Seynt Martyn’s
in the Felde,” as also the manors of Neyte, Ebery, and Todington, of the
advowson of Chelsea rectory, of some lands at Greenwich, and of several
meadows and closes near the Horseferry: in return for which the Abbey
was to receive the site of the newly dissolved Priory of Hurley, in
Berkshire; which, somewhat singularly, formerly belonged to the same
Geoffrey de Manneville who gave the Abbey the Manor of Eia.

The Manor of Ebury lay between the other two manors, and comprised the
district now known as Belgravia and Pimlico. It never was historically
famous, but it helped to swell the coffers of the Grosvenors, especially
that of the present Duke of Westminster and his father, for the manor
(of 430 acres) then called Eabury or Ebury Farm came into the
possession, in 1656, of Sir Thomas Grosvenor, who married the daughter
and sole heiress of Alexander Davies, Esq., of Ebury Farm, who never
could have contemplated the princely fortune he was leaving to her

Once only do we hear anything particular of the Manor of Ebury, and that
is in connection with Queen Elizabeth.[10] “That _Ebery Farm_,
containing 430 Acres, Meadow and Pasture, which was holden of her
Majesty by lease, was granted to one _Whashe_, who paid £21 _per Ann._
And the same was let to divers Persons, who, for their private
Commodity, did enclose the same, and had made Pastures of Errable Land;
thereby not only annoying her Majesty in her Walks and Passages, but to
the hindrance to her Game, and great Injury to the Common, which, at
_Lammas_, was wont to be laid open, for the most Part; as by ancient
Precedents thereof made, do particularly appear, both in the Time of
_Henry the Eighth_, _Edward the Sixth_, and _Queen Mary_. And by the
Grant made from her Majesty to the new tenants, it appeareth, that they
are to enjoy the same lands in such sort as their predecessors did,
which was then always _Lammas_ ground, and now enclosed about 20 years

At least this was the plea of those who broke down the fences, etc., in
1592. “The Parishioners, having, as they supposed, that Lord’s[11]
Countenance, sent divers Persons on the 1 of _August_, being _Lammas
day_, who, with Pickaxes, and such like Instruments, pulled down the
Fences, and brake the Gates, having with them the Bailiffs and
Constables, to keep the Peace.”

The Manor of Neate lay alongside the river Thames, and although we have
seen that the old moated mansion was of some importance, still, at the
time of the above dispute (in which it shared with the neighbouring
manor), it was only termed _a farm_, the house and all the ground around
it having been granted by Edward VI. to Sir Anthony Brown; still the
name of the manor was perpetuated in the “Neat Houses”--which were
places of rural entertainment, and which Strype (Book vi. p. 67)
describes: “The _Neat Houses_ are a Parcel of Houses, most seated on the
Banks of the River _Thames_, and inhabited by Gardiners; for which it is
of Note, for the supplying _London_ and _Westminster_ Markets with
_Asparagus_, _Artichoaks_, _Cauliflowers_, _Musmelons_, and the like
useful Things that the Earth produceth; which, by reason of their
keeping the Ground so rich by dunging it (and through the nearness to
_London_, they have the Soil cheap), doth make their crops very forward,
to their great Profit in coming to such good Markets.”

There are no traces of these “Neat Houses” now; they disappeared
entirely before the destructive builder, but they were in existence
during this century, and stood where now is St. George’s Row, Warwick
Street, Pimlico. Yet it is evident that before it sunk wholly into
market gardens, the “Neat Houses” was a place of amusement where people
of good standing in society might attend without prejudice. In those
days people’s tastes were much simpler than in our time, and drinking
syllabubs, and playing at an imaginary Arcadian life with imaginary
Chloes and Strephons was fashionable.

It would be hard, indeed, if Pepys had nothing to say about this
suburban place of entertainment, where he takes his wife and Mistress
Knipp, an actress, of whom his wife was jealous. “Aug. 1, 1667. After
the Play, we went into the House, and spoke with _Knipp_, who went
abroad with us, by coach, to the _Neat Houses_, in the way to _Chelsy_;
and there, in a Box in a Tree, we sat and sang, and talked and eat; my
wife out of humour, as she always is, when this women is by.” And again,
“May 28, 1668. Met _Mercer_[12] and _Gayet_, and took them by water,
first to one of the _Neat Houses_, where walked in the Gardens, but
nothing but a Bottle of Wine to be had, though pleased with seeing the
garden; and so to Fox Hall, where with great pleasure we walked, and
then to the upper end of the retired walk, and there sat and sang, and
brought a great many gallants and fine people about us; and, upon the
bench, we did by and by eat and drink what we had, and very merry.”

It seems a pity after such a merry scene to chronicle a death, but it
was not a common one. _Domestic Intelligencer, August 5th, 1679._ “We
hear that Madam Ellen Gwyn’s mother, sitting lately by the water-side at
her house by the _Neate Houses_, near _Chelsea_, fell accidentally into
the water, and was drowned.”

There seems no reason to doubt but that Henry VIII. wanted these manors
for the purpose of hunting, as they lay so contiguous to the 100 acres
which, in 1532, he had added to St. James’s Park; and that this was his
intention is shown by a proclamation made in 1536, wherein the King, who
was passionately fond of all field sports, and excelled in them, as in
every other manly exercise, says, that being desirous of having hares,
patridges, pheasants and herons preserved round about his Palace of
Westminster, for his own disport and pastime, forbids anyone, under pain
of imprisonment, and further punishment according to his will and
pleasure, either to hunt or hawk “from the Palace of Westminster to St.
Giles’ in the Fields, and from thence to Islington, to Our Lady of the
Oak, to Highgate, to Hornsey Park, and to Hampstead Heath.”

Hyde Park was then of much greater extent than it is at present, and
comprised 620 acres; but what with the portion taken to add to
Kensington Gardens, and land taken away at Hyde Park Corner, it now does
not measure 400 acres. There is very little doubt but that when this
manor of Hyde came into the possession of Henry VIII. he fenced it
round, because its northern, southern, and eastern boundaries were all
public roads, and, although in all probability men would not dare to
poach on this Royal manor, yet the _feræ naturæ_ must necessarily have
been kept within bounds if there was to be hunting or any other kind of
sport. And it must have been a high fence, for deer were plentiful, and
they certainly were hunted and shot. In a letter from the Lords of the
Council to Sir John Masone,[13] ambassador from England at the French
Court, dated June 2nd, 1550, and giving an account of the reception and
amusement of the embassy of Messrs. de Chastillon, Mortier and
Bouchetel, who were sent by Henry II. to receive Edward’s ratification
of the treaty by which Boulogne had been ceded to France for the sum of
400,000 crowns, we find that, “Upon Tuesday, the King’s Majesty had them
on hunting in Hyde Park, and that night they supt with his Highness in
the Privy Chamber.”

Queen Elizabeth also hunted in Hyde Park--and, like her brother, offered
sport therein to noble visitors. For instance, she so entertained Count
John Casimir, son of Frederick III., Elector Palatine, and a general in
the Dutch service, as we learn from the Talbot Papers,[14] in a letter
from Gilbert Talbot and his wife to the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury,
dated February 13th, 1578. “My L. of Lecester also hath geven him dyvers
other thynges, as geldynges, hawks and houndes, woddknyves, falchyones,
hornes, crossebowes, and sondry peces of brode clothe fytte for huntynge
garmentes, bothe for wynter and sumer, for he delyghtethe greatly in
huntynge, and can chouse his wynter deere very well. He kylled a barren
doe w^{th} his pece this other daye in Hyde P’ke from emongst CCC other
deere.” And to show that the Queen herself, if she did not actually join
in the sport, looked on, there is an entry in the accounts (1582) of the
Board of Works, of a payment “for making of two new standings in
Marybone and Hyde Park, for the Queen’s Majesty and the Noblemen of
France[15] to see the hunting.” This is also mentioned by John Norden in
his _Notes on London and Westminster_ (1592). “Hyde Park substancially
impayled with a fayre lodge and princelye standes therein. It is a
stately parke and full of fayre game.”

In the 1575 edition of Geo. Turberville’s “_Noble Art of Venerie or
hunting_” (p. 95) we have a fine picture of Queen Elizabeth on one of
these stands, whilst, kneeling on the ground, and bareheaded, the royal
huntsman presents the “fewmets,” or droppings of the deer, on some
leaves, in a plate, for the Queen’s inspection; and the following is
“The report of a Huntesman upon the sight of an Hart, in pride of

    “‘Before the Queen, I come report to make,
     Then husht and peace, for noble _Tristrame’s_ sake.
     From out my horne, my fewments first I drawe,
     And then present, on leaves, by hunter’s lawe;
     And thus I say; my Liege, behold and see
     An Hart of tenne, I hope he harbored bee.
     For if you mark his fewmets every poynt,
     You shall them find long, round and well anoynt,
     Knottie and great, without prickes or eares,
     The moystness shewes what venison he beares.’”

Another engraving shows the Queen about to take assay of the deer, the
kneeling huntsman handing her a knife for the purpose. And this is “the
English manner, in breaking up of the Deare.

“First, where hee appointeth the Deares foote to be cut off, and to be
presented to the Queen or chiefe, our order is that the Queen or chiefe
(if so please them) do alight and take assaye of the Deare with a sharpe
knife, the which is done in this maner. The deare being layd upon his
backe, y^{e} Queen, chiefe, or such as they shall appoint, comes to it.
And y^{e} chiefe huntsman (kneeling, if it be to the Queen) doth hold
the Deare by the fore foote, whiles the Queen or chiefe, cut a slit
drawne alongst the brysket of the deare, somewhat lower than the brysket
towards the belly. This is done to see the goodnesse of the fleshe, and
howe thicke it is.”

In the 1611 edition, James I. takes the place of Queen Elizabeth.

James I. no doubt, as he was so fond of hunting, hunted the deer here,
although he had Theobalds and Windsor, with many another hunting ground.
And the deer were kept up in Charles I.’s reign, when Hyde Park was
still an enclosed and private Royal park: and the deer were still
preserved, for, when the Park was sold according to a special Resolution
of the House of Commons of the 1st Dec., 1652, what were left of the
deer, during those troublous times, were sold for the benefit of the
Navy, and they were valued in the specifications at £765 6_s._ 2_d._ I
can find no record of their sale--but they were sold. And soon after the
Restoration, when James Hamilton, Esq. (one of the Grooms of the
Bedchamber), was Ranger--he advised the Park being surrounded by a
brick wall, and restocked with deer, which was done. But the deer no
longer roamed the Park at will; they were confined in an enclosure,
called Buckdean Hill, the Deer Harbour, or the Paddock, close by the
Keepers’ Lodge, admission to which seems to have been obtainable by
payment of a shilling--at least, in 1751, as we see by the following
extract from a poem by W. H. Draper, entitled, “The Morning Walk, or the
City Encompass’d.”

    “Behold the ranger[16] there! with gun aslant,
     As just now issuing from his cottage[17] fold,
     With crew _Cerberian_, prowling o’er the plain
     To guard the harmless deer, and range them in
     Due order set, to their intended use.
     Key he can furnish, but must first receive
     One splendid shilling, e’er I can indulge
     The pleasing walk, and range the verdant field.”

As far as I can learn, the last Royal shooting of the deer in Hyde Park
was on the 9th Sept., 1768, and it is the more interesting, considering
how intimately we are now allied with the House of Saxe Cobourg Gotha.
In _The Public Advertiser_ of Sept. 12, 1768, we read: “Same day, their
Serene Highnesses the two Princes of Saxe Gotha, and many other
Foreigners of Distinction, together with a great Number of our own
Nobility, and Gentry, attended the Diversion of Deer Shooting in Hyde
Park, which continued all the Evening till Dark, when one was at last
killed, after being shot at ten Times. What rendered it so difficult to
kill him, was the Hardship of getting him from among the Deer, and no
other was allowed to be shot at but this one: Several Wagers were won
and lost upon this Occasion.”

The deer still remained, until early in this century, in this enclosure,
which was in the north-west corner of the Park, bounded on the north by
the Park wall, on the west by Kensington Gardens, on the south by the
Serpentine, and on the east by a fence. Dogs were allowed in the other
parts of the Parks, as our poet says,--

    “But lo! a faithful spaniel, there stretch’d out,
     Not food for powder meet, relentless gun!”

But the “relentless gun” was evidently necessary against the foxes, for
there is a Minute of the Board of Green Cloth in 1798, by which Sarah
Gray is granted a pension of £18 per annum, to compensate her somewhat
for the loss of her husband, who was accidentally killed by a shot from
the gun of a keeper, who was hunting for foxes in Kensington Gardens. It
would be a thankless task to look for them there at the present time;
but it is not very many years since there was a badger, who took up his
abode in a drain in the Gardens, and could not be dislodged. Strange and
weird legends were told concerning this badger, one of which was that he
had devoured a policeman, clothing and all, with the exception of his
boots and helmet. The badger was ultimately caught, and purchased, I
believe, by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who sent it into the country,
and there gave it its liberty.

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Hyde Park in the early Commonwealth--Its sale--Toll on horses and
     carriages--A hurling match--Cromwell’s accident--Attempts to shoot
     him in the Park--Notices against trespassers--The Park at the

It was not until after the martyrdom of the King, and a little before
Cromwell found himself strong enough to become Lord Protector of the
three Kingdoms, that the Parks, etc., were sold. But on Dec. 31, 1652,
was passed “An Act for the Exposing to Sale divers Castles, Houses,
Parks, Lands and Hereditaments, Belonging to the late King, Queen, or
Prince, Exempted from sale by a former Act:” and among them was “All
that Park commonly called _Hide Park_, in the county of _Middlesex_,
with all Houses, Woods and Perquisits thereunto belonging.”

At the beginning of the troubles between the King and Parliament, the
exclusiveness of the Park grew somewhat lax, and it became a place of
fashionable resort; but the sour, puritanical spirit of the times
prevailed, and, in 1645, it was ordered “that Hyde Park and Spring
Gardens should be kept shut, and no person be allowed to go into any of
those places on the Lord’s day, fast and thanksgiving days, and hereof
those that have the keeping of the said places are to take notice and
see this order obeyed, as they will answer the contrary at their
uttermost peril.” And, presumably, this order was acted on until 1649,
when it was resolved that the London Parks--Whitehall, Hampton Court,
the New Park at Richmond, Westminster Palace, Windsor Castle and Park,
and Greenwich House and Park--should be the property of the
Commonwealth, and thrown open to the public.

But in 1652, it was thought fit to sell Hyde Park, Greenwich House and
Park, Windsor Park and Meadows, Cornbury Park, Oxon, Somerset House, and
Vauxhall House and Grounds, for the benefit of the Navy, and duly sold
they were. Three lots were made of Hyde Park--called the Gravel Pit
division, or that part abutting on the Bayswater Road, which was very
well wooded; the Kensington division, which lay on the south, which was
principally pasture land; whilst the third comprised what were termed
the Middle, which comprised the Ring, the Banqueting division--in which
was the Cake House--near the present site of the Receiving House of the
Royal Humane Society; and the Old Lodge division, which said Old Lodge
was near Hyde Park Corner; and this third lot was very well wooded.

The first lot was bought by Richard Wilcox for the sum of £4144 11_s._;
the second was secured by John Tracy for £3906 7_s._ 6_d._; and the
third fetched £9020 8_s._ 2_d._, and became the property of Anthony
Dean, a ship-builder, who let the right of pasture of his portion; and
the lessees immediately began to recoup themselves by exacting a toll on
the carriages and horses entering the Park. Says Evelyn, in his diary,
under date of April 11, 1653, “I went to take the aire in Hide Park,
where every coach was made to pay a shilling, and horse sixpence, by
these sordid fellows who purchas’d it of the State as they were cal’d.”

This toll seems afterwards to have been raised, or it might only have
been for the occasion, which was the first of May, when it was
fashionable to be seen in the Park; for, in a letter dated May 2,
1654,[18] J. B. informs Mr. Scudamore that “Yesterday, each coach (and,
I believe, there were fifteen hundred) paid half-a-crown, and each horse
one shilling. The benefit accrues to a brace of citizens, who have taken
the herbage of the Park from Mr. Dean, to which they add this excise of
beauty. There was a hurling in the _paddock course_ by Cornish
gentlemen, for the great solemnity of the day, which, _indeed_ (to use
my Lord Protector’s word), was great. When my Lord Protector’s coach
came into the Park with Colonel Ingleby and my Lord’s daughters only
(three of them, all in green-a) the coaches and horses flocked about
them like some miracle. But they galloped (after the mode court pace
now, and which they all use wherever they go, round and round the Park,)
and all that great multitude hunted them, and caught them still at the
turn, like a hare, and then made a lane with all reverent haste for
them, and so after them again, that I never saw the like in my life.”

Cromwell himself was present at this hurling match, according to the
_Moderate Intelligencer_ of April 26--May 4, 1654. “This day there was a
hurling match of a great ball by fifty Cornish gentlemen on the one
side, and fifty on the other; one party played in red caps, and the
other in white. There was present his Highness the Lord Protector, many
of the Privy Council, and divers eminent gentlemen, to whose view was
presented great agility of body, and most neat and exquisite wrestling
at every meeting of one with the other, which was ordered with such
dexterity, that it was to show more the strength, vigour and nimbleness
of their bodies, than to endanger their persons. The ball they played
withal was silver, and designed for that party which did win the goal.”

But, if Cromwell could drive the coach of State, he could not always
manage to drive his own, and there is one memorable instance of his
coming to grief in Hyde Park, in 1654, in endeavouring so to do, the
story of which is thus told by General Ludlow (who was no friend to the
Protector) in his Memoirs.[19]

“In the mean time, _Cromwel_ having assumed the whole Power of the
Nation to himself, and sent Ambassadors and Agents to Foreign States,
was courted again by them, and presented with the Rarities of several
Countries; amongst the rest the Duke of _Holstein_ made him a Present of
a Set of gray _Frizeland_ Coach-Horses, with which taking the Air in the
Park, attended only with his Secretary _Thurlow_, and Guard of
Janizaries, he would needs take the place of the Coachman, not doubting
but the three pair of Horses he was about to drive would prove as tame
as the three Nations which were ridden by him: and, therefore, not
contented with their ordinary pace, he lashed them very furiously. But
they, unaccustomed to such a rough Driver, ran away in a Rage, and
stop’d not till they had thrown him out of the box, with which Fall, his
Pistol fired in his Pocket, tho without any hurt to himself; by which he
might have been instructed how dangerous it was to intermeddle with
those things wherein he had no Experience.”

In Thurloe’s _State Papers_ (vol. ii. p, 652) there is another account
of this accident, in a letter, dated October 16, 1654 (N.S.), from “The
_Dutch_ embassadors in _England_, to the States General.

MY LORDS,--After the sending away of our letters of last friday, we were
acquainted the next morning, which we heard nothing of the night before,
that about that time a mischance happened to the lord protector, which
might have been, in all likelihood, very fatal unto him, if God had not
wonderfully preserved him; as we are informed the manner of it to be
thus. His highness, only accompanied with Secretary Thurloe and some few
of his gentlemen and servants, went to take the air in Hyde Park, where
he caused some dishes of meat to be brought; where he made his dinner,
and, afterwards, had a desire to drive the coach himself, having put
only the secretary into it, being those six horses, which the earl of
Oldenburgh had presented unto his highness, who drove pretty handsomely
for some time; but, at last, provoking those horses too much with the
whip, they grew unruly, and run so fast that the postillion could not
hold them in; whereby his highness was flung out of the coach box upon
the pole, upon which he lay with his body, and, afterwards, fell upon
the ground. His foot getting hold in the tackling, he was carried away
a good while in that posture, during which a pistol went off in his
pocket; but, at last, he got his foot clear, and so came to escape, the
coach passing away without hurting him. He was presently brought home,
and let blood; and, after some rest taken, he is now pretty well again.
The secretary, being hurt on his ancle with leaping out of the coach,
hath been forced to keep his chamber hitherto, and been unfit for any
business; so that we have not been able to further or expedite any
business this week.”

Larwood, in his _Story of the London Parks_, gives quotations from two
poetical lampoons, which I have not been able to verify, and, therefore,
give them on his authority. And, he says, there was a poem called _The
Jolt_, by Sir John Birkenhead, treating of this accident. The first
quotation he gives he does not say whence it is taken, and is as

    “Every day and hour has shown us his power,
           And now he has shown us his art.
     His first reproach was a fall from a coach--
           And his next will be from a cart.”

A pleasant allusion to his probable fate, for a criminal who was to be
hanged, was taken to the gallows on a cart, and, the halter being round
his neck, the horse was whipped, and the cart being drawn from under
him, the unfortunate man was left swinging.

The other quotation, he says, occurs in a ballad called, “Old England is
now a brave Barbary.”

    “But Noll, a rank rider, gets first in the saddle,
       And make her show tricks, curvate and rebound;
     She quickly perceived he rode widdle-waddle,
       And, like his coach-horses, threw his Highness to the ground.”

Hyde Park seems to have been fraught with danger to the Protector, for
in 1657 there was a plot to have assassinated him. The chief
conspirators were a man named Sindercombe, or Fish, a cashiered
quarter-master in Monk’s army, and another named Cecil, who turned
approver; who in his evidence[20] said,

“That the first time they rode forth to kill him, was the latter end of
_September_ last, (_viz._) the Saturday after he had left going to
_Hampton Court_.

“That the second time was when he rode to _Kensington_, and thence, the
back way to _London_.

“The third time, when he went to _Hide-Park_ in his coach.

“The fourth time, when he went to _Turnham Green_, and so by _Acton_
home, at which time they rode forth to kill him, and resolved to break
through all difficulties to effect it.

“The fifth time, when he rode into _Hide-Park_, where his Highness
alighting, asked him, the said _Cecil_, whose horse that was he rode on,
_Sundercomb_ being then on the outside of the Park; and then _Cecill_
was ready to have done it, but doubted, his horse having at that time
got a cold.”

That they meant to kill the Protector there can be little doubt, and
looked after their means of escape afterwards, for we read in the papers
of the day[21] how--“Once, they thought to have done their work as his
Highness was taking the aire in _Hide-Park_; and, to make way for their
Escape, they had, in one place, Filed off the Hinges of the Gates, and
rode about with the train attending his Highness, with intent to have
given him a fatall Charge, if he had chanced to have galloped out at any
distance from the company.” They also had pulled down some of the
fencing, so as to leave them another place of egress.

Sindercombe was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged, drawn
and quartered; but, on the night previous to his execution, he found
means to poison himself, and so cheated the gallows. The coroner’s jury
found a verdict of _felo de se_,[22] and “On the same day, _February
17_, _Miles Sindercom_ aforesaid, being found to have murthered himself,
his Body was, according to Law, drawn to the open place upon _Tower
Hill_, at a Horses Taile, with his head foreward, and there, under the
Scaffold of Common execution, a Hole being digg’d, he was turned in
stark naked, and a stake, spiked with Iron, was driven through him into
the earth; That part of the stake which remaines above ground, being all
plated with Iron, which may stand as an example of terror to all
Traytors for the time to come.”

Previous to this, it had been found necessary to protect the Park, by
authority, as we see by two entries in the _Journals of the House of
Commons_. “7 Oct., 1643. _Ordered_, That the Officers and Soldiers at
the Courts of Guard be required not to permit any to cut down Trees or
Woods in _Hyde Park_, or _Maribone Park_, but such as are authorized
thereto by Ordinance of Parliament; and not to suffer any such persons
to go out of the Works to cut the Woods in these two Parks, or to bring
any from thence, but by Warrant from the Committees appointed for that
Ordinance: and the Officers and Soldiers at the Courts of Guard are
required, from time to time, to be aiding and assisting to _Sir John
Hippesley_, a Member of this House, on all Occasions, to prevent the
cutting down or destroying of the said Parks, unless it be by Authority
of the Ordinance aforesaid.”

And there is another entry on Oct. 14, 1644. “Whereas Information hath
been given, That several unruly and disorderly Persons have, in a
tumultuous and riotous Manner, broken into _Hide Park_, pulled down the
Pales to destroy his Majesty’s Deer and Wood there, notwithstanding
strict Command hath been given to the Contrary: It is _Ordered and
Ordained_, by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That the said Park
and Deer, and the Woods and Pales, belonging to the said Park, are
hereby protected from the Violence of any Person or Persons whatever:
and that no Soldier, or other, shall presume to pull down, or take away,
any of the Pales belonging to the same, nor kill, or destroy, any Deer
therein; or cut, fell, or carry away, any Wood growing in or about the
said Park, or Mounds thereof. And it is further _Ordered_ for the better
Prevention of the Mischiefs aforesaid, That all Captains and Commanders
of Guards and Forts near the said Park, shall give Notice of this
Ordinance to the Soldiers under their several Commands: And that they
themselves likewise do their Uttermost Endeavours, that this Ordinance
shall be obeyed in all Points: And, lastly, that if any Others, not
being Soldiers, shall offend contrary to this Ordinance, that the
Keepers of the said Park, or some of them may charge any of his
Majesty’s Officers with the said offenders: Who are to be brought before
the Parliament, to be proceeded with according to their Demerits.”

When the King “came to his own again,” the gentlemen who had purchased
Hyde Park, had to restore it to the Crown, on the grounds that the sale
had never been ratified by Parliament: and an early Act of His Majesty’s
was to build a wall around the Park, and re-stock a portion of it with


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     The camp in Hyde Park during the Plague of 1665--Boscobel Oaks in
     the Park--When first opened to the public--What it was then
     like--The Cheesecake House--Its homely refections--Orange girls.

In 1665, at the time of the great Plague, Hyde Park was put to a sad
use, as is well described in a contemporary poem entitled “Hide Park
Camp Limned out to the Life, etc.”

    “In _July_, Sixteen hundred sixty and five,
     (O happy is the Man that’s now alive)
     When God’s destroying Angel sore did smite us,
     ’Cause he from sin could by no means invite us:
     When Lovely _London_ was in Mourning Clad,
     And not a countenance appear’d but sad;
     When the Contagion all about was spread;
     And People in the Streets did fall down dead.
     When Money’d fugitives away did flee,
     And took their Heels, in hopes to scape scot-free.
     Just then we March’t away, the more’s the pitty,
     And took our farewell of the Doleful City.
     With heavy Hearts unto _Hide Park_ we came,
     To chuse a place whereas we might remain:
     Our Ground we view’d, then streight to work we fall,
     And build up Houses without any Wall.
     We pitched our Tents on Ridges, and in Furrows,
     And there encamp’t, fearing th’ _Almighty’s Arrows_.
     But O alass! What did all this avail:
     Our men (ere long) began to droop and quail.
     Our Lodgings cold, and some not us’d thereto,
     Fell sick, and dy’d, and made us more adoe.
     At length the Plague amongst us ’gan to spread,
     When ev’ry morning some were found stark dead.
     Down to another Field the sick were t’ane;
     But few went down, that e’er came up again.
     For want of comfort, many, I observ’d,
     Perish’d and dy’d, which might have been preserv’d.
     But that which most of all did grieve my Soul,
     To see poor Christians drag’d into a Hole:
     Tye Match about them, as they had been Logs,
     And draw them into Holes, far worse than Dogs.
     When each Man did expect his turn was next,
     O then our Hearts with sorrow was perplext.
     Our Officers amazed stood, for dread,
     To see their men no sooner sick but dead.
     But that which most of all did grieve them, Why?
     To help the same there was no remedy.
     A Pest-house was prepar’d, and means was us’d,
     That none should be excluded, or refus’d:
     Yet all would not avail, they dy’d apace,
     As one dy’d out, another took his place.
     A sad and dismal time, as ere was known,
     When Corps, in the wide fields about was strown.

        “But stay, my Muse; I think ’tis but a folly
     To plunge ourselves too deep in Melancholly;
     Let us revive a little, though in jest,
     Of a bad Market we must make the best.
     Is nothing left to chear us? not one Sup?
     We’le try conclusions, ere the Game be up.
     Methinks I hear some say, Friend, Prithee hark,
     Where got you drink and Victuals in the _Park_?
     I, there’s the Query; We shall soon decide it,
     Why, We had Men, cal’d Sutlers, provided;
     Subtle they were, before they drove this Trade,
     But by this means, they all were sutler made.
     No wind, or weather, ere could make them flinch,
     Yet they would have the Souldiers at a pinch.
     For my part, I know little of their way,
     But what I hear my fellow Souldiers say;
     One said, Their Meat and Pottage was too fat;
     Yes, quoth another, we got none of that:
     Besides, quoth he, they have a cunning sleight,
     In selling out their Meat by pinching weight;
     To make us pay sixpence a pound for Beefe,
     To a poor Souldier, is no little grief.
     Their Bread is small, their Cheese is mark’t by th’ Inch,
     And, to speak truth, they’re all upon the pinch.
     As for their Liquor, drink it but at leisure,
     And you shall ne’re be drunk with over measure.
     Thus would they often talk to one another;
     And, for my part, I speak it as a Brother,
     They for the Sutlers put up many a Prayer,
     When, for themselves they took not so much care.
     This was, it seems, most of the Sutlers’ dealings,
     But yet, I say, there’s none but have their failings.
     They might do this (poor men), yet think no evil.
     Therefore they’l go to God, or to the D----.

         “But leave them now, because Tat-too has beat,
     And fairly to our Tents let us retreat,
     Where we keep such a coyl, and such a quarter,
     And all to make the tedious nights seem shorter.
     Then down we lie, until our bones do ake,
     First one side, then the other weary make.
     When frost did pinch us, then we shake and shiver,
     And full as bad we were in stormy weather;
     A boistrous blast, when men with sleep were dead,
     Would bring their Houses down upon their head.
     Thus in extremity, we often lay,
     Longing to see the dawning of the day
     Which brought us little comfort, for the Air
     Was very sharp, and very hard our fare.
     Our sufferings were almost beyond belief,
     And yet we found small hopes to have relief.

         “Our brave Commanders, Valiant, Stout and Bold,
     Was neither pinch’t with hunger, nor with cold,
     They quaft the Bowls about, one to another,
     With good Canary they kept out the weather;
     And oft to one another would say thus,
     (When we are gone, then gone is all with us)
     And thus, in mirth, they chear’d their Spirits up,
     By taking t’other Pipe, and t’other Cup:
     Much good may it do their hearts; we should have done
     The same ourselves, had we been in their room.
     We were as glad when we got to a Cup
     Of nappy Ale, to take a pretty sup;
     But durst not go to Town, on any cause,
     For fear the Martial catch us in his Claws.
     About the _Park_ to walk for recreation,
     We might be free, we knew our Bounds and Station.
     But not a Coach was stirring any where,
     Unless t’were such as brought us in our Beer.
     Alass, _Hide Park_, these are with thee sad dayes,
     The Coaches all are turn’d to Brewers’ Drayes;
     Instead of Girls with Oranges and Lemons,
     The Bakers’ boys, they brought in loaves by dozens;
     And by that means, they kept us pretty sober,
     Until the latter end of wet _October_.
     They promis’d we should march, and then we leapt,
     But all their promises were broke (or kept).
     They made us all, for want of Winter Quarters,
     Ready to hang ourselves in our own Garters.

         “At last, the Dove came with the Olive Branch,
     And told, for certain, that we should advance
     Out of the Field; O then we leapt for joy,
     And cry’d with one accord, _Vive le Roy_.
     What did the Sutlers then? nay, what do ye think?

[Illustration: BOSCOBEL OAKS, 1804.

Page 27.

    For very grief, they gave away their drink:
    But it’s no matter, let them laugh that wins,
    They were no loosers (God forgive their sins).

        “Upon _Gunpowder Treason_ day, (at Night)
    We burnt our Bed-Straw, to make Bone fire light;
    And went to Bed, that night, so merry hearted
    For joy we and our Lodgings should be parted;
    Next morning we were up by break of day,
    To be in readinesse to march away.
    We bid adue to _Hide Park’s_ fruitful Soil,
    And left the Country to divide the Spoyl.
    With flying Colours we the City enter,
    And, then, into our Quarters boldly venture.
    Our Land-Ladyes sayd _Welcome_ (as was meet),
    But, for our Landlords, some lookt sowr, some sweet.
    So soon as we were got into warm Bed,
    We look’t as men new metamorphosed.
    But now I think ’tis best to let them sleep,
    Whilst I out of the Chamber softly creep,
    To let you know, that now my task is done,
    Would I had known as much when I begun.
    A sadder time, I freely dare engage
    Was never known before, in any Age.
      _God bless King_ Charles _and send him long to reign,
      And grant we never may know the like again._”

In connection with Hyde Park and the Restoration, I may mention the
following, copied from _The Times_, December 18, 1862. “A RELIC OF THE
PAST IN HYDE PARK. Perhaps few of the many who visit this Park are aware
that on the right hand side of the Carriage drive, between the Receiving
house and the Bridge, there still remains an interesting relic of the
Stuart period. It is a tree, one of two planted by Charles II. from
acorns taken from the Boscobel Oak, in Somersetshire, in _which his
father successfully sought refuge_, and were planted here to commemorate
the event. They have both been dead some years, and one, much decayed,
was removed in 1854; the other, beautifully clothed with ivy, which
gives it the appearance of life, still remains. In common with all the
other old trees in the Park, it is protected by a fence of iron
hurdles; but, surely, a relic like this deserves a handsome and
appropriate railing, with a descriptive brass plate affixed, to point
out to strangers this historical antiquity, now known only to local

If the traditional lore of the writer of the above is on a par with his
historical knowledge (_vide italics_) this statement has not much value.
Indeed, a correspondent in _Notes and Queries_ (3s. iii. 96), referring
to this paragraph, and speaking of the trees, says “the tradition really
and truly connected with them is the fatal duel fought by the fifth Lord
Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton, in November, 1712.”

Hyde Park seems to have been first opened to the public about 1637, for
in the dedication of James Shirley’s play of _Hide Parke_ (published in
that year) to the Right Hon. Henry, Earl of Holland, he says, “This
Comedy in the title, is a part of your Lordship’s Command, which
heretofore grac’d, and made happy by your smile, when it was presented,
after a long silence, _upon first opening of the Parke_.” And it is from
this contemporary play that we are able to learn somewhat of the Park
itself. Nightingales and cuckoos abounded, and both are several times

     MISTRESS CAROLL. Harke, Sir, the Nightingale, there’s better lucke
     Comming towards us.

     FAIRFIELD. When you are out breath You will give over, and for
     better lucke, I do beleeve the bird, for I can leave thee, And not
     be in love with my owne torment.

     M. CA. How, sir?

     FA. I ha said, stay you and practise with the bird, ’Twas Philomel
     they say; and thou wert one, I should new ravish thee.

            *       *       *       *       *

     MISTRESS BONAVENT. I heard it yesterday warble so prettily.

     LACY. They say ’tis luckie, when it is the first Bird that salutes
     our eare.

     BO. Doe you believe it?

     TRYER. I am of his minde, and love a happy Augury.

     LA. Observe the first note alwayes Cuckoo! Is this the Nightingale?

And then also there were refreshments to be taken at the Keeper’s Lodge
(sometimes called Price’s Lodge, from Gervase Price, a keeper), as we
read in _Hide Parke_.

     RIDER. I wish your sillabub were nectar, Lady.

     MISTRESS BONAVENT. We thank you, sir, and here it comes already.


     MISTRESS JULIETTA. So, so, is it good milke?

     BON. Of a Red Cow.

     MISTRESS CAROLL. You talke as you inclin’d to a consumption. Is the
     wine good?

Pepys mentions this Lodge and its refreshments more than once. “_June 3,
1668._ To the Park, where much fine company and many fine ladies, and in
so handsome a hackney I was, that I believe, Sir W. Coventry and others
who looked on me, did take me to be in one of my own, which I was a
little troubled for: so to the Lodge and drank a cup of new milk, and so
home.”--“_April 25, 1669._ Abroad with my wife in the afternoon to the
Park, where very much company, and the weather very pleasant. I carried
my wife to the Lodge, the first time this year, and there, in our coach,
eat a cheese cake and drank a tankard of milk.”

Not to know the Lodge was to show oneself of small account, as we see in
a comedy called “The English Monsieur,” by the Hon. James Howard, son
of the Earl of Berkshire, acted with much applause at the Theatre Royal,
in 1674.

“COMELY. Nay, ’tis no London female; she’s a thing that never saw
Cheesecake, Tart, or Syllabub at the Lodge in Hyde Park.”

According to Thomas Brown, of Shifnall, the ladies also partook of
refreshment in their coaches, for he says,--“See, says my _Indian_, what
a Bevy of Gallant Ladies are in yonder Coaches; some are Singing, others
Laughing, others Tickling one another, and all of them Toying and
devouring Cheese Cakes, March-Pane, and _China_ Oranges.”[23] And this
in the sober days of William and Mary!

About this time the name of “the Lodge” was generally dropped, and it
was called the Cake House or Mince Pie House, until it was pulled down
early middle of the century. It was situated nearly on the site of the
present Receiving House of the Royal Humane Society, as is shown in a
“Plan of Hyde Park, as it was in 1725. From a Plan of the Parish of St.
George, Hanover Square, in the Vestry Room of that Parish.”[24] It was
made of timber and plaster, and must have had a very picturesque look
when the accompanying illustration was taken in 1826. The other view of
it, in 1804, shows its surroundings in the Park. “The Cake House”
furnished the title of one of Charles Dibdin’s table entertainments,
first performed in 1800.

Then too there were the Orange girls, whose vocation was not entirely
confined to the theatres,

[Illustration: CHEESECAKE HOUSE, 1826.

Page 30.

and who were chaffed by, and gave saucy answers to, the beaux. In a play
by Thomas Southern (the author of _Isabella_ and _Oroonoko_), published
in 1693, called _The Maid’s last Prayer_, _Or_ Any, _rather than Fail_,
we find (p. 37) Lord and Lady Malapert discussing the propriety of
visiting their country seat.

     L. MAL. Well, well, there are a thousand innocent diversions.

     LA. MAL. What! Angling for Gudgeons, Bowls, and Ninepins?

     L. MAL. More wholesome and diverting than always the dusty Mile
     Horse driving in Hide-Park.

     LA. MAL. O law! don’t profane Hide-Park: Is there anything so
     pleasant as to go there alone, and find fault with the Company?
     Why, there can’t a Horse or a Livery ’scape a Man, that has a mind
     to be witty. And then I sell bargains to the Orange Women.


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Foot and horse racing in the Park--Prize fighting--Duelling--The
     duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton.

Then, also, there were races run in the Park, both horse, coach and
foot. In Shirley’s _Hide Parke_ we read,--

L. BONAVENT. Be there any races here?

MR. LACY. Yes, Sir, horse and foot.

       *       *       *       *       *

MISTRESS BON. Prethee, sweetheart, who runnes?

LA. An Irish and an English footeman!

M. BON. Will they runne this way?

LA. Just before you, I must have a bet!


M. BON. Nay, nay, you shall not leave me.

MISTRESS CARROLL. Do it discreetely, I must speak to him,
   To ease my heart. I shall burst else.
   Weele expect ’em here, Cousen, do they runne naked?

M. BON. That were a most immodest sight.

M. CA. Here have bin such fellowes, Cousen.

M. BON. It would fright the women!

M. CA. Some are of opinion it brings us hither.
   Harke what a confusion of tongues there is.
   Let you and I venture a paire of Gloves
   Upon their feete; I’le take the Irish.

M. BON. ’Tis done, but you shall pay if you lose.

M. CA. Here’s my hand, you shall have the Gloves if you winne.

M. BON. I thinke they are started.

               _The Runners, after them the Gentlemen._

OMNES. A Teag, A Teag, make way for shame.

LA. I hold any man forty peeces yet.

VENTURE. A hundred pound to ten! a hundred peeces to ten!
   Will no man take me?

M. BON. I hold you, Sir.

VEN. Well, you shall see. A Teag! a Teag! hey!

TRYER. Ha! Well run, Irish!

BON. He may be in a Bogge anon.


The horse race is thus described.

                     _Enter Jockey and Gentleman._

I. What dost thinke, _Jockey_?

II. The crack o’ th’ field against you.

JO. Let them crack nuts.

I. What weighte?

II. I think he has the heeles.

III. Get but the start.

JO. However, if I get within his quarters, let me alone.


       _Confused noise of betting within, after that, a shoute._

M. CA. They are started.

   _Enter Bonvile_, _Rider_, _Bonavent_, _Tryer_, _and Fairefield._

RI. Twenty pounds to fifteene.

L. BON. ’Tis done we’e.

FA. Forty pounds to thirty.

L. BON. Done, done, Ile take all oddes.

TR. My Lord, I hold as much.

L. BON. Not so.

TR. Forty pounds to twenty.

L. BON. Done, done.

M. BON. You ha’ lost all, my Lord, and it were a Million.

L. BON. In your imagination, who can helpe it?

LA. _Venture_ had the start, and keepes it.

L. BON. Gentlemen, you have a fine time to triumph,
   ’Tis not your oddes that makes you win.
       _Within_--_Venture!_ _Venture!_

[_Exeunt Men._

JULIETTA. Shall we venture nothing o’ th’ horses?
   What oddes against my Lord?

M. CA. Silke stockings.

JU. To a paire of perfum’d gloves, I take it.

M. CA. Done!

M. BON. And I as much.

JU. Done with you both!

M. CA. Ile have em Spanish sent.

JU. The stockings shall be scarlet, if you choose
   Your sent, Ile choose my sent.

M. CA. ’Tis done, if _Venture_
   Knew but my lay, it would halfe breake his necke now,
   And crying _A Jockey!_ _hay!_

[_A shoute within._

JU. Is the wind in that coast, harke the noyse.
Is _Jockey_ now?

M. CA. ’Tis but a paire of gloves.

JU. Still it holds.

[_Enter My Lord._

   How ha’ you sped, my Lord?

L. BON. Won, Won, I knew by instinct
   The mare would put some tricke upon him.

M. BON. Then we ha’ lost; but, good my Lord, the circumstance.

L. BON. Great _John_ at all adventure and grave _Jockey_

    Mounted their severall Mares, I sha’not tell
    The story out for laughing, ha, ha, ha,
    But this in briefe; _Jockey_ was left behind,
    The pitty and the scorne of all the oddes,
    Plaid ’bout my eares like Cannon, but lesse dangerous,
    I looke all still: the acclamations was
    For _Venture_, whose disdainful Mare threw durt
    In my old _Jockey’s_ face, all hopes forsaking us,
    Two hundred peeces desperate, and two thousand
    Oathes sent after them: upon the suddaine,
    When we expected no such tricke, we saw
    My rider, that was domineering ripe,
    Vault ore his Mare into a tender slough,
    Where he was much beholding to one shoulder
    For saving of his necke; his beast recovered,
    And he, by this time, somewhat mortified,
    Besides mortified, hath left the triumph
    To his Olympick Adversary, who shall
    Ride hither in full pompe on his _Bucephalus_,
    With his victorious bagpipe.

These pedestrian races between “Running footmen” seem to have been
common in Hyde Park, as Pepys notes under date August 10, 1660. “With
Mr. Moore and Creed to Hyde Park by Coach, and saw a fine foot race
three times round the Park, between an Irishman and Crow, that was once
my Lord Claypole’s footman.” And for another instance of horse-racing in
the Park we can find one in the comedy of _The Mulberry Garden_, by Sir
Charles Sedley (1668), where, in Act I. Scene 2, Ned Estridge, speaking
of Sir John Everyoung, says, “’Tis a pleasant old fellow. He has given
me a hundred pounds for my _Graybeard_, and is to ride himself, this day
month, twice round the Park, against a bay stone horse of _Wildishe’s_,
for two hundred more.” Whilst for a different kind of race we have the
testimony of Evelyn, who says: “May 20th, 1658. I went to see a coach
race in Hide Park, and collationed in Spring Garden.” In _The Merry
Life and mad Exploits of Captain_ James Hind, _The great Robber of
England_, a noted highwayman _temp._ Charles II., is a story of “How
_Hind_ robbed a Gentleman in _Hide Park_ of a Bag of Money. _Hind_ being
well mounted, went one Evening into _Hide Park_, to see some Sport, and
riding by a Gentleman’s Coach, espied a Bag of Money, upon which _Hind_
used some Discourse about the Race that was going to be run; but the
Race beginning, the Gentleman caused his Coach to stand still, that he
might the easier judge which of the Horses run best. Hind’s head not
being idle, rode close to the Coach side, took the Bag of Money in his
hands, and rode away with it. The Gentleman presently missing his Bag of
Money, cries out, _Stay him, Stay him, I am robbed_. Many rode after
him, especially the Captain whom he robbed at _Chalk Hill_, who pursued
him very hard. _Hind_ riding by _St. James’s_, said to the Soldiers, _I
have won the Wager_; but holding of the Bag fast, his Cloak fell off,
which he left for them that came next. But when he came to his
companions, he said, _I never earned a hundred pounds so dear in all my

Larwood says that foot-racing was carried on till early in the present
century, and gives instances down to 1807; the only one I am at all able
to verify was one run by two boys on 5th March, 1807--when one dropped
down dead--_but that race was run in St. James’s Park_.

In the somewhat brutal days of George III. (which brutality has
descended to our own times) the Park was disgraced by prize-fights, and
several duels were fought there, although the place was not so private
as Wimbledon Common, Putney, or Kensington Gravel Pits. One of the
favourite places in the Park for these encounters was near the
Cheesecake House, or Price’s Lodge, for it was there that the celebrated
duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton took place in 1712, and
it certainly retained its position till 1751, when Fielding wrote
_Amelia_, where Colonel Bath and Booth meeting in St. James’s Park, the
Colonel says, “‘I will tell you therefore, Sir, that you have acted like
a Scoundrel.’--‘If we were not in the Park,’ answered _Booth_ warmly, ‘I
would thank you very properly for that Compliment.’--‘O Sir!’ cries the
Colonel, ‘we can soon be in a convenient place.’ Upon which _Booth_
answered he would attend him wherever he pleased.--The Colonel then bid
him come along, and strutted forward directly up _Constitution Hill_ to
_Hyde Park_, _Booth_ following him at first, and afterwards walking
before him, till they came to that Place which may be properly called
the Field of Blood, being that part a little to the Left of the Ring,
which Heroes have chosen for the Scene of their Exit out of this World.”
Booth ran the Colonel through the body, without seriously injuring him,
and a reconciliation took place, ending, “‘I bleed a little, but I can
walk to the house by the water, (_the Cheesecake House_) and, if you
will send me a Chair thither, I shall be obliged to you.’”[25]

I propose to give an account of some authentic duels which have taken
place in Hyde Park, commencing with that of Lord Mohun and the Duke of
Hamilton, on November 15th, 1712, all the rest being taken from _The
Gentleman’s Magazine_.


Page 37.

This duel was invested with a political colouring, the Duke being the
leader of the Jacobite faction in Scotland, and Mohun being a violent
Whig; so that the Tories, enraged at Hamilton’s fall, did not scruple to
call it a Whig murder, and denounce Lord Mohun’s second, General
Macartney, as having unfairly stabbed him; but from the evidence taken
at the two inquests,[26] there is not a _scintilla_ of truth in the

The story of the duel is, briefly, this. The two noblemen were opposing
parties in a lawsuit; and, on Nov. 13, 1712, met in the chambers of a
Master in Chancery, when the Duke remarked of a witness--“There is no
truth or justice in him.” Lord Mohun replied, “I know Mr. Whitworth; he
is an honest Man, and has as much truth as your Grace.” This, fanned to
flame by officious friends, was enough; and, two days afterwards, they
fought, early in the morning, in Hyde Park, near Price’s Lodge; their
seconds, Col. Hamilton and General Macartney, also fighting, as was the
custom; or, as they expressed it, “taking their share in the dance.”

The duel is shortly described by a witness, “John Reynolds _of_ Price’s
_Lodge in the_ Park, Swore, That hearing of a Quarrel, he and one
_Nicholson_, got Staves and ran to part them: that he _Reynolds_ was
within 30 or 40 yards of Duke _Hamilton_ and my Lord _Mohun_ when they
fell. That my Lord _Mohun_ fell into the ditch upon his back, and Duke
_Hamilton_ fell near him, leaning over him. That the two seconds ran in
to them; and immediately after them this _John Reynolds_, who demanded
the Seconds’ Swords, which they gave him, without any Resistance. He
then wrested the Duke’s Sword out of his Hand, and _Nicholson_ took away
my Lord _Mohun’s_, and gave it to _Reynolds_, who carried the four
swords some distance from the parties: He return’d and help’d Duke
_Hamilton_ up, who still lay on his Face. He got him up, and he walk’d
about 30 Yards: they desir’d him to walk farther, and he said he could
walk no farther.”

By this witness, supported by two others, we see no mention of General
Macartney stabbing the Duke, as represented in the illustration, and as
it was currently reported at the time. Macartney fled; but Col. Hamilton
remained, stood his trial, and was found guilty of manslaughter. He
accused Macartney of the foul deed, and great was the hue and cry after
him. The Duchess was naturally enraged, and offered a reward of £300 for
his apprehension, the Government supplementing her offer by an
additional £500, but Macartney got away safely. When things were
quieter, he returned, stood his trial at the Queen’s Bench, Colonel
Hamilton’s testimony was contradicted, and he was acquitted of the
murder, but found guilty of manslaughter. The punishment for this, by
pleading benefit of Clergy, which, of course, was always done, was
reduced to a very minimum--something amounting to the supposed burning
of the hand with a barely warm, or cold iron--and he was restored to his
rank in the army, and had a regiment given him.

[Illustration: decorative bar]


Duelling in Hyde Park.

The first duel in Hyde Park (chronicled in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_,
which commenced in 1731) is one fought on February 24, 1750, “between
Admiral _Knowles_ and Captain _Holmes_, with pistols, when two or three
shots were exchanged on each side, but no hurt was done. His majesty
being informed that more challenges were depending, particularly four
Challenges sent to the said Admiral, order’d three officers into
Custody.” But the bellicose officers under his command did not care for
that example, and on March 12 next ensuing, “at 7 in the morning was
fought in _Hide Park_, a duel with sword and pistol between Capt.
_Clarke_ and Capt. _Innes_, belonging to Admiral _Knowles’s_ squadron;
Captain _Clarke_ fired first, and the ball went through Capt. _Innes’s_
breast into his body, of which wound he dy’d at 12 o’clock at night; the
Coroner’s jury brought it in wilful murder.” Captain Clarke was
sentenced to be hanged, but was respited. If the facts brought out at
the trial were true, he ought to have suffered the extreme penalty of
the law, for his pistols were rifled, with barrels 7 inches long, whilst
those of his antagonist were only ordinary pocket pistols, with barrels
about 3½ inches in length; and they were not more than five yards
distant from each other, when they turned about, and Captain Clarke
fired before Captain Innes had levelled his pistol.

“Jan. 5, 1762. A duel was fought in _Hyde Park_ between an _English_
officer and an _Irish_ gentleman, when the former was so dangerously
wounded in the belly, that his life has been despaired of. He is now,
however, in a fair way of doing well.... A lady in _Bond Street_, said
to be nearly related to the young officer who was wounded in _Hyde
Park_, shot herself through the head with a pistol, and died in great

“May 13, 1769. A duel was fought between two gentlemen in _Hyde Park_,
occasioned by a quarrel at Vauxhall, one of them was run thro’ the sword
arm, and the other wounded in the thigh, after which they were parted by
their seconds.”

“July 19, 1769. A duel is said to have been lately fought in Hyde Park
between a Captain Douglas and the Rev. Mr. Green, who some time ago was
tried for a rape at the Old Bailey, and acquitted. Mr. Green, it seems,
disabled the Captain in his sword arm; but, what is the wonderful part
of the story, the Captain Douglas, whom the Rev. Mr. Green disabled,
cannot be found, so that it is supposed this parson, as the humourous
sexton of a neighbouring parish says, never fights with a man but he
buries him.”

“Mar. 17, 1770. A duel was fought in Hyde Park, between George Garrick
Esq^{re} and Mr. Baddeley, both of Drury Lane Theatre, when the former,
having received the other’s fire, discharged his pistol in the air,
which produced a reconciliation.”

George Garrick was the brother of David, the celebrated actor, and
Baddeley is notable for two things, one, as being the last of the
“King’s Servants” (as the actors at the two patent theatres were called)
who wore his master’s scarlet livery, and the other in leaving a small
legacy to provide cake and wine for the green room of Drury Lane Theatre
every Twelfth Night; a custom which, for some time, was in abeyance, but
has been revived, in a most liberal and costly manner, by Sir Augustus

The somewhat bald notice in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ of this duel, is
supplemented by a more extended one in the _Town and Country Magazine_
for March, 1770. “The world have been so ill natured as to suggest that
Mrs. B--y had formed a connection with the late Mr. H--d: and that Mr.
M--z has since been his happy successor. These reports, whether true or
false, occasioned some altercation between Mr. B--y and his wife; and,
through resentment, he received her salary, without accounting to her
for it.

“Mr. G--e G--k remonstrated with Mr. B--y upon his conduct, which so
much displeased him, that he wrote a letter of complaint upon the
occasion to Mr. D--d G--k. This epistle being shown to Mr. G--e G--k, he
strongly resented it the next time he saw Mr. B--y, who, thereupon,
challenged him. In consequence whereof, (after Mr. D--d G--k, had
ineffectually endeavoured, for nearly three hours, to dissuade his
brother from this hostile design) Mr. G--e G--k engaged Mr. S--s, the
attorney, for his second; and Mr. B--y had sufficient influence over his
supposed rival, Mr. M--z, to induce that gentleman to become his

“These preliminaries being adjusted, they repaired to Hyde Park, and the
seconds having marked out the ground, Mr. B--y had already fired at his
antagonist, when his wife, who had received intimation of the affair,
flew upon the wings of love, (that is, in a hackney coach,) to the field
of battle; and, arriving at this critical time, threw herself upon her
knees; and, whilst she looked very languishing, (_but whether at her
lover, or her husband, is not certain_) cried out ‘_Oh! spare him! spare
him!_’ which entreaty, it is imagined, induced Mr. G--k to fire his
pistol in the air, and a reconciliation took place.

“Mr. Davis, our wooden engraver, passing by at the time, was a spectator
of the whole transaction, which enabled him to give our readers so
lively and picturesque a representation as that annexed, of this curious
and uncommon scene; from which there can, no doubt, remain, but that
they were both _left-handed_ upon this occasion.”

“Oct. 15, 1771. About eight o’clock in the morning, a duel was fought in
Hyde Park, between Major B. and T., a gentleman of great fortune in
Yorkshire; when, after discharging a pistol each, the latter received a
wound in the side, and was immediately carried in a coach to the house
of a surgeon near Piccadilly. It is said the dispute arose from Mr. T.
having, a few days since, insulted Major B. for shooting upon part of
his estate, without being authorized to do so.”

Here is a duel caused by what was afterwards called “The War of American
Independence,” which, however, at the time of its occurrence, had not
commenced, although it was imminent.

“Dec. 11, 1773. A duel was fought in Hyde


Page 42.

Park between Mr. Whateley, banker in Lombard Street, brother to Mr.
Whateley, late Secretary to the Treasury, and John Temple Esq^{re},
Lieutenant-Governor of New Hampshire, when the former was dangerously
wounded. The cause of the quarrel was the discovery of the confidential
letters written by Messrs. Hutchinson, Oliver, Paxton, etc., which were
lately laid before the assembly at Boston, and have since been published
in most of the London papers.”

The next I record has one name well known to literature as a principal,
that of “Fighting Parson Bate,” otherwise the Reverend Henry
Bate--afterwards Sir Henry Bate Dudley--who is mainly remembered as
having founded two newspapers of note, namely the _Morning Post_ and the
_Morning Herald_. “Sep. 14, 1780. A duel was fought in Hyde Park between
the Rev. Mr. Bate and Mr. R.,[27] one of the proprietors of the _Morning
Post_, occasioned by some reflections cast by the former on the whole
body of the proprietors, which was resented by the latter. Mr. Bate
fired first, and wounded his antagonist in the muscular part of his arm,
the other without effect; and then the seconds interposed, and the
matter was accommodated.”

One of the most vindictive duels I have read of is that which took place
on October 1st, 1797. The principals were Colonel King, afterwards Lord
Lorton, and a Colonel Fitzgerald, who, although a married man, had
eloped with Colonel King’s sister. The following is the account given by
the gentleman who acted as second to both parties.

“Agreeable to an arranged plan I accompanied Colonel King to a spot near
the Magazine in the Park. Colonel Fitzgerald we met at Grosvenor Gate,
unaccompanied by a friend, which, by the way, he told me yesterday, he
feared he should not be able to provide, in consequence of the odium
which was thrown upon his character; at the same time observing ‘that he
was so sensible of my honour, that he was perfectly satisfied to meet
Colonel King unattended by a friend.’ I decidedly refused any
interference on his part, informing him ‘that had not nearer relations
of the ---- been on the spot, he would have seen me as a principal.’ He
replied, ‘he would try to procure a friend;’ and withdrew. I addressed
him this morning by ‘where is your friend, Sir?’ Answer (as well as I
recollect), ‘I have not been able to procure one: I rest assured that
you will act fairly.’--I then desired him to apply to his surgeon; which
he immediately did, who refused appearing as a second, but said he would
be within view. Colonel K. was equally desirous to go on with the
business.--I consented. However, I prevailed upon a surgeon, who
accompanied Dr. Browne, to be present, as a witness that all was fairly
conducted. It was no common business.

“I placed them at ten short paces distance from each other; that
distance I thought too far: but I indulged a hope that Colonel F.,
sensible of the vileness of his conduct, would, after the first fire,
have thrown himself on Colonel K.’s humanity. His conduct was quite the
reverse; in short, they exchanged six shots each, without effect. K. was
cool and determined;--the other, also, determined, and to appearance
obstinately bent on blood; after the fourth shot, he said something to
me about giving him advice as a friend. I told him I was no friend of
his, but that I was a friend to humanity; that if, after what had
passed, he possessed firmness enough to acknowledge to Colonel K. that
he was the vilest of human beings, and bear, without reply, any language
from Colonel K., however harsh, the present business, then, perhaps,
might come to a period. He consented to acknowledge that he had acted
wrong, but no farther;--that was not enough. He now attempted to address
Colonel K., who prevented him, saying ‘he was a d--d villain, and that
he would not listen to anything he had to offer.’ They proceeded.
Colonel F.’s powder and balls were now expended; he desired to have one
of K.’s pistols. To this I would not consent, though pressed to do so by
my friend. Here ended this morning’s business--we must meet again; it
cannot end here....

“P.S.--On leaving the ground, Col. F. agrees to meet Col. K. at the same
hour to-morrow.

“Both the Colonels the same day were put under arrest.”

Another duel, which I may almost stigmatize as brutal, occurred on March
11th, 1803. “This morning, a most extraordinary duel took place in Hyde
Park, between Lieutenant W. of the Navy, and Captain J. of the Army. The
antagonists arrived at the appointed place within a few minutes of each
other. Some dispute arose respecting the distance, which the friends of
Lieutenant W. insisted should not exceed six paces, while the seconds of
Captain J. urged strongly the rashness of so decisive a distance, and
insisted on its being extended. At length, the proposal of Lieutenant
W.’s friends was agreed to, and the parties fired _per_ signal, when
Lieutenant W. received the shot of his adversary on the guard of his
pistol, which tore away the third and fourth fingers of his right hand.
The seconds then interfered, to no purpose; the son of Neptune,
apparently callous to pain, wrapped his handkerchief round his hand, and
swore he had another which never failed him. Captain J. called his
friend aside, and told him it was vain to urge a reconciliation. They
again took their ground. On Lieutenant W. receiving his pistol in his
left hand, he looked steadfastly at Captain J. for some time, then cast
his eyes to Heaven, and said, in a low voice, ‘Forgive me.’ The parties
fired as before, and both fell. Captain J. received the shot through his
head, and instantly expired; Lieutenant W. received the ball in his left
breast, and immediately inquired of his friend if Captain J.’s wound was
mortal. Being answered in the affirmative, he thanked Heaven he had
lived thus long; requested a mourning ring on his finger might be given
to his sister, and that she might be assured it was the happiest moment
he ever knew. He had scarcely finished the words when a quantity of
blood burst from his wound, and he expired almost without a struggle.
The unfortunate young man was on the eve of being married to a lady in
Hampshire, to whom, for some time, he had paid his addresses.”

The last duel I find connected with Hyde Park, but was fought at Chalk
Farm, is the following: “April 6th, 1803. This morning, as
Lieutenant-Colonel Montgomery and Captain Macnamara were riding in Hyde
Park, each followed by a Newfoundland dog, the dogs fought; in
consequence of which the gentlemen quarrelled, and used such irritating
language to each other, that a change of addresses followed, with an
appointment to meet at 7 o’clock the same evening near Primrose Hill;
the consequences of which proved fatal.”

Lord Burghersh, in giving evidence before the coroner’s jury, spoke of
the triviality of the offence given and received by these two hot-headed
idiots. He said, “On coming out of St. James’s Park on Wednesday
afternoon, he saw a number of horsemen, and Colonel Montgomery among
them; he rode up to him; at that time he was about twenty yards from the
railing next Hyde Park Gate. On one side of Colonel Montgomery was a
gentleman on horseback, whom he believed was Captain Macnamara. The
first words he heard were uttered by Colonel Montgomery, who said:
‘Well, Sir, and I will repeat what I said, if your dog attacks mine, I
will knock him down.’ To this, Captain Macnamara replied, ‘Well, Sir,
but I conceive the language you hold is arrogant, and not to be
pardoned.’ Colonel Montgomery said: ‘This is not the proper place to
argue the matter; if you feel yourself injured, and wish for
satisfaction, you know where to find me.’”

Montgomery fell, mortally wounded, and Macnamara was tried at the Old
Bailey, on 22nd March, for manslaughter. Lords Hood, Nelson, Hotham, and
Minto, and a great number of highly respectable gentlemen gave him an
excellent character, and, in spite of the judge’s summing up, the jury
went against his directions, and acquitted the Captain.

Larwood says that the last affair of honour which took place in Hyde
Park was in April, 1817, when the Hon. H. C. and a Mr. John T. fired
twice at each other and were both wounded; but, as I cannot verify this
duel, I give it under all reserve.

The last _fracas_ in Hyde Park that I can trace took place on July 12th,
1870, between Majors Gordon and Kane, retired officers in the Indian
service, the combatants belabouring each other with their sticks, in
retaliation for an affront alleged to have been offered at a private


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Skating on the ponds and Serpentine--The Ring--Many notices
     thereof--Fireworks in the Park--Bad roads therein, and accidents
     caused thereby--Regulations in the time of Queen Anne--Making the
     drive--Riding in the Park.

Soon after the opening of the Park to the public, the water therein was
utilized, during a hard frost, for skating, as Pepys tells us in his
diary: “Dec. 8th, 1662. Then into the Parke to see them slide with their
skeates, which is very pretty. Dec. 15th. Up and to my Lord’s, and
thence to the Duke,[28] and followed him into the Parke, where, though
the ice was broken and dangerous, yet he would go slide upon his scates,
which I did not like, but he slides very well.”

This must have been, in all probability, on one of the pools in the
park--as it was not till 1730 that Queen Caroline, wife of George II.,
began to make “the Serpentine,” as the lake in Hyde Park is called.
After that was finished, and a good hard frost came, so that it was
frozen hard, it was the resort of the few of the upper classes who could
skate. I do not say it was reserved for them, but in those days there
were no cheap omnibuses from Whitechapel, and London was but a very
small portion of its present overgrown bulk. At all events, in the last
century, people could skate without overcrowding, or annoyance from
bands of roughs, such as obtain at the present day, as is well shown in
the accompanying illustration of “WINTER AMUSEMENT, a view in Hyde Park,
from the Sluice at the East End, 1787.” Royalty, in the person of
George, Prince of Wales, did not object to disport itself on the lake,
and not being overcrowded, we never hear of the ice breaking, or lives
being lost until 1794, when a building was erected on the site of the
present Receiving House of the Royal Humane Society, wherein those
suffering from injuries or immersion could be attended to.

But the chief use of the Park as a place of fashionable relaxation was
driving within its precincts, and especially in the “Ring,” a small
enclosure, which is shown in the 1747 map, just where is the letter “A”
in “Park.” The practice seems to have obtained as soon as the Park was
thrown open to the public, and we have already seen how, in the
Commonwealth time, a charge was made for the entrance both of carriages
and horses. On May Day, however, was the finest show. Possibly that
then, as now, the coaches were renovated, and the horses had new
harness. We learn something of this in a very serious tract, published
in 1655, with a very long title, a portion of which is: _A serious
Letter sent by a Private Christian to the Lady Consideration, the first
day of May, 1655_, which commences thus:--

“Lady, I am informed fine Mrs. _Dust_, Madam _Spot_, and my Lady
_Paint_, are to meet at _Hide-Park_ this afternoon; much of pride will
be there: if you will please to take an Hackney, I shall wait upon your
Honour in a private way: But, pray, let us not be seen among the foolish
ones, that ride round, round,

[Illustration: WINTER AMUSEMENT, 1787.

Page 50.

wheeling of their coaches about and about, laying of the naked breast,
neck and shoulders over the boot, with a Lemon and a Fan, shaking it at
young Mrs. _Poppet_, crying, _Madam your humble servant, your very
humble servant_, while some are doing worse. Young Sir _William Spruce_,
_Mounseir Flash_, and the Lord _Gallant_, will be all on horseback,”

But the gossiping pages of Pepys furnish us with a good view of Hyde
Park, and I have, therefore, selected some quotations as illustrative.

“April 30, 1661. I am sorry that I am not at London, to be at Hide-Parke
to-morrow, among the great gallants and ladies, which will be very fine.

“May 7, 1662. Thence to Paul’s Church Yard; where seeing my Ladys
Sandwich and Carteret, and my wife (who, this day, made a visit for the
first time to my Lady Carteret) come by coach, and going to Hide-Parke,
I was resolved to follow them; and so went to Mrs. Turner’s: and thence
found her out at the Theatre; where I saw the last act of the ‘Knight of
the burning Pestle,’ which pleased me not at all. And so, after the play
done, she and The. Turner and Mrs. Lucin and I, in her coach to the
Parke; and there found them out, and spoke to them; and observed many
fine ladies, and staid till all were gone almost.

“April 4, 1663. After dinner to Hide Parke: my aunt, Mrs. Wight and I in
one coach, and all the rest of the women in Mr. Turner’s.... At the
Parke was the King, and in another coach my Lady Castlemaine, they
greeting one another at every tour.[29]

“April 18, 1664. To Hide Parke, where I had not been since last year;
where I saw the King with his periwigg, but not altered at all; and my
Lady Castlemaine in a coach by herself, in yellow satin and a pinner on;
and many brave persons. And myself being in a hackney and full of
people, was ashamed to be seen by the world, many of them knowing me.

“April 22, 1664. I home, and by coach to Mrs. Turner’s and there got
something to eat, and thence, after reading part of a good play, Mrs.
The., my wife and I, in their coach to Hide Parke, where great plenty of
gallants, and pleasant it was, only for the dust. Here I saw Mrs. Bendy,
my Lady Spillman’s faire daughter that was, who continues yet very
handsome. Many others I saw with great content, and so home.

“March 19, 1665. Mr. Povy and I in his coach to Hyde Park, being the
first day of the tour there. Where many brave ladies; among others,
Castlemaine lay impudently upon her back, in her coach, asleep, with her
mouth open.

“April 24, 1665. So by coach with my Wife and Mercer to the Parke; but
the King being there, and I, now-a-days being doubtfull of being seen in
any pleasure, did part from the tour, and away out of the Parke to
Knightsbridge, and there eat and drank in the coach, and so home.

“April 21, 1666. Thence with my Lord Brouncker in his coach to Hide
Parke, the first time I have been there this year. There the King was;
but I was sorry to see my Lady Castlemaine, for the mourning forceing
all the ladies to go in black, with their hair plain and without any
spots, I find her to be a much more ordinary woman than ever I durst
have thought she was; and, indeed, is not so pretty as Mrs. Stewart,
whom I saw there also.

“May 1, 1667. Thence Sir W. Pen and I in his coach, Tiburne way, into
the Park, where a horrid dust, and number of coaches, without pleasure,
or order. That which we, and almost all went for, was to see my Lady
Newcastle; which we could not, she being followed and crowded upon by
coaches all the way she went, so that nobody could come near her: only I
could see she was in a large black coach, adorned with silver instead of
gold, and so white curtains, and everything black and white, and herself
in her Cap. But that which I did see, and wonder at with reason, was to
find Peg Pew in a new coach, with only her husband’s pretty sister with
her, both patched and very fine, and in much the finest coach in the
park, and I think that ever I did see one or other, for neatness and
richness in gold and everything that is noble. My Lady Castlemaine, the
King, My Lord St. Alban’s, Mr. Jermyn, have not so neat a coach that
ever I saw. And, Lord! to have them have this, and nothing else that is
correspondent, is, to me, one of the most ridiculous sights that ever I
did see, though her present dress was well enough; but to live in the
condition they do at home, and be abroad in this coach astonishes me.

“March 27, 1668. To the Exchange a turn or two, only to show myself, and
then home to dinner, where my wife and I had a small squabble, but I
first this day tried the effect of my silence, and not provoking her
when she is in an ill-humour, and do find it very good, for it prevents
its coming to that height on both sides, which used to exceed what was
fit between us. So she became calm, by and by, and fond, and so took
coach to Hide Park, where many Coaches, but the dust so great that it
was troublesome.

“March 31, 1668. So took up my wife and Deb., and to the Park, where,
being in a hackney, and they undressed, was ashamed to go into the tour,
but went round the Park, and so, with pleasure, home.

“July 10, 1668. Thence in the evening, with my people in a glass
hackney-coach to the park, but was ashamed to be seen. So to the lodge,
and drank milk, and so home.”

But it was not for long that his pride was to be thus hurt, for he
started a coach of his own, which came home on the 28th Nov., 1668, and
which must have been a very gorgeous turn-out, if we can believe a
description of it in a pamphlet called _Plain Truth, or a Private
Discourse between_ _P_(epys) _and_ _H_(arbord). “There is one thing more
you must be mightily sorry for with all speed. Your presumption in your
coach, in which you daily ride, as if you had been son and heir to the
great Emperor Neptune, or as if you had been infallibly to have
succeeded him in his government of the Ocean, all which was presumption
in the highest degree. First, you had upon the fore part of your
Chariot, tempestuous waves and wrecks of ships; on your left hand, forts
and great guns, and ships a fighting; on your right hand was a fair
harbour and galleys riding, with their flags and pennants spread, kindly
saluting each other, just like P(epys) and H(ewer). Behind it were high
curled waves and ships a sinking, and here and there an appearance of
some bits of land.”

Now he could ride in the Park with pleasure, as he notes, “March 18,
1669. So my wife and I to Dancre’s to see the pictures; and thence to
Hyde Park, the first time we were there this year, or ever in our own
coach, when with mighty pride rode up and down, and many coaches there;
and I thought our horses and coach as pretty as any there, and observed
to be so by others.”

But this coach evidently was not grand enough for him, for we read:
“April 30, 1669. This done, I to my coachmaker’s, and there vexed to see
nothing yet done to my coach, at three in the afternoon; but I set it in
doing, and stood by it till eight at night, and saw the painter varnish
it, which is pretty to see how every doing it over, do make it more and
more yellow: and it dries as fast in the sun as it can be laid on
almost; and most coaches are, now-a-days, done so, and it is very pretty
when laid on well, and not too pale, as some are, even to show the

Of course he must needs show this off at once, and on May Day, he duly
made his appearance in the Park. “At noon, home to dinner, and there
find my wife extraordinary fine, with her flowered tabby gown that she
made two years ago, now laced exceeding pretty; and, indeed, was fine
all over; and mighty earnest to go, though the day was very lowering;
and she would have me put on my fine suit, which I did. And so, anon, we
went alone through the town with our new liveries of serge, and the
horses’ manes and tails tied with red ribbons, and the standards gilt
with varnish, and all clean, and green reines, that people did mightily
look upon us; and the truth is, I did not see any coach more pretty,
though more gay, than our’s all the day ... the day being unpleasing,
though the Park full of Coaches, but dusty, and windy, and cold, and now
and then, a little dribbling of rain; and, what made it worse, there
were so many hackney coaches, as spoiled the sight of the gentlemen’s;
and so we had little pleasure. But here was W. Batelier and his sister
in a borrowed coach by themselves, and I took them and we to the lodge:
and, at the door, did give them a syllabub and other things, cost me
12_s._, and pretty merry.”

Next day, he went again. “After dinner, got my wife to read, and then by
coach, she and I, to the Park, and there spent the evening with much
pleasure, it proving clear after a little shower, and we mighty fine, as
yesterday, and people mightily pleased with our Coach, as I perceived;
but I had not on my fine suit, being really afraid to wear it, it being
so fine with the gold lace, though not gay.”

But he was destined to undergo the humiliation of hearing his friends’
criticisms on his new-born finery. “May 10th, 1669. Thence walked a
little with Creed, who tells me he hears how fine my horses and coach
are, and advises me to avoid being noted for it, which I was vexed to
hear taken notice of, being what I feared: and Povy told me of my gold
laced sleeves in the park yesterday, which vexed me also, so as to
resolve never to appear in Court with them, but presently to have them
taken off, as it is fit I should, and so called at my tailor’s for that

One more quotation, to show that fireworks were exhibited in the Park,
and I have done with Pepys. “May 29th, 1669. Home to dinner, and then
with my wife to Hyde Park, where all the evening; great store of
company, and great preparations by the Prince of Tuscany to celebrate
the night with fireworks, for the King’s birthday.”

From that time to the present the Park has always been a fashionable
drive, not always attended with safety to its frequenters: witness two
accidents there in 1739. _The London Daily Post_, of Sept. 19, 1739,
says: “On Monday evening last, as their Royal Highnesses the four
Princesses [daughters of George II.] were coming to town from
Kensington, a single Horse Chaise, with a Gentleman and his daughter in
it, drove against the leading Coach in Hyde Park; the Chaise at length
overturned, and the Horse falling under the Horses of the leading Coach,
put them into such confusion, that four of them came down, and trampled
for some time on the Horse and Chaise; the Gentleman and his daughter
were much hurt, and the Postillion to the leading Coach had his Thigh
broke by his fall; the Princesses were extreamly frightened, and cry’d
out for Help. Several Persons came up to their Assistance; they returned
to Kensington and were blooded: the Postillion is attended by the King’s

Closely following on this was another accident, as we read in _The
Weekly Miscellany_ of Oct. 20, 1739. “Sunday night last his Grace the
Duke of Grafton, coming from Kensington, and ordering his Coachman to
drive to the New Gate in Hyde Park, in order to make some Visits towards
Grosvenor Square, the Chariot, through the Darkness of the Night, was
overset in driving along the Road, and, falling into a large, deep Pit,
the Duke slipt his Collar bone, and the Coachman broke his Leg, which
was splintered in many Places: and on Monday, the Limb was taken off by
Amputation. One of his Grace’s Footmen was, also, much hurt.”

Even in Queen Anne’s reign it was found necessary to issue some rules
and directions (July 1, 1712) “For the better keeping Hyde Park in good
Order.” The gatekeepers were to be always on duty, and not to sell ale,
brandy, or other liquors. No one should leap over the ditches or fences,
or break the latter down. “No person to ride over the grass on the South
side of the Gravelled Coach Road ... excepting Henry Wise, who is
permitted to pass cross that Part of the Park leading from the Door in
the Park Wall, next his Plantation.” No grooms nor others were to ride
over the banks, or slopes, of any pond. No stage coach, hackney coach,
chaise with one horse, cart, waggon, nor funeral should pass through the
Park, and no one cut or lop any of the trees.

Henri Misson came over to England in the reign of James II., and
published his experiences, which were translated by John Ozell, in 1719.
Speaking of Hyde Park, he says, “The King has a Park so call’d at the
end of one of the suburbs of _London_. Here the People of Fashion take
the Diversion of the Ring: In a pretty high place, which lies very open,
they have surrounded a Circumference of two or three hundred Paces
Diameter with a sorry kind of Ballustrade, or rather with Poles plac’d
upon Stakes, but three Foot from the ground; and the Coaches drive
round and round this; when they have turn’d for some Time round one Way,
they face about and turn t’other; So rowls the World.”

On the completion of the Serpentine, and the consequent road on its
north bank, the cramped and confined Ring went out of fashion, as we
learn in No. 56 of _The London Spy Revived_, December 6, 1736. “The Ring
in Hyde Park being quite disused by the Quality and Gentry, we hear that
the ground will be taken in for enlarging the Royal Gardens at
Kensington in the next Spring.” But this was probably either only a
rumour, or else Queen Caroline was better advised. The old name,
however, still clung to the new road, and the carriage ride round the
Park is still indifferently called the Ring or the Drive.

In the Library of the British Museum are two copies of an old ballad
(circa 1670-5) entitled “News from _Hide-Park_,”[30] a portion of which
gives a graphic description of the Park at that time.

    “One Evening, a little before it was dark,
       Sing tan tara rara tantivee,
     I called for my Gelding and rid to _Hide-Parke_
       On tan tara rara tantivee:
     It was in the merry Month of _May_,
     When Meadows and Fields were gaudy and gay,
     And Flowers apparell’d as bright as the day,
       _I got upon my tantivee_.

    “The _Park_ shone brighter than the Skyes,
       Sing tan tara rara tantivee:
     With jewels and gold, and Ladies’ eyes,
       That sparkled and cry’d come see me:
     Of all parts of _England_, _Hide-park_ hath the name,
     For Coaches and Horses, and Persons of fame,
     It looked at first sight, like a field full of flame,
       _Which made me ride up tan-tivee_.

    “There hath not been seen such a sight since _Adam’s_
       For Perriwig, Ribbon and Feather,
     Hide-park may be term’d the Market of _Madams_,
       Or _Lady-Fair_, chuse you whether;
     Their gowns were a yard too long for their legs,
     They shew’d like the Rainbow cut into rags,
     A Garden of Flowers, or a Navy of Flags,
       _When they all did mingle together_.

    “We talke away time until it grew dark,
       The place did begin to grow privee;
     The Gallants began to draw out of the Park:
       Their horses did gallop tantivee,
     But, finding my courage a little to come,
     I sent my bay Gelding away by my Groom,
     And proffered my service to wait on her home.
       _In her coach we went both tantivee._”


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Rotten Row, the King’s Old Road--The New King’s Road made and
     lighted--The Allied Sovereigns in the Park--The Park after the
     Peninsular War--The Duke of Wellington in the Park--The Queen and
     Royal Family in the Park.

If we look at the old map of Hyde Park, we shall find that what is now
called _Rotten Row_ was then termed _The King’s Old Road_ and _The
King’s New Road_, whence the generally accepted derivation of _Rotten
Row_, from _Route du Roi_. Soon after the accession of William III., and
his purchase of Kensington Palace, his route from St. James’s Palace to
his residence lay through the Green Park and the King’s Road in Hyde
Park, and, finding it dark at night, he had it lit by three hundred
lamps, which, for the time, rendered it a fairyland of brilliancy; so
much so, that Thoresby, in his diary (June 15, 1712), “could not but
observe that all the way, quite through Hyde Park to the Queen’s Palace
at Kensington, has lanterns for illuminating the road in the dark
nights, for the Coaches.”

As we see, the New King’s Road was a trifle more direct than the old
one, and skirted the Park. It was finished in 1737, as we find in _The
London Spy Revived_ (No. 183, September 23, 1737). “The King’s Road in
Hyde Park is almost gravell’d and finished, and the Lamp Posts are fixed
up; it will soon be open’d, and the old Road level’d with the Park.”
The original intention was to do so, returf it, and once again make it a
portion of the Park, but it was never carried out.

It would be absurd to chronicle even a portion of the people who have
appeared in the Row and Ring: the list would simply consist of every
person of note that lived in or visited London. It was used as a place
for exercise and social intercourse, as we see in the two accompanying
illustrations of the Row in 1793.

Another social group, date 1834, may also be given, but although they
were well-known dandies of their day, they are unknown now, and their
names are not worth recapitulating.

But never-to-be-forgotten visitors were the Allied Sovereigns, the
Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia, who were present at a grand
review of all the regular troops, and most of the volunteers who resided
in or near the metropolis, in Hyde Park on 20th June, 1814. With them
were their brilliant staffs, while the Prince Regent, attended by the
Duke of York, etc., acted as host to his Royal and Imperial guests.

Captain Gronow, in his _Anecdotes and Reminiscences_,[31] gives the
following description of “Hyde Park after the Peninsular War. That
extensive district of park land, the entrances of which are in
Piccadilly and Oxford Street, was far more rural in appearance in 1815
than at the present day. Under the trees cows and deer were grazing; the
paths were fewer, and none told of that perpetual tread of human feet
which now destroys all idea of

[Illustration: THE ROW, 1793.

Page 62.

[Illustration: THE ROW, 1793.

Page 62.

[Illustration: THE ROW, 1814. THE ALLIED SOVEREIGNS.

Page 62.

[Illustration: THE ROW, 1834.

Page 62.

country charms and illusions. As you gazed from an eminence, no rows of
monotonous houses reminded you of the vicinity of a large city, and the
atmosphere of Hyde Park was then much more like what God has made it,
than the hazy, gray, coal-darkened half twilight of the London of
to-day. The company, which then congregated daily about five, was
composed of dandies and women in the best society, the men mounted on
such horses as England alone then could produce. The dandy’s dress
consisted of a blue coat with brass buttons, leather breeches, and top
boots; and it was the fashion to wear a deep, stiff, white cravat, which
prevented you from seeing your boots while standing. All the world
watched Brummell to imitate him, and order their clothes of the
tradesman who dressed that sublime dandy. One day, a youthful beau
approached Brummell, and said, ‘Permit me to ask you where you get your
blacking?’ ‘Ah!’ replied Brummell, gazing complacently at his boots, ‘my
blacking positively ruins me. I will tell you in confidence; it is made
with the finest champagne!’

“Many of the ladies used to drive into the Park in a carriage called a
_vis-à-vis_, which held only two people. The hammer-cloth, rich in
heraldic designs, the powdered footmen in smart liveries, and a coachman
who assumed all the gravity and appearance of a wigged archbishop, were
indispensable. The equipages were, generally, much more gorgeous than at
a later period, when democracy invaded the parks, and introduced what
may be termed a ‘Brummagem society,’ with shabby-genteel carriages and
servants. The carriage company consisted of the most celebrated
beauties, amongst whom were remarked the Duchesses of Rutland, Argyle,
Gordon, and Bedford, Ladies Cowper, Foley, Heathcote, Louisa Lambton,
Hertford and Mountjoy. The most conspicuous horsemen were the Prince
Regent (accompanied by Sir Benjamin Bloomfield); the Duke of York, and
his old friend Warwick Lake; the Duke of Dorset, on his white horse; the
Marquis of Anglesea and his lovely daughters; Lord Harrowby and the
Ladies Ryder; the Earl of Sefton and the Ladies Molyneux; and the
eccentric Earl of Morton on his long-tailed grey. In those days, ‘pretty
horsebreakers’ would not have dared to show themselves in Hyde Park; nor
did you see any of the lower, or middle classes of London intruding
themselves in regions which, with a sort of tacit understanding, were
then given up, exclusively, to persons of rank and fashion.”

But there was one constant visitor well within the memory of man,
belonging both to 1814 and the Park, which he used almost daily until
his death. I mean the first Duke of Wellington, with whose
sharply-defined features, blue frock coat, and white trousers, every
Londoner was familiar.

The Queen, too, until the great grief of her life fell upon her, was a
pretty constant visitor to the Park--in her younger days on horseback;
and who has not seen the Princess of Wales and her children there?
Although, as Captain Gronow justly observes, the frequenters of the Park
are not so aristocratic as they used to be, and society generally is
much more mixed.


Page 64.

[Illustration: A SPRING IN THE PARK, 1794.

Page 65.

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     The springs in Hyde Park--Used as water supply for
     Westminster--Horses in the Park--The Westbourne--Making the
     Serpentine--The “Naumachia” thereon--Satires about it--The Jubilee

Hyde Park has several springs of water, one of which was said to have
been slightly mineral. The one shown in this illustration still exists,
and the author of “The Morning Walk” thus eulogizes one:--

    “But let my footsteps first pursue their course
     To yon clear fountain, hid in shady grove,
     And quaff the clear salubrious crystal brook,
     Emblem of purity! when innocence
     Partakes, and all the wakened sense restores.
     O blessed _Jordan_! at thy limpid stream,
     Gladly I mingle with the cheerful throng,
     And drink the cup, and then renew my walk,
     With strengthen’d nerves, down the delightful shade.”

Some of these springs were utilized for the supply of water outside the
Park--but the larger quantity came from the Westbourne. Still, in 1620,
the Dean and Chapter of Westminster had permission given them to use the
water of four springs in Hyde Park for their benefit, and letters patent
were granted to “Thomas Day, Gent. of Chelsea, to enable him to take the
water from Hyde Park to the City of Westminster.” This, I take it, meant
to utilize the Westbourne, as the Dean and Chapter had the springs: but
both their privileges were annulled by the King’s Bench, as it was
alleged that the ponds in the Park were, by these means, so drained that
there was not enough water left for the wants of the King’s deer.

In the time of James I. there were eleven pools in the Park, and a
glance at Roque’s map of 1747 will show that many were then still
remaining; indeed, in the accompanying illustration of the Bathing House
in 1794, we see a horse drinking at one of them. By this, we see that
horses were turned out to grass in the Park. In 1751, grooms used to
exercise their horses there, as did also a riding master named Faubert.

    “See, too, the jolly courser, with his groom,
     Expert, not like to him who _Persia’s_ crown
     Obtained, yet skill’d with upright crest and arm,
     Compacted knee, to give the rein and bitt
     Their motion due, his flight retarding not.
     ---- Next _Faubert_ view with graces of menage,
     And troops of horse in strictest motion wheel.”

From the heights of Hampstead spring several small streams, such as the
Fleet, the Brent, and the West Bourne, probably so called to distinguish
it from St. Mary le bourne, which was further east. Roque’s map shows
its position with regard to the Serpentine, but, before that misnamed
lake was made, it ran right through the Park from north to south,
leaving the Park about Albert Gate, where was a bridge, from which
Knightsbridge takes its name. Then it flowed by what are now William
Street, Lowndes Square, and Chesham Street, falling into the Thames near

Queen Caroline, wife to George II., conceived the idea of utilizing this
little stream, and making it into a lake, and, as it was supposed that
she was

[Illustration: HORSES IN THE PARK, 1794.

Page 66.

expending her own money on this work, no objection was raised to her so
doing, but it is said that at her death she left the King to pay a sum
of no less than £20,000 on account of it. We learn when it was commenced
from _Read’s Weekly Journal, or British Gazetteer_, Saturday, September
26th, 1730. “Next Monday, they begin upon the Serpentine River, and
Royal Mansion in Hide-Park: Mr. Ripley is to build the House, and Mr.
Jepherson to make the River under the Directions of Charles Withers,
Esq^{re}.” This latter gentleman, who was Surveyor General of Woods and
Forests, died shortly before the Serpentine was finished, probably in
1733, when his successor was appointed; and in May, 1731, it was deep
enough, in part, to allow two small yachts upon it. Its cost was
estimated at £6000--but a portion of that (£2500) had to go as
compensation to the Chelsea Water Works Company, who held a 99 years’
lease, granted to one Thomas Haines, in 1663, whereby, on annual payment
of 6_s._ 8_d._, he had command of all the springs and conduits in the

The water supply for the Serpentine came from the Westbourne, until, in
the course of time, owing to the extension of building, the houses
around draining into it, its water became too foul for the purpose, and,
in 1834, it was cut off, and connected with the sewer in the Bayswater
Road; and the supply thus lost is made good by the Chelsea Water Works,
who pump in water at the Kensington Gardens end, and the overflow at the
very pretty Dell forms a striking feature in the landscape gardening of
the Park. Formerly, as we see in Roque’s map, the overflow was conducted
into a pool, which was bridged over by the King’s Old Road.

The Serpentine was not utilized for any purpose until August 1st, 1814,
when a national rejoicing called “The Jubilee” was held in the Park, to
celebrate the conclusion of peace with France, and the celebration of
the centenary of the accession of George I. There were to be
illuminations, fireworks, and balloon ascents in St. James’s and the
Green Parks, and in Hyde Park a fair, and a “Naumachia,” or sea-fight,
which was somewhat appropriate, as the famous Battle of the Nile was
fought on August 1st, 1798.

The mimic three-deckers and frigates were necessarily small, and they
were made out of ships’ barges at Woolwich, and great was the chaff made
about this “liliputian navy.” Here are some skits thereon:--

    “_John Bull_, the other day, in pensive mood,
     Near to the Serpentine Flotilla stood;
     His hands were thrust into his emptied pockets,
     And much of ships he muttered, and of rockets;
     Of silly Fêtes--and Jubilees unthrifty--
     And babies overgrown, of _two and fifty_;[32]
     I guess’d the train of thought which then possess’d him,
     And deem’d th’ occasion fit, and thus address’d him:

    “‘Be generous to a fallen foe,
       With gratulations meet,
     On Elba’s _Emperor_ bestow
       Thy Liliputian fleet:

    “‘For, with his Island’s narrow bounds,
       That Navy might agree,
     Which, laugh’d at daily here--redounds
       In ridicule to thee.’

    “Says John, ‘Right readily I’ll part
       With these, and all the gay things,
     But it would break the R----’s heart
       To take away his play things.’”

Or take the two following distiches:--

    “A simple Angler, throwing flies for trout,
     Hauled the main mast, and lugg’d a First Rate out.

    “A crow in his _fright_, flying over the Fleet,
     Dropped something, that covered it all, like a sheet.”

In contemporary accounts, the “Naumachia” was generally very summarily
dismissed, and the following is, perhaps, one of the best of them.

“Between eight and nine o’clock, the Grand Sea Fight took place on the
Serpentine River, where ships of the line, in miniature, manœuvred
and engaged, and the Battle of the Nile was represented in little. Of
this mock naval engagement on the great Serpentine Ocean, it would be
extremely difficult to give any adequate description. It is, perhaps,
sufficient to observe that it was about on a par with spectacles of a
similar nature, which have been frequently exhibited at the Theatres....
We were as heartily glad when the cockle-shell fight was over, as we had
been tired of waiting for it. We were afraid, at one time, whether it
would have neither beginning nor end. Indeed, there had been a wretched
skirmish between four and five in the afternoon, between an American and
an English frigate,[33] at the conclusion of which, the English colours
were triumphantly hoisted on the rebel Yankee.... At a signal given, the
fireworks in the Green Park were let off, and four of the little fleet
in the Serpentine were set on fire. The Swans screamed, and fluttered
round the affrighted lake.”

Such an opportunity for his satirical pen could not be missed by C. F.
Lawler, the then _pseudo_ Peter Pindar, and he wrote thereon:
“Liliputian Navy!!! The R----t’s Fleet, or John Bull at the
Serpentine.”--“The P----e’s Jubilee.” “The R----l Showman.” “The R----l
Fair, or Grande Galante Show.” And, on the sale of the Temple of
Concord, which had been erected in the Green Park: “The Temple knock’d
down: or R----l Auction. The last lay of the Jubilee.” They are mostly
scurrilous and spiteful, but from the first of them I take the

    “Now to Hyde Park the crowds repair,
     To mark the wonders of the fair;
     To view the long extended line,
     The glory of the Serpentine.

    “Now sounds the Cannon, near and far,
     The signal for the naval war,
     The cockle fleet their flounder sails
     Now spread to catch the whisp’ring gales.

    “Now meet the rival ships; now rave
    The echoing thunders o’er the wave;
    Within the banks the eels retire,
    To shun the fury of the fire.

    “The startled pike lifts up his head,
     Curious, tho’ paralyz’d with dread;
     Snatches a momentary peep,
     Then dives below the nether deep.

    “And all the realm of fish--roach, dace,
     Perch, minnow, chub, and tench, and plaice,
     Far from the scene of havoc fly,
     And seek the stream’s extremity.

    “Whisking his tail a flying eel
     Struck a three decker’s cockle’s keel
     (The vessel was the navy’s boast,
     And lay at anchor near the coast).

    “Ungovernable from the stroke,
     Quick from her _netting-pin_ she broke;
     With rude concussion struck the shore,
     Then bilged, and sank, to ride no more.

    “Boats from the cockle-shells at hand
     Were quickly lower’d down and mann’d,
     The gallant mariners to save--
     To snatch them from a wat’ry grave.

    “Scar’d at a spectacle so shocking,
     Each ’prentice boy doff’d shoe and stocking,
     Wading knee-deep, with shorten’d breath,
     To snatch the struggling tars from death.

    “An angler threw his fishing-line
     Into the ruffled Serpentine;
     Hook’d up the ship with no small pain,
     And dragg’d her from the mimic main.

    “See the tri-coloured cockles run,
     The gaping crowd enjoy the fun;
     Some still maintain a running fight
     Some strike, some sink to endless night!

    “‘Lord! ’twas a glorious fight,’ says Dick;
     ‘Monsieur at last got devilish sick!’
     ‘Then ’twas a real fight,’ cry’d Sam;
     ‘Why, lad, I thought it all a sham!’

    “‘Real! no, no!’ says Jack, ‘you fool!
     ’Twas all a bit of _ridicule_;
     To show us lubbers, I’ve a notion,
     How things are done upon the ocean.’”

There was another satirical poem on this Naumachia, entitled “AN
EXTRAORDINARY GAZETTE, containing dispatches from ADMIRAL SQUIB, giving
a detailed account of A GREAT NAVAL VICTORY obtained over the combined
fleets of _France_ and _America_, in the GREAT SERPENTINE SEA, on the
1st August, 1814,”--a small portion of which I transcribe.

    “Now since, as you will understand,
     This mighty _Sea_ is quite inland,
     It to their Lordships will appear
     Strange, how the d----l we got here.

           *       *       *       *       *

     A council call’d, some doubts were made,
     Whether the ships could be convey’d;
     Which I, who knew my men, dispell’d,
     And every thought of failure quell’d.

     Then quickly issued my command
     The men should take them _overland_;
     And such as were too large to drag on,
     Should be convey’d upon a _waggon_.
     The plan was hail’d with rapt’rous glee,
     With _double grog_, and _three times three_.

       “Our topmasts struck--the rigging stow’d--
     The guns were sent off on the road--
     And, as for _shot_ and _Congreve rockets_,
     _The sailors took them in their pockets_.
     All hands were now put to the oar,
     To tow the _men-of-war_ ashore;
     Which done--it cost but little pains--
     The great exertion yet remains,
     To lift their vast and pond’rous keels,
     And _ship_ them safely on the _wheels_;
     Which, after much fatigue, at length
     Was done by dint of manual strength.
     All this achiev’d, they mov’d away
     By help of _horse-artillery_.[34]
     In future times ’twill scarce be creded
     How well this novel plan succeeded.
     And oh! the sight was worth a treasure,
     And would have given their Lordships pleasure,
     To see with what determined zeal
     The sailors strove for the public weal.
     Some took a _bowsprit_--some a _mast_--
     Some held a _hull_ by _handspikes_ fast;
     While others, not less glad than able,
     Lash’d it safely with a _cable_.
     But one, than all the rest much bolder,
     Carried a _fire-ship_ on his _shoulder_.
     The whole arriving on the strand,
     Without an accident on land,
     Our fetter’d barks were soon untied,
     And launch’d into the _ocean_ wide;
     With masts and rigging re-equipp’d,
     And guns and ammunition shipp’d;
     We now were fit to put to sea,
     And meet the dastard enemy.
     And for long time we sail’d about,
     To find the slinking _Frenchmen_ out;
     Until we met near _Rotten_ shore,
     As I have said herein before.”

The accompanying illustration is from a satirical

[Illustration: A MAN OF WAR, 1814.

Page 73.

print by George Cruikshank, _re_ the Jubilee, called “The Modern Don
Quixote, or the Fire King.”

There were pictorial caricatures of this Naumachia, of course, but,
judging from two contemporary prints of it in the Crace collection
(Port. ix. 96, 97), in the British Museum, it must have been a very
pretty sight, only, naturally, on a very small scale.

Another attraction in Hyde Park, at this Jubilee, was a fair, with its
shows by Richardson, Reede, Saunders, and Gingel;--also Polito’s wild
beasts were on exhibition. There were drinking booths, with taking
signs, such as “The Duke of Wellington,” “The Vetteran Prince Blucher,”
“The Prince Regent,” etc.; dancing, singing and refreshment booths,
and--being warm weather--eating and drinking could be indulged in in the
open air. This fair was kept up after the Jubilee with the additional
attractions of _E.O. tables_--_black and white cocks_--_dice tables_,
and a game with dice called _under and over seven_: nor did the police
even make a show of stopping this gambling. There were donkey racing,
jumping in sacks, running for smocks, etc., and there were printing
presses, where, on payment, people had the privilege of themselves
pulling off a typographical _souvenir_ of the fair. Nay, it was even
contemplated to print a _Jubilee Fair Journal_.

It was anticipated that this fair would last until the 12th, and so it
possibly might have done, had it been conducted with anything like
decency and order; but, as these were conspicuously absent, Lord
Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, ordered it to be
closed on the night of Saturday the 6th. This order the booth keepers
petitioned against, on the plea that, on the strength of its being open
for a longer time, they had laid in a large stock of provisions, liquor,
toys, etc., which would be thrown upon their hands. Lord Sidmouth’s
order not being enforced, they kept on, so that it was found necessary
to issue another--which was acted on--and the fair came to an end on the
night of the 11th.

A contemporary newspaper, speaking of it, says: “Never, within the
memory of man, has there been witnessed such scenes of drunkenness and
dissipation as these fooleries have given rise to, and the misery they
have brought upon thousands is extreme. A report from the pawnbrokers
would be an awful lesson to governments, how they encourage such riot.
Since the delirium, from the example of the highest quarter, began, the
pawnbrokers have more than trebled their businesses; clothes, furniture,
and, worst of all, _tools_, have been sacrificed for the sake of
momentary enjoyment; industry of every kind has been interrupted, and
many hundreds of starving families will long have to remember the _æra_
of the Park Fêtes.”

A notice of this Jubilee may well close with an “Epigram on the P----
R----’s expressing a wish for the continuance of the Fair in Hyde Park.

    “The R----, we have oft been told,
     Prefers the _Fair_ when _stout_ and _old_;
     Now, here we’ve cause to think him wrong,
     For liking _any Fair too long_.”

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Coronation of George IV.--Boat-racing on the
     Serpentine--Illumination of the Park--Fireworks--Coronation of
     Queen Victoria--Fair in the Park--Fireworks in Hyde Park, at “Peace
     rejoicing,” May, 1856.

The next jollification in Hyde Park was on July 19, 1821, at the
Coronation of George the Magnificent. According to _The Morning
Chronicle_ of that date, “The preparations for the amusements of the
populace are extensive. Boats were conveyed to the Serpentine River, and
the arrangements for the fireworks and other diversions are on the most
extensive and magnificent scale. It is expected that a sort of
Coronation Fair will be established in Hyde Park, and that oxen and
sheep will be roasted whole. Many hogsheads of Ale and Porter have been
transported thither for distribution.”

In the next day’s number the same journal gives the following

“On the slight view we had on Tuesday evening of the preparations making
in Hyde Park, we had no conception they were of such an extensive nature
as we found them to be yesterday. The machinery erected for letting the
fireworks off was on a larger scale than any thing of that kind which
has hitherto been produced in this country; the number of rockets for
explosion exceeded 3000. The workmen were most actively employed during
the day, to complete the work within the railing. It was placed on a
piece of ground on a height on the north side of the Serpentine River,
and the view from the river, on the south side of it, only prevented by
the scattered trees on the bank of the river, and they were illuminated
with Chinese lamps nearly to Hyde Park Corner. On the right and left of
the enclosure were the designs for the fireworks, and, in the centre,
were several marquees scattered, to about the number of 30, which had
the appearance of a camp. The back of the enclosure was completed by
transparencies; the centre one was Neptune on his car, drawn by
sea-horses, followed by the usual group of figures. Above that, in
another transparency, was the figure of Britannia, with an olive-leaf in
her hand.

“On the border of the river stands a small house, for the purpose of
containing the necessary articles to preserve persons from accident, who
venture to bathe in the river. This was fitted up for the purpose of
displaying some elegant devices in the way of illuminations. At the east
end of the River, near the Bridge, preparations were made for the
fireworks and illuminations. There were not less than 500 hampers of
lamps in the Park in the morning, and people busily employed in cleaning
and trimming them. The Park itself during the day had a most beautiful
appearance, which was assisted by the assemblage of several persons of
the first distinction; and, to enliven the scene, there were more than a
hundred wherries and barges on the river, some of them covered with
awnings. The novelty of the scene pleased, and we saw many families
alight from their carriages, and take boat. At one time there were not
less than 30 boats rowing up and down the river, filled by most
elegantly dressed ladies. The surface of the water was unruffled, the
sky was clear, and the sun shone most brilliantly, and its lustre was
not diminished by the beauty of Britannia’s daughters.

“The fireworks were of the most splendid description, the ample space of
ground allotted for the purpose enabled those who had the management of
this description of amusement to render it peculiarly gratifying to an
immense crowd of spectators.”

The description of this fête in _The Times_ of July 20th, 1821, is
somewhat more meagre, but it supplies some deficiencies in the

“The crowd moved forward to Hyde Park to witness a boat-race, which took
place, a little before two o’clock, on the Serpentine River. Upon this
occasion four boats started, and were obliged to double a standard,
erected at either extremity of the river, twice. The race was won by
about two lengths of the winner’s boat. The river was crowded with boats
filled with ladies and gentlemen regaling themselves upon the water; and
its banks lined with carriages and well dressed persons, who appeared to
derive much enjoyment from the scene before them. But what excited the
greatest share of attention from the spectators, was a splendid
triumphal car drawn by two elephants, one before the other, as large as
life, and caparisoned after the eastern manner, with a young woman,
dressed as a slave, seated on the back of each, and affecting to guide
the animals with an iron rod. The machine was constructed on a large
raft, and was towed by three or four boats, manned by watermen in blue

The Crace collection (Port. ix. 98) has a few small water-colour
drawings of this fête, but they are so sketchy as to be practically

At the Coronation of William IV. and Queen Adelaide, on September 8th,
1831, Hyde Park was only utilized for a display of fireworks, at which
many were more or less hurt by the falling rocket sticks; six so
seriously as to have to be taken to St. George’s Hospital.

In the Crace collection (Port. ix. 99) there is a very fair lithograph
of a bird’s-eye view of the fair in Hyde Park on the occasion of the
coronation of Queen Victoria, on June 28, 1838, and _The Morning
Chronicle_ of the following day has the best and fullest account of this
fair I can find; and, as it is so intimately connected with one of the
most joyful events in the reign of our good and beloved Queen, I may,
perhaps, be pardoned if I give it _in extenso_.

                        “THE FAIR IN HYDE PARK.

“Of all the scenes which we witnessed connected with the Coronation,
probably this was the most lively, and that in which there was the least
confusion, considering the mass of persons collected together. Our
readers are already aware that the fair was permitted to take place by
the Government, on the petition of the present holders of the show which
formerly belonged to the celebrated Richardson; and it was to their
care, together with that of Mr. Mallalieu, the Superintendent of Police,
that its general management was entrusted. In justice to those
gentlemen, we must say that the arrangements made for the accommodation
of the public were admirable, while they were carried out with the very
greatest success. The booths were arranged in a square form, and covered
a space of ground about 1400 feet long, and about 1000 feet broad.

They were arranged in regular rows, ample space being allowed between
them for the free passage of the people; and they consisted of every
variety of shape, while they were decked with flags of all colours and
nations. One portion of the fair was set apart exclusively for
gingerbread and fancy booths, while those rows by which these were
surrounded were appropriated to the use of showmen, and of persons who
dealt in the more substantial articles of refreshment. Of the latter
description, however, our readers would recognize many as regular
frequenters of such scenes; but, probably, the booth which attracted the
greatest attention, from its magnitude, was that erected by Williams,
the celebrated boiled beef-monger of the Old Bailey. This was pitched in
the broadest part of the fair, and immediately adjoining Richardson’s
show; and at the top of it was erected a gallery for the use of those
who were desirous of witnessing the fireworks in the evening, and to
which access was to be procured by payment of a small sum.

“While this person, and the no less celebrated Alger, the proprietor of
the Crown and Anchor, were astonishing the visitors with the enormous
extent of the accommodation which they could afford the public, others
set up claims of a character more agreeable to the age, in the
exceedingly tasty mode in which they had decorated their temporary
houses. Of these, that which struck us as most to be admired, was a
tent erected by a person named Bull, of Hackney, the interior of which,
decorated with fluted pillars of glazed calico, had a really beautiful
appearance. It would be useless, however, to attempt to particularize
every booth, for each held out its alluring attractions to the gaping
crowd with equal force, and each appeared to be sufficiently patronized
by the friends of its proprietor.

“Not a few, in addition to the solid attractions of eating and drinking,
held out others of a more ‘airy’ description, and in many it was
announced that a ‘grand ball’ would be held in the evening, ‘to commence
at six o’clock’; whilst, in others, bands of music were heard ‘in full
play,’ joining their sweet sounds to the melodious beating of gongs and
shoutings through the trumpets of the adjoining shows. In attractions of
this kind we need only say that the fair was, in most respects, fully
equal to any other at which we ever had the good fortune to be present,
whether at Greenwich, or Croydon, or in any other of the suburban or
metropolitan districts. Beef and ham, beer and wine, chickens and salad,
were all equally plentiful, and the taste of the most fastidious might
be pleased as to the quality or the quantity of the provisions provided
for him. In the pastry-cook’s booths, the usual variety of gingerbread
nuts and gilt cocks in breeches, and kings and queens were to be
procured; while, in some of them, the more refined luxury of ices was
advertised, an innovation upon the ancient style of refreshment which we
certainly had never expected to see introduced into the canvas shops of
the fair pastry-cooks.

“While these _marchands_ were holding out their various attractions to
the physical tastes of the assembled multitude, the showkeepers were not
less actively engaged in endeavouring to please the eye of those who
were willing to enjoy their buffooneries or their wonders. Fat boys and
living skeletons, Irish giants and Welsh dwarfs, children with two
heads, and animals without heads at all, were among the least of the
wonders to be seen: while the more rational exhibition of wild beasts,
joined with the mysterious wonders of the conjuror and the athletic
performances of tumblers, in calling forth expressions of surprise and
delight from the old, as well as from the young, who were induced to
contribute their pennies ‘to see the show.’

“Nor were these the only modes of procuring amusement which presented
themselves. On the Serpentine River a number of boats had been launched,
which had been procured from the Thames, and watermen were employed,
during the whole day, in rowing about those who were anxious to enjoy
the refreshing coolness of the water, after the turmoil and heat of the
fair. Ponies and donkeys were, in the outskirts of the fair, plentiful,
for the use of the young who were inclined for equestrian exercise,
while archery-grounds and throw-sticks held out their attractions to the
adepts in such practices, and roundabouts and swings were ready to
gratify the tastes of the adventurous. Kensington Gardens were, as
usual, open to the public, and not a few who were fearful of joining in
the crowd contented themselves here in viewing the gay scene from a
distance. Timorous, however, though they might be, of personal
inconvenience, they did not fail to enjoy the opportunities which were
afforded them, of looking into the book of fate; and we observed many of
the fairest parts of the creation busily engaged in deep and private
confabulations with those renowned seers, the gypsies.

“With regard to those persons who visited the fair, we must say we never
saw a more orderly body. From an early hour the visitors were flocking
in; but it was not until Her Majesty had gone to Westminster Abbey, that
the avenues approaching Hyde Park became crowded. Then, indeed, the
countless thousands of London appeared to be poured forth, and all
seemed to be bound for the same point of destination. Thousands who had
taken up their standing places at Hyde Park Corner, poured through the
gate; whilst many who had assumed positions at a greater distance from
the Parks, passed through the squares and through Grosvenor Gate. Every
avenue was soon filled, every booth was soon crammed full of persons
desirous of procuring refreshment and rest after the fatigue of standing
so long in the crowd to view the procession.

“These, however, were not the only persons who joined the throng. Every
cab, coach, or omnibus which had been left disengaged, appeared to be
driving to the same point, full of passengers. Fulham, Putney, Mile End,
and Brixton alike contributed their vehicles to carry the people to the
Parks, and thousands from the very extremities of the City were to be
seen flocking towards the fair. All seemed bent on the same object, that
of procuring amusement, and work seemed to have been suspended, as if by
common consent. While the east end thrust forth her less aristocratic
workmen, the west end was not altogether idle in furnishing its quota to
the throng, and we noticed many really elegantly dressed ladies and
gentlemen alight from their carriages to view the enlivening scene; and
many of them, who were, apparently, strangers to such exhibitions, were,
evidently, not a little amused at the grotesque imitations of those
amusements in which the aristocracy delight.

“Carriages of every description were admitted into the parks, and the
splendid carriage of an aristocrat was not unfrequently followed by the
tilted waggon of some remover of furniture, with its load of men, women
and children, who had come to ‘see the fun.’ All seemed, alike, bent on
amusement: all, alike, appeared to throw aside those restraints which
rank, or fashion, or station had placed upon them, and to enter fully
into the enjoyment of the pleasure of the busy scene in which they were
actors. The delightful locality of the fair, the bright sunbeams playing
upon the many-coloured tents, the joyous laughter of the people,
untouched by debauchery, and unseduced by the gross pleasures of the
appetite; the gay dresses of the women, all in their best, joined in
making the scene one which must live long in the recollection of those
who witnessed it. All appeared to remember that this was the day of the
Coronation of a Queen, so youthful, so beautiful, so pure, and all
appeared to be determined that no act of insubordination, or of disorder
on their part, should sully the bright opening of a reign so hopeful,
and from which so much happiness is to be expected.

“We have already said that the arrangements of the fair were excellent;
but, while these called forth our admiration, the exceeding attention
paid to the public by the police force, appeared to prevent the
possibility of accident or robbery. All gambling-booths and
thimble-riggers had, of course, been necessarily excluded, but we fear
it was not possible to shut out all those persons whose recollection of
the laws of _meum et tuum_ was somewhat blunted. We heard of numerous
losses of small sums, and of handkerchiefs and other trifles, but,
throughout the day, we gained no information of any robbery which was of
sufficient extent to produce more than a temporary inconvenience to the
person robbed. A temporary police-station was erected in the grounds, in
which Mr. Mallalieu and a considerable portion of his men were in
attendance during the day; but, although there were, necessarily, some
cases in which slight acts of intemperance were visible, nothing of any
serious importance occurred during the whole of the early part of the

“The orderly conduct of the people, which we have already described as
having been observable during the morning, was maintained during the
rest of the day. Notwithstanding that the crowd at three o’clock had
increased tenfold, no disturbance nor riot occurred. The return of her
Majesty attracted a few from the crowd, but nearly every one returned,
and all remained for the grand attraction of this part of the day’s
amusements--the fireworks. As evening closed in, the fatigue of the
people rendered rest, as well as refreshment, necessary, and every booth
was in a short time crowded with eager inquiries for eatables and
drinkables. The dancing booths were crowded to suffocation, and the
viands of the purveyors of grog were soon put into requisition.”

The fireworks, which were to have been let off at nine o’clock, were,
owing to the light night, postponed till eleven, and were very noisy and
effective, and “One o’clock having arrived, the people separated in a
quiet, orderly manner, but it was not till a very late hour that the
fair was quite cleared of visitors. Like all such scenes, some
irregularities were observable, but on the whole, we never, at any time
or in any place, saw a crowd so orderly disposed. No accidents of any
importance, we believe, occurred during the day in the fair. Fears were,
at one time, entertained that some of the crowd might have sustained
injury from the fall of the rocket sticks and other fireworks, and a
troop of horse was suggested as a proper means of keeping them at a
proper distance from the ground. The excellent arrangements of the
police, however, rendered such a step unnecessary; and, although the
crowd advanced until within a yard or two of the ground, forcing their
way through the _cheveaux de frise_, we believe no serious injury was
inflicted on any person.”

The fair was, at the solicitation of Mr. Hawes, M.P. for Lambeth,
permitted to be held for two days, the Coronation Day, and that
following--but it was further extended for two more days. The area
allotted to it comprised nearly one-third of the park, extending from
near the margin of the Serpentine, to within a short distance of
Grosvenor Gate.

Of course, the next day’s fair was not so thronged as that on Coronation
Day, still, “By three o’clock a vast number of people were in the
parks, and thousands were hourly arriving, but the fair was not crowded.
At the time just stated, a heavy thunderstorm came on, in the first
instance accompanied by hail, which lasted nearly an hour. To those who
were in the fair, the drenching rain was a most unwelcome visitor. Some
of the unlucky holiday makers who had ventured in the vertical
roundabouts, were in a woful plight; the rain was pelting on them while
they were dangling in the air, and the men to whom the machines belonged
coolly got under shelter till the worst part of the storm was over,
utterly regardless of their patrons aloft, several of whom, at the risk
of their necks, slid down the beam to _terra firma_, and good, stout
exhortations soon relieved their aerial aquatic companions. The storm
was a godsend, in more senses than one, to the victualling booths, for
more was disposed of in the shape of ham, beef and stout during its
continuance than, perhaps, would have been if the good things were to be
given away in fine weather. People dined whether they were in want of
that meal or not, and, no doubt, took credit for their patronage.

“When the rain ceased, the fair-going gentry crept from their canvas
coverings, and made for the spot where the clown’s gibes and jeers were
wont to set his auditors in a roar. But the rain had made the ground so
wet and sloppy, that a melancholy seemed to have come over all, the
clown included. As for the poor boats on the Serpentine, they clung to
the shore, as if they had taken a dislike to an aquatic life, and few
were there disposed to navigate them. The gipsy tribe, of which there
were hundreds in the fair, crept to their blanket hovels, to bewail the
loss of the silver crossings of which the previous day had furnished an
abundant supply. Into one of these miserable cabins upwards of thirty
were seen to go in the space of an hour, whose appearance and manners
would denote that they should know better than to put faith in the trash
of the walnut-dyed impostors.”

The day afterwards turned out fine, and the fair was crowded. On the
third day a booth caught fire, but no great damage was done. On the
fourth and last day, the Queen drove as close to it as she well could
do, and all the booths were cleared away that night.

Shirley Hibberd, writing in _Notes and Queries_ (7s. vi. 105), says:
“The many interesting papers that have of late appeared recalling scenes
and incidents of the Queen’s Coronation, are (so far as I have seen)
defective in making no mention of the morris-dancers in Hyde Park. My
recollections of the event have been delightfully revived by recent
readings, and once more the joyous celebration is before me. I see the
park a dusty field, with not a blade of grass upon it, and I hear my
father say, in accordance with the belief prevailing, that the grass
would grow all the better for being thus destroyed. And, amongst the
things that then surprised me, were the morris-dancers, that I had read
of, and had never, till then, seen. There could be no mistake, I should
now say, about their genuineness, for they were clad as peasants, and
all their ways consorted with their new and nicely trimmed smocks, and
their well tanned faces. The dancers had, at least, two distinct styles,
which I now conjecture were representative of two far-removed
provinces, for the two styles were accompanied with distinctive
habiliments. In each case the music consisted of pipe and tabor. One set
struck short staves at a certain turn in the dance, when the dancers
stood in two ranks face to face. The other set struck white
handkerchiefs, which were thrown out by a trick of the hand so as to
acquire momentary rigidity.”

The police charges from Hyde Park on Coronation Day seem to have
consisted of small gamblers and thimble-riggers, and the following is
given as an example.

“MARYLEBONE.[35] Three men and one woman, who gave their names _John
Scullie_, _Edward Clegg_, _Lewis Joseph_, and _Ellen Taylor_, were
brought before the magistrates, charged with having been found gambling
in Hyde Park, in the thickest of the fair.

“The male prisoners were detected by the special constable on duty at
the above spot, in the act of playing at a most deceptive game, called
‘prick-in-the-garter,’ at which each of them had contrived to fill his
pockets at the expense of the deluded multitude, many of whom, being
countrymen, were not at all aware of the artful dodge. The female was
found rattling the dice in one of the booths, and had, also, contrived
to line her pockets very well. On being taken, she declared she was an
innocent country servant out of place, and most vehemently denied that
the dice belonged to her.

“They were all four despatched to the treadmill for one month, the
magistrates at the same time informing them that the money found on them
would go to their support in prison.

“Clegg, on hearing this, exclaimed, ‘Dang it, that is hard, too, that I
should have to pay the Governor for punishing me on the wheel, a sort of
caper wot I arn’t at all accustomed to. Do let me have a few bob, good
luck to your honour, to spend when I comes out.’

“Mr. Rawlinson. ‘Not one farthing. The fair is meant for the recreation
of honest people, and not for the advantage of blacklegs and gamblers.’

“Clegg. ‘Vell, if this ’ere arn’t a vicked robbery, I never seed one in
my life; but the Queen, God bless her, shall know how her subjects are
treated, for, if I don’t publish it in all the papers, my name’s not
Edward Clegg.’

“The prisoners were then removed.”

There was no demonstration of joy in Hyde Park to celebrate the marriage
of the Queen and Prince Albert on Feb. 10, 1840; and the next occasion
when any public entertainment took place therein was in thankfulness for
the Treaty of Peace between Russia, France and England, signed at Paris
in April, 1856. This “Peace Rejoicing,” as it was called, took place on
May 29th following, and took the form of a display of fireworks in Hyde,
Green and Victoria Parks and on Primrose Hill. We have only to deal with
those in Hyde Park, and the best contemporary account of them that I can
find is in _The Morning Chronicle_ of May 30, 1856, as follows:--

“Whatever may have been the sentiments with which the conclusion of
peace was received, there can be no doubt, whatever, but that the
fireworks displayed to celebrate that important event were highly
popular. In delaying the period for public rejoicings until several
weeks after the exchange of the ratifications of peace, it would almost
appear that the Government were anxious that all the conditions of the
peace should be fully and fairly discussed, and thoroughly understood,
before calling upon the nation to celebrate its rejoicings. It may be,
that by postponing the event, we may have appeared to have ignored
altogether the existence of electric telegraphs, and those other means
of rapid communication and intercourse which were unknown at the last
celebration of peace, and professed ourselves unable to believe any news
which had not travelled through the old time-honoured channels of
official routine.

“It may have been fitting that we should, as was done at Paris, command
an illumination, and indulged in our fêtes, immediately the electric
spark had conveyed to us the intelligence of the signature of the
treaty. But there can be no doubt but that the public rejoicings of last
night had more of real value and greater significance, because time had
been allowed for calm reflection, and the people thoroughly understood
what it was for which they were called upon to rejoice. A grand display
of fireworks, such as that which has been for some time past announced,
could hardly fail to draw together an immense number of spectators; and,
while we would not confound the desire to witness a magnificent
spectacle with an assent to the terms of the treaty of peace; still any
person who mingled among the crowds would have abundant opportunities of
learning from the general tone of the conversation that there was little
or no dissatisfaction with the conditions upon which the peace had been
obtained, which they were assembled to celebrate.

“Long before the shades of evening began to fall, the immense area of
Hyde Park set apart for the public was crowded with a dense mass of
individuals, the majority of whom, without, perhaps, either knowing or
caring much about the occasion which had called them together, were
resolved to be in time to secure good places to see the fireworks.
Thousands had already congregated by two or three in the afternoon.

“Towards seven o’clock, all trees commanding a view of the enclosure
where the fireworks were prepared had received their share of venturous
climbers, whose good positions excited envy, and made them excellent
marks, not merely for the jokes, but for the missiles of the vulgar
crowd below. A perfect storm of turfs and sods, torn from the grass, was
hurled at the people who swarmed the trees, many of whom were speedily
dislodged; but others, who had secured the uppermost branches, remained
possessors of their positions to the end. Foiled in their attempt to
dislodge the arboreal class of spectators, the roughs commenced an
indiscriminate assault on the crowd, hurling clods and pieces of turf
among the more densely packed masses. The assailants became, in turn,
the assailed, and many a long and annoying battle was waged, and no
small share of angry feeling created by these discreditable proceedings.
Any person with a decent coat or hat was sure to become a mark for the
mischievous young urchins who indulged in those freaks, and it was only
when some two or three persons had the good sense to administer a little
wholesome chastisement to the young rascals, that temporary peace was

“At length the hour of nine o’clock arrived, and a signal rocket sent up
announced that the long expected display was about to commence, and it
was immediately followed by a grand display of white, red, green and
yellow fires, with a continuous discharge of maroons. Scarcely had the
brilliant colours ceased, when 100 rockets went screeching and screaming
through the air in their graceful course, and shell after shell exploded
in rapid succession. Then came wheel pieces and gold streamers, and blue
and yellow rockets and green and yellow shells; then pearl streamers,
blue and yellow rockets, and serpents and yellow shells, and numbers of
fixed pieces and tailed stars, and rocket wheels and Scotch stars, and
parachutes and pearl rain, and twelve-pointed stars and crackers, and
Saxon hoops and silver rain, and diamond pieces and looking glasses, and
kaleidoscopes and Maltese crosses, and turning suns and tourbillons, and
five-pointed lances and ten-stars, and a variety of other things known
only to the initiated in the mystery of the pyrotechnic art.

“The beauty of the varied coloured showers of fire, the bold careering
of the rockets, the graceful curves of the jerbes falling over like
sheaves of wheat, formed a scene such as falls to the lot of a
generation to witness but once only. The grand tableau, by some strange
arrangement, instead of coming as a grand finale to the whole, was
discharged about the middle of the proceedings; its effect was grand and
effective in the extreme. By far the most imposing part of the spectacle
was the aerial portion. The fixed pieces presented but little of novelty
or grandeur, and several of them were scarcely worthy of the occasion.
Two colossal fountains, showering around a golden shower, were
remarkable for their splendour, and were among the most successful of
any of the displays.

“Notwithstanding the enormous masses of people present, there was no
vast pressure from the crowds except at the conclusion of the display,
when the attempts made to pass through Grosvenor Gate, and the other
outlets of the park, were attended with some of those fearful crushes
which, somehow or other, appear to be inseparable from a London
gathering. The houses of the nobility and others, looking on to the
park, were illuminated in splendid style, and conspicuous among the
whole of the adjoining mansions was that of Lord Ward, the whole front
of the house being literally a blaze of gas jets, formed by lines
following the architectural details of the building.”

Being present, I can vouch for the good behaviour of the crowd, also to
the general harmlessness of the rocket-sticks, which fell among us in
showers. But the light-fingered gentry reaped a great harvest. I, and
all our party, lost our scarf-pins, and, on going to Bow Street next day
to try and recover mine, a large iron tea-tray full of pins, taken from
captured thieves, was brought, and I was told to pick out my own, but I
could not find it. The fireworks were made at the Laboratory, Woolwich,
and in such profusion that it was said there were enough over for
another display.

[Illustration: decorative bar]


The Great Exhibition of 1851.

But what has rendered Hyde Park historically immortal is the choice of
in 1851, an institution which was claimed to have been foreseen by
Chaucer, as evidenced by portions scattered at wide intervals over his
_Book of Fame_.[36]

    “But as I slepte / me mette I was
     Wythin a temple y made of glas
     In whyche / there were mo ymages
     Of gold / standyng in dyuers stages
     And mo ryche tabernacles
     And with perle / mo pynnacles
     And mo ryche portretures
     And quaynt maner of fygures
     Of gold werke / than I sawe euer

           *       *       *       *       *

     Tho sawe I stonde on thother syde
     Strayt doun to the doris wyde
     From the deys[37] many a pyler
     Of metal that shone not ful cleer

           *       *       *       *       *

     Tho gan I loke aboute me and see
     That ther come entryng in to the halle
     A ryght grete company wyth alle
     And that of sondry regyons
     Of alle kyns condicions
     That dwelle in erthe under the mone
     Poure and ryche.

           *       *       *       *       *

     But whyche a grete congregacioun
     Of folke / as I sawe come aboute
     Some wythin and some wythoute
     Nas never seen ne shal be ofte.”

The Society of Arts organized a small exhibition of manufactures in
1847, at their rooms, which attracted much attention, so much, indeed,
that in 1848 they had an exhibition of pottery, and in 1849 one chiefly
of works in the precious metals. These shows were so successful, that it
was felt that something should be attempted on a far larger scale, and
it is now, I believe, generally conceded that the conception of the
Great Exhibition of 1851 was due to Mr. F. Wishaw. Secretary to the
Society of Arts. True it is that Prince Albert is generally credited
with the idea, but this arose from the fact that he took a leading part
in the movement, as President of the Society.

In this capacity he was kept fully informed of what the Society were
doing; but immediately after the termination of the Session of 1849 he
took the subject under his own personal superintendence. He proceeded to
settle the general principles on which the proposed exhibition of 1851
should be conducted, and to consider the mode in which it should be
carried out. On the 29th June, 1849, the general outlines of the
Exhibition were discussed by his Royal Highness, and a portion of the
minutes of a meeting of several members of the Society of Arts, held at
Buckingham Palace on the 30th of June, is as follows:--

“His Royal Highness communicated his views regarding the formation of a
Great Collection of Works of Industry and Art in London in 1851, for
the purpose of exhibition, and of competition and encouragement.

“His Royal Highness considered that such Collection and Exhibition
should consist of the following divisions:

    Raw Materials.
    Machinery and Mechanical Inventions.
    Sculpture and Plastic Art generally.

“It was a matter of consideration whether such divisions should be made
subjects of simultaneous exhibition, or to be taken separately. It was
ultimately settled that, on the first occasion, at least, they should be

“Various sites were suggested as most suitable to the building, which it
was settled must be, on the first occasion at least, a temporary one.
The Government had offered the area of Somerset House; or, if that were
unfit, a more suitable site on the property of the Crown. His Royal
Highness pointed out the vacant ground in Hyde Park on the south side,
parallel with, and between the Kensington drive and the ride commonly
called Rotten Row, as affording advantages which few other places might
be found to possess. Application for this site could be made to the

Besides Somerset House, the Commissioners had to consider the merits of
other sites proposed for the Exhibition, among which may be named
Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, the Isle of Dogs, Battersea Fields,
and Regent’s Park; but they selected, after the most careful
consideration, that of Hyde Park, and the building occupied a site
between the two roads, the eastern end of the building being exactly in
the centre of the Knightsbridge Barracks, and its western end reached
very nearly to Exhibition Road; and possession of this ground was given
to the contractors on 30th July, 1850.

On January 3rd, 1850, a Royal Commission was appointed to carry out the
proposed Exhibition, and the following were the members. The Prince
Consort, Duke of Buccleugh, Earls of Rosse, Granville and Ellesmere,
Lords Stanley and John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Henry Labouchere, W. E.
Gladstone, Sir A. Galloway (or the Chairman of the Court of Directors of
the East India Company for the time being), Sir R. Westmacott, Sir
Charles Lyell (or the President of the Geological Society for the time
being), Charles L. Eastlake, Thomas F. Gibson, Richard Cobden, William
Cubitt (or the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for the
time being), John Gott, Samuel Jones Loyd, P. Pusey and William
Thompson. They were “to make full and diligent inquiry into the best
mode by which the productions of our Colonies, and of foreign countries
may be introduced into our Kingdom; as respects the most suitable site
for the said Exhibition; the general conduct of the said Exhibition;
and, also, the best mode of determining the prizes, and of securing the
most impartial distribution of them.” John Scott Russell and Stafford
Henry Northcote were appointed joint secretaries, and an executive
committee was formed, consisting of Henry Cole, Charles Wentworth Dilke,
George Drew, Francis Fuller, and Robert Stephenson, with Matthew Digby
Wyatt as secretary.

The story of the building is succinctly told by Sir Henry Cole in his
Introduction to the Official Catalogue. “The Committee ventured at once
to recommend that upwards of 16 acres should be covered in; a bold step
at that time (Feb. 21) when no data whatever of the space likely to be
filled had been received. It was their opinion that it was desirable to
obtain suggestions, by public competition, as to the general
arrangements of the ground-plan of the building, and public invitations
were accordingly issued.... In answer to the invitation to send in
plans, upwards of 245 designs and specifications were submitted.... All
these plans were publicly exhibited during a month, from the 10th of
June, at the Institution of Civil Engineers, Great George Street,
Westminster.... The Committee reported that, in their opinion, there was
no ‘single plan so accordant with the peculiar objects in view, either
in the principle, or detail of its arrangement, as to warrant them in
recommending it for adoption.’

“They, therefore, submitted a plan of their own; and, assisted by Mr.
Digby Wyatt, Mr. Charles Heard Wild, and Mr. Owen Jones, they prepared
extensive working drawings, which were lithographed.... The Building
Committee published in detail the reasons, both of economy and taste,
which had induced them to prepare plans for a structure of brick, the
principle feature of which was a dome two hundred feet in diameter.
Public opinion did not coincide in the propriety of such a building, on
such a site, and the residents in the neighbourhood raised especial
objections. The subject was brought before both Houses of Parliament;
and, in the House of Commons, on the 4th July, 1850, two divisions took
place on the question, whether the proposed site should be used at all
for any building for the Exhibition. In the one division the numbers in
favour of the site were 166 to 47, and, in the second, 166 to 46. The
Commissioners published at considerable length a statement of the
reasons which had induced them to prefer the site, and there can be no
doubt that the force of this document mainly influenced the large
majority in both divisions.

“Whilst the plan of the Building Committee was under discussion, Mr.
Paxton was led, by the hostility which it had incurred, to submit a plan
for a structure chiefly of glass and iron, on principles similar to
those which had been adopted and successfully tried by him at
Chatsworth. Messrs. Fox, Henderson, and Company tendered for the
erection of the Building Committee’s plan, and strictly in accordance
with the conditions of tender: they also submitted estimates for the
construction of the building suggested by Mr. Paxton, and adapted in
form to the official ground-plan. An engraving of Mr. Paxton’s original
design was published in the _Illustrated London News_, 6th July, 1850,
which, when compared with the building that has actually been erected,
will show what changes were subsequently made. The Commissioners having
fully investigated the subject, finally adopted, on the 26th July,
Messrs. Fox, Henderson and Company’s tender to construct Mr. Paxton’s
building as then proposed, for the sum of £79,800.”

The first iron column was fixed as early as the 26th September, 1850,
and the building was ready for opening on May 1st, 1851. It covered an
area of 18 acres, was 1850 feet long, 408 feet wide, and 64 feet high,
irrespective of the arched roof of the transept; and in order to put it
familiarly before people, Mr. Fox, at a dinner given to him at Derby,
June 28th, 1851, said, “I walked out one evening into Portland Place;
and there, setting off the 1850 feet upon the pavement, found it the
same length within a few yards; and then, considering that the building
would be three times the width of that fine street, and the nave as high
as the houses on either side, I had presented to my mind a pretty good
idea of what we were about to undertake.”

It was also part of the contract that the building was removed and the
site given up within seven months after the close of the Exhibition,
namely before the 1st of June, 1852; which was duly done, and the
building re-erected at Norwood, where it still is in existence under the
name of the Crystal Palace.

The Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Paxton, who designed the building, was
head gardener to the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth, where the
glass-houses are the wonder and admiration of all who behold them; and
he may as well tell the story of how he came to be mixed up with the
Great Exhibition, in the same words as he told it at a meeting of the
Derby Institute.

“It was not,” said he, “until one morning, when I was present with my
friend, Mr. Ellis, at an early sitting in the House of Commons, that the
idea of sending in a design occurred to me. A conversation took place
between us with reference to the construction of the New House of
Commons, in the course of which I observed that I was afraid they would
also commit a blunder in the building for the Industrial Exhibition. I
told him that I had a notion in my head, and that if he would accompany
me to the Board of Trade, I would ascertain whether it was too late to
send in a design. I asked the Executive Committee whether they were so
far committed to the plans as to be precluded from receiving another;
the reply was, ‘Certainly not; the specifications will be out in a
fortnight, but there is no reason why a clause should not be introduced
allowing of the reception of another design.’ I said, ‘Well, if you will
introduce such a clause, I will go home; and, in nine days hence, I will
bring you my plans all complete.’ No doubt the Executive thought me a
conceited fellow, and that what I said was nearer akin to romance than
to common sense.

“Well! this was on Friday, the 11th of June. From London I went to the
Menai Straits, to see the third tube of the Britannia Bridge placed, and
on my return to Derby, I had to attend to some business in the Board
Room, during which time, however, my whole mind was devoted to this
project; and whilst the business proceeded, I sketched the outline of my
design on a large sheet of blotting paper. Well! having sketched this
design, I sat up all night, until I had worked it out to my own
satisfaction; and, by the aid of my friend, Mr. Barlow, on the 15th, I
was enabled to complete the whole of the plans by the Saturday
following, on which day I left Rowsley for London.

“On arriving at the Derby Station, I met Mr. Robert Stephenson, a
member of the Building Committee, who was also on his way to the
Metropolis. Mr. Stephenson minutely examined the plans, and became
thoroughly engrossed with them, until, at length, he exclaimed that the
design was just the thing, and he only wished that it had been submitted
to the Committee in time. Mr. Stephenson, however, laid the plans before
the Committee, and at first the idea was rather pooh-poohed; but the
plans gradually grew in favour, and by publishing the design in the
_Illustrated London News_, and showing the advantage of such an erection
over one composed of fifteen millions of bricks and other materials,
which would have to be removed at a great loss, the Committee did, in
the end, reject the abortion of a child of their own, and unanimously
recommended my bantling. I am bound to say that I have been treated by
the Committee with great fairness.

“Mr. Brunel, the author of the great dome, I believe was, at first, so
wedded to his own plan, that he would hardly look at mine. But Mr.
Brunel was a gentleman, and a man of fairness, and listened with every
attention to all that could be urged in favour of my plans. As an
instance of that gentleman’s very creditable conduct, I will mention,
that a difficulty presented itself to the Committee as to what should be
done with the large trees, and it was gravely suggested that they should
be walled in. I remarked that I could cover the trees without any
difficulty; when Mr. Brunel asked, ‘Do you know their height?’ I
acknowledged that I did not. On the following morning, Mr. Brunel called
at Devonshire House, and gave


Page 103.

me the measurement of the trees, which he had taken early in the
morning, adding, ‘Although I mean to try to win with my own plan, I will
give you all the information I can.’”

These trees caused a happy modification of Paxton’s plan, and to them we
owe the transept, which redeemed the building from being a long and ugly
glass shed. As it was, the trees suffered no damage, and really were a
very effective feature in the Exhibition. Some other and smaller trees
were cut down, which were thus bemoaned by _Punch_.[38]


    “Albert! spare those trees,
       Mind where you fix your show;
     For mercy’s sake, don’t, please,
       Go spoiling Rotten Row.

    “That Ride, that famous ride,
       We must not have destroyed,
     For, ne’er to be supplied,
       Its loss will leave a void.

    “Oh! certainly there might
       Be for your purpose found
     A more congenial site
       Than Hyde Park’s hallowed ground.

    “Where Fashion rides and drives,
       House not Industrial Art;
     But, ’mid the busy hives
       Right in the City’s heart.

    “And, is it thy request
       The place that I’d point out?
     Then I should say the best
       Were Smithfield, without doubt.

    “There, by all votes approved,
       The wide world’s wares display,
     The Market first removed
       For ever and a day.”

Prince Albert’s academic cap is typical of his being LL.D. and
Chancellor of Cambridge; and the singular-looking being addressing him
is a staunch and bigoted Tory, whom _Punch_ delighted to caricature,
Colonel Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp, M.P. for Lincoln, whose
opposition to the Exhibition of 1851 amounted almost to mania. Take, for
instance, the following quotation from a speech of his in the House of
Commons on the subject (26 July, 1850):--

“Hyde Park was emphatically the Park of the People, and it was now
proposed to be devoted to purposes which he must hold to be prejudicial
to the people in a moral, religious, and social point of view. It was
sought to appropriate it to the encouragement of--what? To the
encouragement of everything calculated to be prejudicial to the
interests of the people. An exhibition of the industry of all nations,
forsooth! An exhibition of the trumpery and trash of foreign countries,
to the detriment of our own already too much oppressed manufacturers....
They were flying in the face of the rights of the public merely to
gratify the foreigner, who had no right to be here at all.”

On another occasion he said, “They might call it success, but he called
it failure. He did not wish to see that building destroyed by any acts
of violence, but would to God that some hailstorm, or some visitation of
lightning, might descend to defeat the ill-advised project.” For this he
had to sit for his portrait once again. _Punch_, 15th February, 1851.

On the opening day of the Exhibition, Parliament sat afterwards, at 6
p.m., and, in the course of a debate on the “Oath of Abjuration (Jews)
Bill,” Colonel Sibthorp told the House that “He was not present at the
Crystal Palace. He felt that his duty to God and his country demanded of
him that he should not go there, and he deeply regretted that an eminent
prelate of the Church should have been induced to invoke a blessing on
that which he (Colonel S.) considered most injurious to the interests of
the country and an insult to Almighty God.”

But if Colonel Sibthorp took a pessimistic view of the Exhibition,
others held equally optimistic opinions respecting it. It was going to
inaugurate a sort of Millennium and a general brotherhood of nations:
war was to cease, and all countries were to vie with each other in
cultivating the arts of peace. The following song will show the drivel
they used to sing about it in the streets.


    Britannia’s sons an attentive ear
    One moment lend to me,
    Whether tillers of our fruitful soil,
    Or lords of high degree.
    Mechanic too, and artizan,
    Old England’s pride and boast,
    Whose wondrous skill has spread around
    Far, far from Britain’s coast.


    For the World’s great Exhibition,
    Let’s shout with loud huzza,
    All nations can never forget
    The glorious first of May.

    From every quarter of the globe
    They come across the sea,
    And to the Crystal Palace
    The wonders for to see;
    Raised by the handiwork of men
    Born on British ground,
    A challenge to the Universe
    Its equal to be found.

    Each friendly nation in the world
    Have their assistance lent,
    And to this Exhibition
    Have their productions sent;
    And with honest zeal and ardour,
    With pleasure do repair,
    With hands outstretch’d, and gait erect,
    To the World’s Great National Fair.

    The sons of England and of France,
    And America likewise,
    With other nations to contend
    To bear away the prize,
    With pride depicted in their eyes,
    View the offspring of their hand:
    O, surely England’s greatest wealth
    Is an honest working man.

    It is a glorious sight to see
    So many thousands meet,
    Not heeding creed or country,
    Each other friendly greet.
    Like children of one mighty sire,
    May that sacred tie ne’er cease;
    May the blood-stained sword of War give way
    To the Olive-branch of peace.

    But, hark! the trumpets flourish,
    Victoria does approach,
    That she may long be spared to us
    Shall be our reigning toast.
    I trust each heart it will respond
    To what I now propose--
    Good-will and plenty to her friends,
    And confusion to her foes.

    Great praise is due to Albert,
    For the good that he has done,
    May others follow in his steps
    The work he has begun;
    Then let us all, with one accord,
    His name give with three cheers,
    Shout huzza for the Crystal Palace,
    And the World’s great National Fair!

The Exhibition was opened on the first of May, and, as over forty years
have passed since then, a good account of the ceremony will, doubtless,
be grateful to very many of my readers, whilst to those who are old
enough to remember it, it will be a pleasing reminiscence. _Forsan et
hæc olim meminisse juvabit._ The following is condensed from _The Times_
of May 2nd, 1851.

“That the ceremonial of the opening may be distinctly understood, let us
sketch, as rapidly as possible, the appearance of the interior about
half-past 11 o’clock, when the doors closed and admission ceased. In the
north half of the transept, and grouped around the throne, were
assembled the Royal Commission, Her Majesty’s Ministers, the Executive
Committee, the Diplomatic Corps, the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen
of the City, the Commissioners of Foreign Powers, the Special
Commissioners, Dr. Lyon Playfair and Colonel Lloyd, the architect, Mr.
Paxton, the contractors, Messrs. Fox and Henderson, and the principal
officers of the Executive, including Messrs. Digby Wyatt, Owen Jones and
C. H. Wild. A list of the great and distinguished persons present would
only be a repetition to the public of names with which they are
familiar, and we, who have watched, from the commencement, the progress
of this great undertaking, think it only justice, in describing an event
such as that which occurred yesterday, that those who, by their energy
and skill, have contributed to the success which has been accomplished,
should chiefly be remembered.

“Let us look at that assemblage for a few minutes, and see what meaning
we can gather from their movements. They are nearly all in Court
dresses, and, in some instances, the experienced eye can detect the
awkwardness of manner which such unwonted habiliments superinduce. While
they chat together, other characters appear on the scene.

“The Heralds come--a curious mixture of the ancient and modern; one half
of their _personelle_ strictly _à la mode_, the rest, a tabard covered
with mediæval escutcheons and devices. Notwithstanding recent
retrenchments, the Beef-eaters showed themselves yesterday in great
strength, health and corpulence; and some of them, for size, might bear
comparison with the giant porter of ‘Queen Bess.’ Officers of the
Household troops appeared on the scene at an early hour, their showy
uniforms heightening the effect, and giving brilliancy to the whole
assemblage. The galleries which run along the northern half of the
transept had been, to some extent, reserved for choristers and for
families of distinction.

“Almost the first person who arrived here was the Duke of Devonshire.
His name is closely connected with the design and progress of the
Exhibition, and his presence was recognized by a large number of
persons. The next arrival that attracted any interest was that of the
Duke of Wellington. It was his 82nd birthday. As usual, he came early,
and the loud cheers which announced his coming outside were enthusiastic
and protracted as he took his place in the north-eastern gallery of the
transept. Thence, after a short interval, he descended to the area
below, and, again, his presence was hailed with repeated acclamations.
After conversing for some time with the Marquis of Anglesey, he turned
his attention to the practical men, to whose well-directed skill and
energy the magnificent display before him must be attributed. He
complimented Mr. Fox and Mr. Paxton, and talked with them both for some
time. He conversed with Mr. Cobden, and was engaged in close
confabulation with the Marquis of Anglesey, when, to the immense
amusement of everybody, a Chinese mandarin, with a tail of fabulous
length, appeared before them.[39] He saluted them both in the Oriental
style, and, though he did not venture to exchange one observation with
them, he hovered around their chairs for some time, expressing, by his
looks, the interest which he felt in the presence of persons so
distinguished. This live importation from the Celestial Empire managed
to render himself extremely conspicuous, and one could not help admiring
the perfect composure and nonchalance of manner which distinguished him.
He talked with nobody, yet he seemed perfectly at home, and on the most
friendly terms with all. The great variety of uniforms and costumes worn
by the assemblage collected in the space around the throne, and the
remarkable manner in which the proportions and decorative arrangements
of the building brought out their position, rendered the spectacle which
the north side of the transept presented a very imposing one.

“Seated apart from the throng, and accompanied by his chaplains, might
be observed the Archbishop of Canterbury, and, not far off, the Bishop
of Winchester, who, in the absence of the Bishop of London, appeared as
senior suffragan of the province. The Lord Chancellor was also
conspicuous in the assemblage, and our Civic dignitaries, in their
flaunting scarlet robes, enjoyed their full share of public attention.

“A chair, selected from the Indian collection, and over which a
magnificent scarlet velvet elephant cloth, richly brocaded, was placed
as a covering, served as a throne. In front of the raised dais on which
it was placed rose the splendid crystal fountain of Mr. Osler, the
appropriate centrepiece of a Palace of Glass. This object had,
previously, been concealed from public view, and its beauty and artistic
design captivated everybody. It is 27 feet high, contains four tons of
crystal, and is a work of which its exhibitor may well be proud.

“And now let us turn from the scene which the area of the north transept
presented, to the aspect of the building generally. After all, there is
no decoration which a building can possess which equals that presented
by a vast and well arranged assemblage of people. Living masses convey
to a great structure a character of animation, which no inanimate
objects, however beautiful, can supply. The long lines of faces lighted
up with excitement, the diversities of dress and ornament, of themselves
furnish subjects for inexhaustible reflection; and when they are so
disposed that the fairer portions of humanity have the precedence, and
occupy the first rank, the scene presented appeals directly to the
gallantry and enthusiasm of the spectator. So it was yesterday. The
seats, which on either side lined the nave and its galleries, were
reserved exclusively for ladies; and thus, standing in the centre of the
building, one could see stretching from that point, east and west, north
and south, long lines of elegantly dressed women, the verge and binding
of an assemblage which comprised not less than 25,000 people.

“It was originally contemplated that the centre of the nave should
remain entirely unoccupied; but, as we anticipated, this arrangement was
found, at the last moment, impracticable; and thus her Majesty and the
State procession were left to make their progress between living walls
of loyal subjects and admiring foreigners, extending in long lines from
one end of the buildings to the other.

“The hour hands of the clocks with which the Crystal Palace is decorated
were approaching 12 when the faint huzzahs of crowds outside announced
that the Queen had arrived; the booming sound of a Royal Salute from
across the Serpentine struck faintly on the ear, and then a loud
flourish of trumpets from the north gallery of the transept told that
her Majesty had entered the building. She was conducted, at once, to the
robing room. Thence, after a short pause, and attended by her Court, she
proceeded, between flower-stands and tropical plants, past the Colebrook
Dale gates, and the fountains and statuary with which that part of the
edifice is adorned, to the throne in the centre.

“On her appearance, the vast assemblage rose to welcome her, a burst of
enthusiastic cheering broke forth from every side--ladies waved their
handkerchiefs, gentlemen their hats, and the whole scene presented was
of unusual splendour. The sun, too, for a moment, emerged from the
envious clouds that for some time previously had dimmed his lustre, and
a flood of light pouring in through the glistening dome of the transept,
illuminated this imposing spectacle of loyalty. When her Majesty
ascended the throne, attended by the Royal family and the distinguished
visitors of her Court, the organ of Messrs. Grey and Davison pealed
forth the notes of the National Anthem, and the immense choir, collected
for the occasion, accompanied the strain. This produced a grand effect,
and not a heart present could remain unmoved at a scene so touching and
so sublime. His Royal Highness Prince Albert, when the music had ceased,
joined the Royal Commissioners, who drew near to the throne, and read to
her Majesty a long report of the proceedings of the Commissioners, to
which the Queen suitably, but briefly, replied. His Grace the Archbishop
of Canterbury then approached the throne, and, with great fervency of
manner, offered a prayer, invoking God’s blessing on the undertaking.

“At the close of this prayer the choir joined in singing the Hallelujah
Chorus, and the effect of this performance may be estimated from the
fact that the Chapel Royal, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and
St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, contributed their entire vocal strength,
while there were also present pupils of the Royal Academy of Music, part
of the band of the Sacred Harmonic Society, and many other performers,
both foreign and English. The vast area of the building left free scope
for the volume of sound poured forth, and the assembled multitudes,
their feelings already elevated by the grandeur of the spectacle before
them, listened with becoming reverence to the triumphant music of the
great German composer.

“It was at this stage of the proceedings that the Chinese already
alluded to, and whom we discover to be no less a person than the
Mandarin He-sing, of the Chinese junk, unable any longer to control his
feelings, made his way through foreign diplomatists, Ministers of State,
and the distinguished circle with which Court etiquette had surrounded
the throne, and, advancing close to her Majesty, saluted her by a grand
salaam, which she most graciously acknowledged.

“A procession was then formed, which, turning to the right, moved to the
west end of the nave on the north side, and, as it passed, the glazed
roof of the building vibrated with enthusiastic cheers. Down a deep lane
of human beings, full of loyal expectancy, it passed--her Majesty and
the Prince, preceded by the Lord Steward and the Lord Chamberlain, their
faces turned towards the Royal personages, and their feet performing
that curious movement, known only at Courts--namely, advancing

“The _coup d’œil_ varied at every step, yet was always picturesque
and beautiful. The foreign Commissioners, whose labours had hitherto
confined them to their own department of the Exhibition, gazed with
wonder at the development of British industry by which they found
themselves surrounded. Even those most acquainted with the objects that
lay on either side the route, were surprised by the new and undiscovered
attractions which everywhere presented themselves. The Indian and
Colonial collections were left behind, the Fine Arts Courts passed, and
the procession, cheered incessantly in its progress, moved into the area
devoted to our many featured manufacturing products. Glimpses were
caught, over the heads of the spectators, on the right, of the Furniture
Court, and the massive forms of the fixed machinery beyond it. On the
left, the Colebrook Dale dome, the gigantic statues of Lords Eldon and
Stowell, the well known form of our great dramatist, and many other
objects which adorn the centre aisle, were left behind.

“Past the furs of bears and other wild animals, suspended from many a
girder, and carpets lending their brilliant colours to complete the
decorations, and clothe the narrow lines of the interior, the pageant
swept on its way. It reached the western entrance, and saw itself
reflected in the immense mirror exhibited at this point. Then wheeling
round the model of the Liverpool Docks, it was returning on the south
side of the nave, when the gigantic organ, by Willis, suddenly hurled
forth its immense volume of sound. The effect was extremely fine, but
there was so much to think of, so many points to observe, and the
admiration of all had already been so largely taxed, that each new,
telling characteristic of the progress scarcely produced its deserved

“At length the procession reached the transept, round the south end of
which it proceeded, and then swept into the foreign department of the
Exhibition. Here, immense efforts had been made to prepare for its
suitable reception. France had collected the choicest specimens of her
manufactures; and, though only two days ago her division was in
confusion, and the possibility of her taking a suitable part in the
opening pageant doubtful, one could not help admiring the tasteful
manner in which her exhibitors had decorated the portion of their
collection which was within sight. Other countries, more forward in
their preparations, were, of course, able to make a more satisfactory
appearance. The great attention which the industrial communities of
Europe bestow on matters of artistic design and of ornamental
manufactures, enabled them to decorate their divisions of the nave in a
manner more effective than we, with our utilitarian tendencies, could
hope to achieve.

“Amid a rare collection of various objects, the procession moved
forward, received everywhere with loud acclamations. The French organ,
by Du Croquet, and that from Erfurt, by Schulze, each in turn poured
forth its music: and, as the pageant rounded the eastern end of the
building, the bands of the Coldstream and Scots Fusileer Guards varied
the performance by their spirit-stirring strains. The return along the
north side of the nave renewed the enthusiasm of the foreigners and
visitors assembled there. The cheering and waving of hats and
handkerchiefs went on continuously around the building; and at last,
having completed a progress more triumphant in its peacefulness and
spirit of goodwill than the proudest warlike pageant that ever ascended
the Capitol of ancient Rome, the Queen returned once more to the
position in the transept where her throne was placed. She looked
exceedingly well, and bore the excitement of the occasion with a
firmness worthy of herself and of the people she governs. The applause
of the assemblage was acknowledged both by herself and the Prince in the
most gracious manner.

“His Royal Highness appeared less composed than her Majesty, and his
emotion was visible when the ceremony and the procession had been
happily conducted to its close. It was natural that he should feel
strongly the termination of a spectacle, the grandest, perhaps, that the
world ever saw, and with which his name and reputation are, henceforth,
inseparably associated. He wore a field marshal’s uniform, and the
Prince of Wales the Highland dress. The Queen wore a dress of pink
watered silk, brocaded with silver, trimmed with pink ribands and
blonde, and ornamented with diamonds. Diamonds and feathers formed the
headdress. Her Majesty wore the riband and George of the Order of the
Garter, and the Garter of the Order as an armlet. Her Royal Highness,
the Princess Royal, wore a white satin slip, with two skirts of
Nottingham lace, and had round her head a wreath of pale pink wild
roses. The Royal children were objects of great attention, and the
Prince of Wales received special cheers from the assemblage.

“And now the last act of the ceremonial remains to be recorded. The
Marquis of Breadalbane, in a loud tone of voice, announced that the
Queen declared ‘the Exhibition open.’ A flourish of trumpets proclaimed
the fact to the assembled multitudes. The Royal family, attended by the
Court, withdrew from the building; the choir once more took up the
strains of the National Anthem; the barriers, which had hitherto
restrained the spectators within certain limits, were withdrawn, and the
long pent-up masses poured over every part of the building, unrestrained
by policemen, and eager to gratify their curiosity.”

Thus was opened the Great Exhibition of 1851--and it speaks volumes for
the good behaviour of the crowd, that, at Westminster Police Court, in
which district the Crystal Palace was, there was, next day, only one
charge having the least reference to the Exhibition, in which a London
artizan was fined 10s. for a trifling assault upon the police, for which
he expressed his contrition.

There must have been an especial glamour about this Exhibition, probably
because it was the first of its kind, but I have never yet met with
anybody who saw it, and all succeeding ones, but who, like myself,
awards it the palm above all.

After having been open to the public for 141 days, it was closed on the
11th October. There was no ceremony, the only incident which marked the
event being that, at 5 p.m., all the organs in the building played “God
save the Queen,” accompanied by many voices in all parts of the crowded
avenues; after which, a bell was rung, warning the visitors to depart.
On the 13th and 14th it was open to exhibitors and their friends, who
were admitted by tickets, without charge. On the 15th the history of the
Great Exhibition was brought to an end, with a slight business-like
ceremony, in which Prince Albert, as the President, received the reports
of the juries, and made a speech in reply. This took place on a
temporary dais, in the middle of the transept (the crystal fountain
having been previously removed), and the whole building was crowded with
exhibitors and others, admitted by tickets. This little ceremony over,
the National Anthem was sung; after which the Bishop of London read a
prayer of thanksgiving. This was followed by the Hallelujah Chorus, at
the close of which the Prince and commissioners left the platform, and
the business of the day terminated.

In a pecuniary point of view, it was a great success, the grand total of
cash received being, according to a report of the Royal Commissioners,
6th November, £505,000, leaving an available surplus, after defraying
all expenses, of £150,000. This was invested in land at South
Kensington, where it provided a site for the Albert Hall, several
exhibitions, the Natural History Department of the British Museum, the
Imperial Institute, etc.

Concerning this money there are some curious facts. Of the money
received at the doors £275,000 was in silver, and £81,000 in gold. The
weight of the silver coin so taken (at the rate of 28 lbs. per £100)
would be 35 tons, and its bulk 900 cubic feet. The rapid flow of the
coin into the hands of the money-takers prevented an examination of each
piece as it was received, and £90 of bad silver was taken, but only one
piece of bad gold, and that was a half-sovereign. The half-crown was the
most usual bad coin, but a much more noticeable fact is that nearly all
the bad money was taken on the half-crown and five shilling days. The
cash was received by eighteen money-takers; on the very heavy days six
extra ones being employed during the busiest hours. From them it was
gathered by three or four money porters, who carried it to four
collectors, charged with the task of counting it. From them it went to
two tellers, who verified the sums, and handed it to the final custody
of the chief financial officer, who locked each day’s amount in his
peculiar iron chests, in the building, till next morning, when, in
boxes, each holding £600, it was borne off in a hackney cab, in charge
of a Bank of England clerk and a bank porter. The money was received in
all forms, ranging between farthings and ten pound notes. Contrary to
the notices exhibited, change was given. Occasionally foreigners gave
Napoleons, and these coins being mistaken for sovereigns, they received
nineteen shillings out, and liberty of admission into the bargain. The
moneys of America, Hamburg, and France were often tendered and taken.

To wind up this notice of the Great Exhibition, I may say that the total
number of visitors, from the 1st of May to the 11th of October, was

[Illustration: _See page 104._]

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Royal Humane Society’s Receiving House--Boats and bathing--The
     Dell--Chelsea Water Works
     reservoir--Walnut-trees--Flower-walk--Military executions--The
     Magazine, Whip, Four in Hand and Coaching Clubs--Their
     dress--Satire on coaching--The Park as a military centre--The first
     review--Fort at Hyde Park Corner--Guard-house--Camp in Hyde
     Park--Insubordinate troops.

On the north bank of the Serpentine, nearly on the site of the
Cheesecake House, is the Receiving House of the Royal Humane Society,
built in 1834 (the Duke of Wellington laying the first stone), on the
site of a former one, which was erected forty years previously, George
III. having given the Society a piece of ground for the purpose.
Needless to say, it is a very useful institution, especially during
severe frosts, being a convenient place where fractures, contusions and
immersions can be properly attended to.

Near the Receiving House, boats can be hired for diversion on the lake,
and on the opposite, or southern side, is a very fine bathing place,
which is most extensively patronized, both in early morning and late
evening, in the summer--nay, all the year round come some bathers, be
the weather what it will, regardless of rain or frost. A boat rows up
and down to rescue any swimmer who should be suddenly seized with cramp.
On the same side,

[Illustration: FROM “ROQUE’S SURVEY,” 1741-1745.

Face page 120.

but nearer the eastern end, is the favourite place for sailing miniature
vessels, some of them being beautiful models, exquisitely fitted and
very costly.

At the eastern end of the Serpentine, its water overflows in a miniature
cascade into a very pretty little dell, in which are rabbits disporting
themselves, together with pheasants, and in 1890 there was a squirrel.
As the public are not allowed to invade this portion, but only to look
at it, the small zoological domain increases and multiplies, and the
animals become exceedingly tame. In this dell is a monolith, which came
from Moorswater, in the parish of Liskeard, Cornwall, where it was
quarried on Jan. 3, 1862. One of the excavators employed in the work was
accidentally killed, and his death was the cause of the publication of
two books, _William Sandy, who died by an accident at Moorswater_,
_etc._, and _The grace of God manifested in the life and death of
William Sandy_, _etc._ This monolith, although obviously only placed in
the Dell for ornamental purposes, was, by a correspondent in _Notes and
Queries_,[40] declared to be a phallic symbol.

Between Stanhope Gate and Grosvenor Gate, close by the flower-walk, may
be noticed a circular basin having in its centre a fountain. This, which
is shown in Roque’s Map, was a reservoir of the Chelsea Water Works
Company, and it stood, as the same map well shows, in a double avenue of
walnut-trees. These, ultimately, became very decayed, and about 1811
they were cut down, and their timber made into gun-stocks for the army.
The flower-walk is a worthy successor to the avenue, and gives great
scope to the gardener’s skill and sense of colour, from early spring,
with its hyacinths, daffodils, narcissi and tulips, to late autumn, when
the bedding out plants, which have afforded innocent delight to hundreds
of thousands, are distributed among the poor, and thus continue their
sphere of usefulness by brightening the homes of the recipients.

If the reader will turn to Roque’s Map, he will see, just where the
Marble Arch now stands, a “Stone where soldiers are shot.” And it was a
place for military executions, and the shooting of two sergeants for
desertion, etc., is thus described by Draper in 1751:--

    “Avaunt _Silenus_! thy lewd revels vile!
     Cold _Russia’s_ troops, in a more Northern clime,
     Are disciplined far better than to waste
     Their strength in fev’rish _Gin_; is this the scene
     Of execution military? more
     It seems _Silenus’_ Banquet. Ah! ’tis done,
     No mercy meets the wretch; it is not due
     If _George_ can give it not, whose royal breast
     Glows with forgiveness.”[41]

The _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1747 gives an account of a military
execution here. “Thursday, 26th Nov. A court-martial was held at
_Whitehall_, general _Wade_ president, on the trial of Sergeant _Smith_,
who was lately bought from _Scotland_, for deserting into the service of
the _French_, and, afterwards, to that of the rebels; and after hearing,
and the facts being proved, he was found guilty.

“Friday, Dec. 11. Sergeant _Smith_ was conducted from the Savoy to the
Parade in _St. James’s Park_, and from thence by a party of the
Foot-guards, commanded by Col. _Dury_, attended by the minister of the
Savoy, to _Hyde Park_, where he was hang’d on a gibbet erected for that
purpose, and bury’d near it: he seemed not much concerned, and professed
himself a protestant. He had been in the service of several princes, and
abus’d them all by desertion. Having thus acquir’d divers languages, he
was of great service to our officers in _Germany_, as interpreter, who
treated him as a companion, and promoted him to be paymaster sergeant,
by which, and other perquisites, he had above £200 per annum; but he
could not overcome his propensity to change.”

Anent this stone, Larwood says, that when Cumberland Gate was built, and
the ground prepared for that purpose, this stone was found so deeply
imbedded in the earth, that it was thought more convenient to cover than
to remove it. The earth was consequently thrown over it, and it now lies
buried in its original resting-place.

On the north-west side of the Serpentine, and close by the bridge, which
there crosses it, is a magazine for gunpowder, generally known as “The
Magazine,” a singularly exposed position for the storage of such
destructive material. It now forms the starting place, at the
commencement of the season, of the “Four-in-Hand” and “Coaching” Clubs,
either of which, if the weather is propitious, is a very pretty sight.

The first of these clubs was started as the “Whip Club,” and in the
_Morning Post_, June 9, 1808, is a description of a “Meet.”

“The _Whip Club_ met on Monday morning in Park Lane, and proceeded from
thence to dine at Harrow-on-the-Hill. There were fifteen
barouche-landaus, with four horses to each; the drivers were all men of
known skill in the science of charioteering. Lord Hawke, Mr. Buxton, and
the Hon. Lincoln Stanhope were among the leaders.

“The following was the style of the set out: Yellow bodied carriages,
with whip springs and dickey boxes; cattle of a bright bay colour, with
plain silver ornaments on the harness, and rosettes to the ears. Costume
of the drivers: a light drab colour cloth coat made full, single breast,
with three tiers of pockets, the skirts reaching to the ankles: a
mother-of-pearl button of the size of a crown piece. Waistcoat blue and
yellow stripe, each stripe an inch in depth. Small clothes corded with
silk plush, made to button over the calf of the leg, with sixteen
strings and rosettes to each knee. The boots very short, and finished
with very broad straps, which hung over the tops and down to the ankle.
A hat three inches and a half deep in the crown only, and the same depth
in the brim exactly. Each wore a large bouquet at the breast, thus
resembling the coachmen of our nobility, who, on the natal day of our
beloved sovereign, appear, in that respect, so peculiarly distinguished.
The party moved along the road at a smart trot; the first whip gave some
specimens of superiority at the outset, by ‘cutting a fly off a leader’s

In the _Annual Register_, vol. 51, p. 883 (1809), is the following
satire “ON THE WHIP CLUB:--

    “Two varying races are in Britain born,
     One courts a nation’s praises, one, her scorn;
     Those pant her sons o’er tented fields to guide,
     Or steer her thunders thro’ the foaming tide;
     Whilst these, disgraceful born in luckless hour,
     Burn but to guide with skill a coach-and-four.
     To guess their sires each a sure clue affords,
     These are the coachman’s sons, and those, my Lord’s!
     Both follow fame, pursuing different courses;
     Those, Britain, scourge thy foes--and these, thy horses;
     Give them their due, nor let occasion slip;
     On those, thy laurels lay--on these, the whip!”

The _Morning Post_, April 3rd, 1809, says that the title of the “Whip
Club,” had then been changed to the “Four-in-Hand-Club,” and their first
meet took place in Cavendish Square on April 28th of that year. The
dress of the drivers was altered, and was as follows. A single-breasted
blue coat, with a long waist, and brass buttons, on which were engraved
the words “Four-in-Hand-Club,” waistcoat of kerseymere, ornamented with
stripes alternately of blue and yellow; small clothes of white corduroy,
made moderately high, and very long over the knee, buttoning in front
over the shin-bone. Boots very short, with long tops, only one outside
strap to each, and one at the back; the latter were employed to keep the
breeches in their proper longitudinal shape. Hat with a conical crown,
and the _Allen_ brim(?); box, or driving coat of white drab cloth, with
fifteen capes, two tiers of pockets, and an inside one for the Belcher
handkerchief; cravat of white muslin spotted with black. Bouquets of
myrtle, pink and yellow geraniums were worn. In May of the same year,
the club button had already gone out of fashion, and “Lord Hawke sported
yesterday, _as buttons_, Queen Anne’s shillings; Mr. Ashurst displayed
crown pieces.”

Possibly this “Four-in-Hand-Club” was dissolved, for Captain Gronow
says[42] that amongst his papers he found a list of the original members
of the club, which met at Richmond on Saturday, June 2nd, 1838, and
passed a series of resolutions, that formed the basis of the regulations
which were observed during its existence: and he relates how “In the
days of which I speak there were amateur coachmen, who drove with
unflinching regularity, and in all weathers, the public stage-coaches,
and delighted in the opportunity of assimilating themselves with
professional jehus. Some young men then, heirs of large landed
proprietors, mounted the box, handled the ribbons, and bowled along the
high road; they touched their hats to their passengers, and some among
them did not disdain even the tip of a shilling or half-crown, with
which it was the custom to remunerate the coachman.

“Many persons liked travelling to Brighton in ‘The Age,’ which was
tooled along by Sir Vincent Cotton, whilst others preferred Charley
Tyrrwhit. On the Holyhead, Oxford, and the Bath and Bristol roads, Lord
Harborough, Lord Clonmel, Sir Thomas Mostyn, Sir Charles Bamfylde, Sir
Felix Agar, Sir Henry Parnell, Sir Bellingham Graham, Mr. Clutterbuck,
Sir John Lade, and other members of the Four-in-Hand-Club, were seen,
either driving the coach, or sitting cheek-by-jowl with the coachman,
talking about horses and matters relating to ‘life upon the road.’ One
of the members of the Four-in-Hand-Club, Mr. Akers, was so determined to
be looked upon as a regular coachman, that he had his front teeth so
filed, that a division between them might enable him to expel his
spittle in the true fashion of some of the most knowing stage-coach

In the Park, and close by the path which leads from Grosvenor Gate to
the Magazine, are some small barracks for the use of the guards of the
Magazine--but Hyde Park has been for more than two centuries the _Campus
Martius_ of London, and the first review recorded as having been held
there was by Lord Hunsdon, the then Ranger, when as Stow says in his
_Annales_, on the 28th of March, 1569, “The Pensioners well appointed in
armour on horsebacke, mustered before the Queen’s Maiestie in Hide Park
beside Westminster.”

In _The Bow-man’s Glory_, 1682, is “A Brief Relation of the several
appearances of Archers, since His Majesties Restauration.--On March the
21st _Anno Domini_, 1661. Four hundred archers, with their bows and
arrows, made a splendid and glorious show in _Hide Park_, with flying
colours, and cross-bows to guard them. _Sir Gilbert Talbot_, Baronet,
was their Colonel, Sir _Edward Hungerford_, Knight of the Bath, their
Lieutenant-Colonel; Mr. _Donne_ was their Major. Great was the
appearance both of the nobility, gentry and commonalty: several of the
archers shot near twenty score yards within the compass of a hat with
their cross-bows; and many of them, to the amazement of the spectators,
hit the mark; there were, likewise, three showers of whistling arrows.
So great was the delight, and so pleasing the exercise, that three
Regiments of Foot laid down their arms to come and see it.”

In the early days of the Commonwealth, London was fortified by the
Parliament, and so urgent were they on this matter that we read in _A
Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament_, April 24th to May 1st,
1643, “An order was made by the common Councell of London, that the
Ministers in the severall Parishes of the Citie should stir up the
Parishioners in their severall churches the next day to send such of
their servants and children as are fit to labour, with spades, shovells
and other necessary tooles to helpe and assist the raising of the
out-workes for the defence of the Citie, which is very needeful to be
finished with all expedition, in regard two great Armies are now on
foote near the Citie, and that they would begin the work by Wednesday

Nay, the very women helped in this work, as Butler tells us in
_Hudibras_ (part ii. cant. 2.):--

    “Women, who were our first Apostles,
     Without whose aid we ’ad all been lost else;
     Women, that left no stone unturn’d
     In which the cause might be concern’d;
     Brought in their children’s spoons and whistles,
     To purchase swords, carbines and pistols.

           *       *       *       *       *

     What have they done, or what left undone,
     That might advance the cause at London?
     March’d rank and file, with drum and ensign,
     T’ intrench the City for defence in;
     Rais’d Rampiers with their own soft hands,
     To put th’ Enemy to stands;
     From Ladies down to Oyster-wenches,
     Labour’d like Pioneers in Trenches,
     Fall’n to their pickaxes, and tools,
     And help’d the Men to dig like Moles.”

In a very fine copy of _Hudibras_ (ed. 1793), with voluminous notes by
T. R. Nash, he thus elucidates the line “Rais’d Rampiers with their own
soft hands.” “When London was expected to be attacked, and in several
sieges during the civil war, the women, and even the ladies of rank and
fortune, not only encouraged the men, but worked with their own hands.
Lady Middlesex, Lady Foster, Lady Anne Waller, and Mrs. Dunch, have been
particularly celebrated for their activity.” The probability is that he
took the names of these ladies from a not very scarce satirical tract
printed in 1647, called _The Parliament of Ladies, or Divers remarkable
passages of Ladies_ in Spring Gardens; in _Parliament Assembled_, etc.,
which was never meant to be taken seriously. They are mentioned in the
following resolution:--

“The House considered in the next place, that divers weake persons have
crept into places beyond their abilities, and to the end that men of
greater parts might be put into their rooms, they appointed the Lady
_Middlesex_, Mistris _Dunce_, the Lady _Foster_, and the Lady _Anne
Waller_, by reason of their great experience in Souldery in this
Kingdome, to be a Committee of Tryers for the businesse.”

When London was fortified, in 1643, a large fort, with four bastions,
was raised at Hyde Park Corner, where Hamilton Place now stands, and
there it remained for four years, being pulled down in 1647. There was
also at the north-east corner of the Park, where now stands the Marble
Arch, a Guard House, to watch travellers on the Oxford Road, which was
also defended by a large fort with four bulwarks, at the corner of
Wardour Street. There was also in the neighbourhood of Hyde Park a small
redoubt and battery on Constitution Hill; whilst another gives its name
to Mount Street.

The guard at Cumberland Gate were especially watchful, for we read in _A
Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament_, of 28th January, 1643:
“There was also a Gentleman this day intercepted by the Courts of Guard
of Hyde Parke, going to Oxford to the King, and being searched, there
was divers letters found about him, which were brought to the
Parliament and read, and found to be of very dangerous consequence,
making a discovery of the state of things here, and the proceedings of
the Lord Generall’s army.” And, also, in _A Continuation of certain
Speciall and Remarkable Passages from both Houses of Parliament, and
other parts of the Kingdome_, March 2-9, 1643. “Wednesday (8th March): a
hat-full of Letters being intercepted by the Court of Guard at Hide
Parke Corner, which came out of _Wiltshire_, (some of them being
directed to persons disaffected to the Parliament,) they were brought to
the House, and ordered that the Committee should take a view of them,
that if any were of ill consequence, the same might be discovered, and
the party found out.”

On August 6, 1647, Fairfax and the Parliamentary army marched, with
laurel branches in their hats, through Hyde Park, where they were met by
the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, to the City.

In December, 1648, there was a camp of the Parliamentarians in Hyde
Park; and Cromwell there reviewed two regiments of horse, on 9th May,
1649, which is thus described in _Perfect Occurrences of every Daie
iournall in Parliament_, etc., May 4-11, 1649: “The Lord Generall
commanding a Randezvous this day (9th May) in _Hide-parke_, of his
Regiment, and the Lieutenant-Generalls of Horse. The Lieutenant Generall
made Speeches, declaring the Parliament’s great care and paines: 1. In
execution of Justice against the grand Delinquents. 2. In their
Declaration and Resolution to put an end to this and future Parliaments.
3. Their care for settling trade, by setting forth a gallant Navy at
Sea. And 4. Their proceedings for payment of Souldiers Arreares. And as
for Martiall law, those that thought it a burden, should have liberty to
lay down their Armes, receive their Tickets, and bee payd as those that
stay. There was one Trooper made some objections, and was bold, for
which he was committed, but at the solicitations of some of his
followers, the Lieut.-Gen. ordered his freedome, and to be received in
againe. The Levelers colours were pulled out of three or four of their

This was the Parliamentary account--now let us see the other side, as
expressed in _Mercurius Pragmaticus_ (_for King Charles II._), May 8-15,
1649, which is specially jocose on the Lord Protector’s red nose. “Newes
at _London_ this _Wednesday_ Generall _Tom_ (Fairfax) drew his Regiment
and _Cromwel’s_ to a Randevouz in _Hide-Parke_, where Lieutenant-Gen.
_Nose_ made a Speech to them, setting forth very eloquently the good
_Acts_ his _brethren_ were now about to doe for the destruction of the
_Subject_: the particulars of his _Oration_ would be too tedious to
relate. _Fairfax_ sayd nothing, save _nodded_ with the _head_, and made
_mouths_ at the Souldiers. There was one _Trooper_ made some bold
demands and objections against _Rubinose_, for which he was committed,
whereupon there began to be some grudging, or shew of _mutiny_, which
made _Nol_ to pull in his _Nose_, and give _Liberty_ to the _Trooper_
againe; yet those who had _Sea greene_ Colours received some affronts,
having their fancies taken from them, to which they said little,
whatever they thought.”

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Grand Reviews in 1660-1661-1668, 1682-1695-1699--Camps in
     1715-1716-1722--Poem on the latter--Reviews in 1755-1759-1760.

A few weeks before the restoration of Charles II. Hyde Park was the
scene of a very grand review, which is thus described in _The
Parliamentary Intelligencer_, April 23-30, 1660. “On Tuesday, April 24,
the Militia forces of the City Trained Bands and Auxiliaries, according
to an Order of the council, marched into Hide-Park, the Maior in his
Collar of S’s, with the Mace, Sword, Cap of Maintenance, the Aldermen in
Scarlet, and the Commissioners of the Militia in handsome equipage going
before them to a place erected for their entertainment. Each _Colonel_
had his Tent and their Regiments very full, several of the Nobility and
Gentry of great quality going as Volunteers. In Alderman _Robinson’s_
Regiment were 250, the rest very many. The Regiments were all so
numerous and so gallantly accoutred, as did sufficiently speak the
strength and riches of the City, there being very little visible
difference betwixt the Trained Bands and Auxiliaries, but only in their

Strype, in his Continuation of Stow’s Survey, tells us that at this
review there were six Regiments of Trained Bands, six of Auxiliaries,
and one Regiment of Horse. The twelve Regiments of Foot consisted of 80
Companies, and each Company consisted of not less than 250 men--which
would give a total of 18,000 men; and the Regiment of Horse numbered

On March 21, 1661, there was a parade in Hyde Park of 400 archers, and,
on Sept. 27, 1662, Charles II. here reviewed his Life Guards. The 4th
July, 1663, saw another muster of the King’s Guards, which Pepys, who
was present, thus records:--“Thence with Creed to hire a coach to carry
us to Hyde Parke to-day, there being a general muster of the King’s
Guards, horse and foot; but they demand so high, that I, spying Mr.
Cutler, the merchant, did take notice of him, and he, going into his
coach, and telling me that he was going to the muster, I asked, and went
along with him; where a goodly sight to see so many fine horses and
officers, and the King, Duke and others came a-horse-back, and the two
Queens in the Queene-Mother’s coach, My Lady Castlemaine not being
there. After a long time being there, I light, and walk to the place
where the King, Duke, etc. did stand to see the horse and foot march by,
and discharge their guns, to show a French Marquisse (for whom this
muster was caused,) the goodness of our firemen, which, indeed, was very
good, though not without a slip now and then; and one broadside close to
our coach we had going out of the Park, even to the nearnesse as to be
ready to burn our hairs. Yet, methought, all these gay men are not the
Soldiers that must do the King’s business, it being such as these that
lost the old King all he had, and were beat by the most ordinary fellows
that could be.”

We have seen how, in the year of the Great Plague, the Guards were
encamped in Hyde Park, and how miserably some of them died there: and it
does not seem to have been again used for military display till Sept.
16, 1668, which Pepys saw. “When I come to St. James’s I find the Duke
of York gone with the King to see the muster of the Guards in Hyde Park;
and their Colonel, the Duke of Monmouth to take his command this day, of
the King’s Life Guard, by surrender of my Lord Gerard. So I took a
hackney coach, and saw it all; and, indeed, it was mighty noble, and
their firing mighty fine, and the Duke of Monmouth in mighty rich
clothes; but the well ordering of the men I understand not.” Evelyn,
also, speaks of these reviews.

On Jan. 28, 1682, the Guards were again reviewed in Hyde Park, this time
for the gratification, and in honour of the Ambassadors of the Sultan of
Morocco, whose followers afterwards performed a _fantasia_, after the
manner of their country. Queen Mary reviewed troops in the Park on the
9th and 10th of May, 1692, and there was a very grand parade of troops
previous to their departure for Flanders on Dec. 23, 1695. _The London
Post_, Nov. 8-10, 1699, says that on Nov. 9 “The King reviewed the 3
Troops of Guards in Hide-Park. They appeared all in their new Cloaths,
and fine accoutrements, with Feathers in their Hats, and made an
extraordinary show. His Majesty rid through every Rank, and was very
well pleased to see them in so good an Appearance; after which, he
placed himself on the left of the Front, till the whole marched by him
in File; then they took their ground again, and afterwards were ordered
to pass Man by Man before his Majesty; and a detachment was made out of
all the 3 Troops, for His Majesty’s Guards, who attended His Majesty to
Kensington. There was an incredible Crowd in the Park to see the Show,
some computing that there could not be less than 10,000 People, and 600

In 1715, King George I. being newly set upon the throne, there were
Jacobite riots in many parts of England, and, in July of that year, a
camp was formed in Hyde Park, for the protection of London, of a very
strong body of troops, together with twelve pieces of artillery. The
camp occupied the site of the Exhibition of 1851, and, according to the
_St. James’s Evening Post_, July 23-26, 1715, “The three Battalions of
Foot Guards on 23rd July marched to their Encampment in Hyde Park, and
the Horse and Grenadier Guards took their Post there next day, and the
Regiment of the Duke of Argyle is expected there this day.” The same
paper says that “This Day His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales went to
view the Camp in Hyde Park.” In the copy for July 30-Aug. 2 we read that
on the anniversary of the King’s accession, Aug. 1, “There were likewise
Rejoycings in the Camp at Hyde Park, where the King’s and other loyal
healths were drank by the Officer and Soldiers, and a Discharge was made
of their Artillery and Small-Arms. The first Regiment of Guards received
their new cloathing, and made a very fine appearance.” The King, on Aug.
8th, “went to Kensington, view’d the Camp on his way, and return’d at
Night to St. James’s.” _The Flying Post, or The Postmaster_, Nov. 1-3,
1715, gives an account of the celebration of the birthday of the Prince
of Wales (Oct. 30) in the camp. It says: “It was solemnized with
extraordinary Demonstrations of Joy, the Army being wonderfully pleas’d
with his Royal Highness, because he inherits the Military, as well as
the other Virtues of his Royal Father and other Great Ancestors. His
Grace the Duke of Montague signaliz’d his Bounty on that Occasion, by
giving an Ox to his Troop, which was roasted whole at the head of the
Standard. His Grace gave them, likewise, 50 lbs. weight of Pudding, a
Hogshead of Wine, and 2 of Strong Beer, with which they drank the
Healths of His Majesty, their Highnesses the Prince and Princess, and of
their Royal Issue, with those of the Dukes of Marlborough and Montague,
and other loyal Healths. They had, also, Illuminations in Circles,
throughout the Camp, and there were incredible Numbers of People, who
came to see those Novelties, without committing any Disorder.”

Another newspaper, the _St. James’s Evening Post_, Nov. 1-3, 1715,
supplements this account thus: “After the triple Salvo of the Artillery
and Small Arms that was made in the Evening, Col. Oughton, one of the
Grooms of His Royal Highness’s Bed Chamber, and Major of the first
Regiment of Guards, invited all the Foot Officers to an Entertainment in
his Tent; and, that the Soldiers might Share in the Universal Joy on
this Occasion, distributed a Guinea per Company among the private Men,
to drink the Prince’s Health, etc., which they did with repeated Huzzahs
and Acclamations of Joy, under great illuminated Circles erected for
that purpose at the head of every Company.” The same paper, of Dec.
10-13, tells us that on Dec. 10, “the Army decamped from Hyde Park, and
the Artillery, etc., were sent back to the Tower.”

There was another camp in the Park next year, when the Prince of Wales
reviewed the troops, and yet another in 1722, of which _The Daily Post_
of May 9 records: “Yesterday, all the Foot Guards that were not upon
duty, march’d to the Camp mark’d out in Hide Park; his Majesty and Royal
Highness view’d them from the Terrass Walk in the Privy Garden at St.
James’s as they passed by.” Every newspaper of the day had an account of
the Royal Review of the troops in camp on June 11, 1722, but the best
was in _The Flying Post_, June 12-14. “The Forces which were review’d by
the King last Monday in Hyde Park, were only the three Regiments of Foot
Guards, the Horse being to be review’d another time. His Majesty having
rode round the three Regiments, the first of which was on the Right, the
Second on the Left (the Posts of Honour), and the Scots Regiment in the
center; his Majesty made a stand, afterwards, near the Ring, the Prince
at some small distance from him, where all the Regiments passed by in
review, Earl Cadogan standing on his Right, and General Withers on his
Left, with each his half-pike.

“His Majesty and his Royal Highness, after having dined in one of the
Earl of Cadogan’s tents, went into another, which Prince Eugene took
from the Prime Vizier of the Turks, who presented it to the Duke of
Marlborough, who afterwards made a present of it to my Lord Cadogan.
There was an appearance of about sixty Dukes and other Peers, besides
abundance of other persons of distinction, particularly the Bishop of
Durham, who was finely mounted, in a lay habit of purple,[43] with
jack-boots, and hat cock’d, and black wig ty’d behind him, like a
militant officer. But, above all, the eyes of the numerous spectators
were on his Majesty, whom they admired for that graceful, easy mien with
which he sat on horseback and returned the salutes of the officers, and
for the wonderful agility with which he dismounted.”

This camp was so famous, that there was a long poem published about
it,[44] of which I extract some short portions, as it brings the place,
its times and manners, very vividly before us.

    “Before the Camp, the Cannon find a Place,
     (Ready to stare the Enemy in the Face,)
     Mounted, Charg’d, Prim’d, and all things _Toujours Prêt_,
     To give the daring Rebels an _Arrêt_.
     Where watchfull Centinells stand (full of Ire,)
     With Match or Halberts, ready to give Fire.
     The Warning-Piece, too, stands not far before,
     Whose harsh Report is watch’d by many a Score,
     Not only of Drums and Trumpets, for _Tattou_,
     But of the Mobb, who come to see this Show:
     And gaping, stand in Crowds on either side,
     And, in the Firing it, take a mighty Pride.
     Behind, are plac’d the _Powder-Carriages_,
     The Cannon’s necessary Equipages;
     T’ th’ Right is Pitch’d the Master-Gunner’s Tent,
     Set out with Match, for Use, or Ornament.
     Facing the Front, are set the Quarter Guard,
     To give th’ Alarm, in case they shou’d be scar’d.
     Whose constant Watch, for some strange Enterprize}
     Does (tho’ the Rest are all at play) suffice,}
     And takes away all fear of a Surprise.}
     The Right and the Left wings, are form’d by th’ Horse,
     And in the centre, stand the Foot, of course.
     The Field-Colours, each Squadron’s Ground mark out,
     The Gay _Bell-tents_ are plac’d before the Foot;
     In Gaudy Line, they’re ranged along the Plain,
     To keep their Arms from Rust, by Dew or Rain.
     At either regiments Head of Horse are rear’d,
     Their several Standards, with their careful Guard:
     Betwixt the Horse, are stretched the _Picket Ropes_,
     Where the Horses stand, to fill their Hungry Chops;
     Some of which sure, find Provender but scanty,
     They look so near akin to _Rosinante_.
     I’ th’ Rear, (and that, indeed’s, the fittest for ’em,)
     Are plac’d the Officers, in nice Decorum.

           *       *       *       *       *

     Their airy Tents are sprucely Neat and Clean,
     And all is there disposed with a _Bonne Mine_,
     Each strives to shew his Genius to be _Brilliant_,
     In the Composure of his gay Pavillion.
     The spacious Avenue that leads to th’ Door,
     Is with red Gravel (rolled) all cover’d o’er;
     A Grassy Turf each Walk emborders round,
     And greatly beautifies the golden Ground;
     In various Forms their Fancies are exprest,
     One Walk, on either side, with Flowers is drest:
     Another entrench’d, some strew’d with Cockle-Shells,
     (And each think, doubtless, that his own excels.)
     While others, who’re, perhaps, more negligent,
     Have nought but rugged Earth before their Tent.
     The noble H----’s Pavilion’s in the Centre,
     A Guard is at the Door, that none should enter
     But whom he bids, and lest it be expos’d,
     With platted Boughs ’tis all round enclosed:
     So thick they stand, so loftily they rise,
     Secure he’s kept from view of Vulgar Eyes.
       “The Tops o’ th’ Tents and Borders differ too,
     Some are adorn’d with Red, and some with Blue;
     This, has its flaming Swords, and that, its Arms,
     And each the Eye with various Figures charms.
     But leave we this, my Muse, and let’s begin,
     To shew what Furniture’s contain’d within.
     (Lest they take Cold) Some boarded are all o’er, }
     Others have only Two, that lead to th’ Door,     }
     But most have painted Cloths[45] upon the Floor. }
     Facing the Entrance is set up the Bed,
     Of what’s lik’d best, of Green, or Blue, or Red:
     Some, too, are lac’d, some wrought, others are plain,
     And, from the Bed, there is a kind of Train,
     Of the same sort, stretch’d out on either side, }
     Which Masters’ and the Valets’ Rooms divide,    }
     And does the necessary Lumber hide.             }

           *       *       *       *       *

     The Table and the Chairs are some o’ th’ rest,
     Set to accommodate th’ expected Guest;
     Near the Bed, hangs (in a convenient Place,)    }
     That necessary Utensil, the Looking Glass,      }
     Where Mr. _Smart_ may see his Monkey Face. }
     But, hold, let not the Tea-Table be forgot,
     O’er which they hold many a luscious Chat,
     With Generous She’s; and make a _Prose Lampoon_,
     (By way of Dialogue) upon half the Town.
     An useful Copper Kitchin stands just by,       }
     From whence whene’er the Tea-pot’s almost dry, }
     Of Boiling Water they’ve a fresh Supply.”      }

In 1755, the King several times reviewed his Light Horse Cavalry in Hyde
Park. _Read’s Weekly Journal_ tells us how on 17th July, 1759, “the
regiment of Norfolk Militia march’d to Kensington, where His Majesty
stood under the Piazza in front of the Palace, and saw them file off in
ranks of eight deep; the Earl of Orford, Colonel, march’d at the head of
the first battalion, with drums beating and fifes playing; the second
battalion had Sir Armine Woodhouse, Bart., Lieut.-Col., at their head,
and were look’d on as a fine corps. His Majesty seem’d greatly pleas’d
with their appearance. Their uniform is scarlet turn’d up with black.
They march’d on Kingston, and other towns contiguous, on their way to
Portsmouth.” Walpole, in his letters (19th July, 1759), says, “The
crowds in Hyde Park, when the King reviewed them, were unimaginable.”

On 20th November, 1760, George II. held his last review in Hyde Park,
for he died suddenly on the 26th. The following account of it is given
in _Read’s Weekly Journal_, of 25th November. “Exactly at a quarter
before ten, at the review of Colonel Burgoyne’s regiment of Light Horse,
in Hyde Park, his Majesty entered the grand pavillion or tent, erected
under the garden wall, where were likewise present their Royal
Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke of York, Princess
Augusta, and some other of the young princes and princesses; Lord
Viscount Ligonier, Lord Anson, and a great number of other noblemen,
etc. As soon as his Majesty entered the pavillion, the whole regiment,
before they began their exercise, passed before him, four in a rank;
after which they all dismounted, and drew up before the tent. His
Majesty expressed the greatest satisfaction at seeing their manner of
exercising, and retired at half-past ten; there were near 20,000
spectators present. As soon as the review was over, some pieces of a new
construction, and of a globular form, were set on fire, which occasioned
such a smoke, as to render all persons within a considerable distance
invisible, and thereby, the better enabled, in time of action, to secure
a retreat.”




     Reviews in 1763-1764--Shooting-butts in 1778--Camp in 1780--Severe
     Sentence of a Court-martial--Volunteer reviews, 1799-1800--The rain
     at the latter.

IT would be wearisome to chronicle every review, except grand ones such
as the following, which is thus described in the _St. James’s
Chronicle_, June 25-28, 1763. “On the morning of the 27th inst. at
half-past eight, his Majesty, the Duke of York, and Prince William
Henry, attended by Earl Delawar, and escorted by the first troop of
Horse Guards, mounted their horses at the Queen’s Palace,[46] and
proceeded up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park. They were received at their
entry into St. James’s Park by Lord Ligonier, the Marquis of Granby,
Earl Talbot and Earl Harcourt, with their attendants and their led
horses. At the gate of the Green Park they were received by Lord Orford,
Ranger of the Parks, on Horseback; and, on their entry into Hyde Park,
his Majesty received a Royal Salute from the Artillery. The manner of
the three Regiments of Foot Guards going through their new method of
exercise, need not be repeated; it is sufficient to observe that never
men went through their discipline with greater exactness, which
reflected the highest honour on their Officers, and filled the numerous
spectators with admiration.


Page 143

Besides the illustrious personages above mentioned, his Majesty’s two
younger Brothers, and a great number of the First Persons of Distinction
of both Sexes, and near One Hundred Thousand other People, were present.
It is remarkable that Elliot’s Light Horse, the _Matrosses_,[47] who
managed the artillery with such inimitable skill, and those of the
Guards, who served abroad in Germany, wore in their Caps and Hats Sprigs
of Laurel and Oak, emblematical of the Immortality and never-dying Fame
of their late glorious Achievements.”

On July 25 following, the King again reviewed Elliot’s Light Horse in
the Park, and the same newspaper (July 23-26) records the following
accidents. “Colonel Elliot, in putting up his sword into the Scabbard,
by the prancing of his Horse wounded himself in the Thigh, but not so
dangerously but that he went through the whole Exercise of his Regiment,
with great Composure and Exactness. A large arm of a Tree broke down, by
which accident a Sergeant in the Guards had his Skull fractured, and
several others were terribly bruised.”

George III. held many reviews in Hyde Park, especially during the early
days of the American War of Independence, and the Park was a veritable
_Champ de Mars_ for military exercises. In 1778, an earthen rampart,
twenty feet high and three feet wide at its base, was erected as butts
for musket practice. It began at Cumberland Gate, and ran westwards
towards Bayswater. Being near the high road, it was very dangerous,
although at that time the other side of the road was all fields.

On June 2nd, 1780, broke out the fanatical riots generally known as the
“Lord George Gordon Riots,” with which we have nothing to do, other than
to chronicle the fact that the troops in and near London being
considered insufficient to cope with the rioters, others were summoned
from different parts of the country. Lodging must be found for these on
their arrival, and we read in _The London Chronicle_, June 6-8, 1780,
that “Orders are given from the War Office for a Camp to be formed in
Hyde Park, and the several regiments that are to compose the same are
now on their march; and, yesterday, the Hampshire Militia pitched their
tents there for that purpose.” Also, later on in the same paper (p.
552), “Seven battalions of militia marched into Hyde-Park yesterday
afternoon, where they immediately encamped. A large detachment of the
Hampshire militia are doing duty at the President Lord Bathurst’s house
in Piccadilly. The Park Gates are all shut, and no person suffered to
pass through on any account whatever.”

_The Morning Chronicle_ of June 10 says: “Thursday (June 8), six
regiments of Militia were encamped in Hyde Park; they are to be joined
by several other regiments, which will make their number 10,000 men”:
and the same journal, June 13, tells us that, “The Grand Camp in Hyde
Park consists of the nine following regiments: the Queen’s, the Royal
Irish, the Twenty-second, Cambridge, South Hants, North Hants, Oxford,
Northumberland, One of York.” On the 14th June, the King, Prince of
Wales, and “the Bishop of Osnaburgh” (Duke of York) visited the
Camp--and so he did on several other occasions. But the riots came to an
end, and

[Illustration: THE SOLDIERS’ TOILET, 1780.

Page 145.

the news of the taking of Charlestown drove everything else out of
people’s heads, so that we do not hear much more of this Camp; but Paul
Sandby painted a series of views of the Camp, and exhibited them at the
next Royal Academy. He also engraved them. “_The Great Encampment in
Hyde Park._” “_The Encampment in Hyde Park_--_The Filbert Merchant_.”
“Ditto--_Marshall Sax’s Tent_.” “Ditto--_The Soldier’s Toilet_” (which
is here reproduced), and several others. In “_The Soldier’s Toilet_” we
get rather more than a peep into the domestic life of the Camp, and in
the background we see St. George’s Row, and the chapel attached to the
burial ground in the Bayswater Road, now rebuilt. After the scare was
over, and martial law in London was abolished, the Camp was much
visited; but when it had fulfilled its needs it had to come to an end,
and on the 10th of August the Camp broke up, after having earned golden
opinions from the Londoners.

After this Camp the King held frequent reviews, of which nothing need be
said, nor indeed is there anything military to chronicle with regard to
Hyde Park until May 1, 1787, on which date (_Gent.’s Mag._) “His Majesty
having sent down the sentence of a Court-martial held upon a private of
the Life Guards (for rude and improper behaviour to his officer) to the
Colonels of the four troops, for their consideration, it was returned by
them, and the purport was as follows:

_Sentence._--“That the prisoner Lloyd, private in the first troop of
Horse Guards, shall receive one thousand lashes, and then be publicly
dismissed the troop.

“His Majesty, we understand, but not in pity to the prisoner, whose
demerits deserve a severer punishment, has remitted that part of the
sentence which orders the _thousand lashes_, as corporal punishment was
never inflicted on his own Body Guard; and has ordered him to be
dismissed the troop, with every public mark of infamy.

“May 14. This day Lloyd, the Life Guardsman, convicted by a
Court-martial, as mentioned in a former article, was publicly trumpeted
out of the regiment, on the reviewing ground in Hyde Park. After the
ceremony was over, the populace carried off the man in triumph, in sight
of the whole regiment.”

Reviews by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the Duke of
Gloucester were frequent; and, after 1793, were much increased by the
Volunteers, who were then generally enrolled. There had been Volunteers
previously, notably the “Royal London and Middlesex Light Horse
Volunteers,” which ranked as the oldest corps, having been enrolled in
1779, during a violent French scare. Next year, they materially helped
to put down the Lord George Gordon Riots, and were rewarded by the King
and the City of London with standards. Disbanded in 1783, they were
again enrolled in 1794, and reviewed in Hyde Park, with their old
standards proudly flying, in July of that year.

But the grandest review in the Park at this time was on the 4th of June,
1799, the 62nd birthday of George III., when the “Armed Associations”
passed before him. The illustration is taken from a portion of a
contemporary engraving, and the following account is taken from _The
Annual Register_:--

“June 4th. Being his Majesty’s birthday, the several associations of the
metropolis and its neighbourhood, consisting of sixty-five well-equipped
corps, and amounting to upwards of 8000 effective men,[48] assembled in
Hyde Park, where they were reviewed by the King. The Temple Association,
commanded by Captain Graham, was the first that entered the Park; it
arrived at seven o’clock, during a heavy shower of rain, which continued
incessantly from the time it left the Temple Gardens. Several other
corps followed soon after; and, at half past eight, the whole were on
the ground. The necessary dispositions, agreeable to the official
regulations, were then made; and, about ten minutes past nine, his
Majesty appeared, attended by the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of York,
Kent, Cumberland and Gloucester, a number of general officers, and a
formidable detachment of the Life Guards.

“The line being formed, a cannon was fired, to announce the approach of
the King; on which all the corps immediately shouldered in perfect
order, and the artillery then fired a royal salute of twenty-one guns. A
second gun was fired on his Majesty’s arrival in front of the line, and
each corps immediately presented arms, with drums beating and music
playing. A third cannon was fired as the signal for shouldering, which
was promptly obeyed. His Majesty having passed along the line, and
returned by a central point in front, a fourth cannon was fired as a
signal to load; and, upon the fifth gun being fired, the different corps
began to fire volleys, in succession, from right to left. The same
loading and firing were repeated upon the sixth and seventh cannons
being fired; in all fifty-nine rounds.

“On the eighth cannon being fired, three cheers were given, and the
music played, “God save the King.” The corps then passed his Majesty in
grand divisions, in a most excellent manner, under the direction of
General Dundas, who headed them on horseback; after which, they filed
off to the stations respectively allotted for them. The whole of the
evolutions pointed out to them in the general orders having been
performed, and another royal salute of twenty-one guns fired, his
Majesty, after expressing the highest satisfaction at the martial
appearance and excellent conduct of this loyal and patriotic army,
departed from the ground at a quarter before one, amidst the joyous
shouts and affectionate greetings of the people, who assembled, on this
occasion, to the amount of upwards of 100,000, including all the beauty
and fashion of the metropolis.

“The sight was truly grand and highly gratifying; and notwithstanding
the evolutions were considerably impeded by the high wind and some rain,
the whole were performed in a manner that reflects much credit upon
every corps present, whose conduct fully entitles them to the very
handsome compliment of his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, paid
them by order of his Majesty, in the _Gazette_ of that evening. The
ground was kept clear by the London and Westminster, and Southwark
Volunteer corps of cavalry, who preserved the lines from being infringed
by the immense multitude who crowded the Park.”

Another review in the Park on 15th May, 1800, did not pass off so
quietly. The Grenadier battalion of the Guards were being exercised,
when a gentleman named Ongley, a clerk in the Navy Office, was shot by a
musket ball during the volley firing, whilst standing but twenty-three
feet from the King. The wound was not dangerous--through the fleshy part
of the thigh--and it was immediately dressed; and very little might have
been heard of it, had not the King, that same night, been shot at in
Drury Lane Theatre. The cartouch-boxes of the soldiers were examined,
but none but blank cartridges were found. So little, indeed, was thought
of it, that the King, who said it was an accident, stopped on the ground
for half an hour afterwards, and four more volleys were fired by the
same company before he left.

The next birthday review of Volunteers (4th June, 1800) was not a happy
one. It was a larger affair than that of the previous year, some 12,000
men being under arms; but they had to stand in soaking rain for eight
hours, as did the majority of the spectators. The following is from the
pen of an eye-witness:--

“So early as four o’clock, the drums beat to arms in every quarter, and
various other music summoned the reviewers and the reviewed to the
field. Even then the clouds were surcharged with rain, which soon began
to fall; but no unfavourableness of the weather could damp the ardour of
even the most delicate of the fair. So early as six o’clock, all the
avenues were crowded with elegantly dressed women escorted by their
beaux; and the assemblage was so great, that, when the King entered the
Park, it was thought advisable to shut several of the gates, to avoid
too much pressure.

“The circumstance of the weather, which, from the personal inconvenience
it produced, might be considered the most inauspicious of the day,
proved, in fact, the most favourable for a display of beauty, for
variety of scene, and number of incidents. From the constant rain, and
the constant motion, the whole Park could be compared only to a
new-ploughed field. The gates being locked, there was no possibility of
retreating, and there was no shelter but an old tree or an umbrella. In
this situation you might behold an elegant woman, with a neat yellow
slipper, delicate ankle, and white silk stockings, stepping up to her
garter in the mire, with as little dissatisfaction as she would into her
coach--there, another, making the first _faux pas_, perhaps, she ever
did, and seated, reluctantly, on the moistened clay.

“Here is a whole group assembled under the hospitable roof of an
umbrella, whilst the exterior circle, for the advantage of having one
shoulder dry, is content to receive its dripping contents on the other.
The antiquated virgin laments the hour in which, more fearful of a
speckle than a wetting, she preferred the dwarfish parasol to the
capacious umbrella. The lover regrets there is no shady bower to which
he might lead his mistress, ‘nothing loath.’ Happy she, who, following
fast, finds in the crowd a pretence for closer pressure. Alas, there
were but few grottos, a few caverns--how many Didos--how many Æneas’s?
Such was the state of the spectators. That of the troops was still
worse--to lay exposed to a pelting rain; their

[Illustration: RETURNING FROM THE REVIEW, 1800.

Page 150.

arms had changed their mirror-like[49] brilliancy to a dirty brown;
their new clothes lost all their gloss, the smoke of a whole campaign
could not have more discoloured them. Where the ground was hard, they
slipped; where soft, they sunk up to the knee. The water ran out at
their cuffs as from a spout, and, filling their half boots, a squash at
every step proclaimed that the Austrian buckets could contain no more.”


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Volunteer reviews of 1803--Review in honour of the Allied
     Sovereigns, 1814--Popularity of Blücher--Review by the Queen in
     1838--Volunteer review, 1860.

As far as I can learn, there were no more grand Volunteer reviews in
Hyde Park, until 26th Oct., 1803, and this, I think, is borne out by the
“gush” of the _Annual Register_ on the occasion, which would hardly have
occurred had they been frequent. “This was a truly proud day for the
country. It presented the sublime spectacle of a patriot Monarch, who
reigns no less distinguished in the hearts of his people than on his
throne, meeting the brave citizens of his metropolis, armed in defence
of his crown and of the British Constitution; and, with the
characteristic virtue of the sons of Albion, resolved to continue free,
or gloriously to fall with the liberty and independence of their
country. Such a spectacle is worthy of such a people: such a people are
deserving of the superior blessings they possess.”

The Volunteers mustered 12,401, and they were reviewed by the King. With
the exception of the Prince of Wales, all the Royal Princes were
present, the Duke of Clarence “in the uniform of the Teddington
Association.” The Queen was present, as were also the Princesses, and
the royal party was joined by the refugee French Princes, Monsieur
(afterwards Louis XVIII.) being dressed in green with red facings, the
Prince de Condé, in white, faced with blue; the Duc de Bourbon in white,
faced with red; and the Duc de Berri in green. There were no accidents,
although there were some 200,000 spectators; “every person who could
come from within a circle of twenty miles being collected. Many came to
town from a distance of above a hundred miles to be present at the

“The _éclat_ with which the grand review of the London district of
volunteers went off on Wednesday, excited a laudable ambition in the
breasts of the Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark corps, to surpass, if
possible, their brethren in arms, in discipline, in zeal, and military
appearance.” They mustered 14,676 men, but the total Volunteer force in
the vicinity of the metropolis was then reckoned at 46,000. The morning
of 28th October opened very dispiritingly, even worse than on the 26th.

“The fog, however, not content with equalling that of Wednesday,
increased to such a degree, that, at half past seven, not a single
object could be seen in the park, and several Corps would have passed by
Oxford Street Gate, had they not been stopped there by a party of Life
Guards stationed there to guard the entrance. The eager expectation
which ushered in the morning now changed to fearful anxiety. It was too
dark to observe the expression of the countenance; but everybody, in
tones of despondency, began to express their apprehensions that all the
beauty of the military spectacle would be lost, and that a glimpse of
the troops could not be obtained, much less a full view of them, and
the embellishments of the scene. The houses, scaffolds, carts, caravans,
and carriages of all descriptions, drawn up for the accommodation of
spectators along the Bayswater Road, instantly began to drop their
prices; and would have fallen still lower, had not the fog fortunately
begun to clear away about half past eight, when the business of the day
again assumed a cheerful aspect, and the spectators eagerly assembled in
amazing crowds, and to a still greater extent than on Wednesday.”

The King, Queen, and all the Royal family were present, but on this
occasion there were no foreign visitors.

Although there were perpetual drills and inspections in Hyde Park, there
does not seem to have been a grand review until the one which took place
in honour, and in the presence of the Allied Sovereigns, the Emperor of
Russia, and the King of Prussia, who were then on a visit to the Prince
Regent, and it took place on Sunday, June 20, 1814. The following is
_The Times_ account of it.

“Yesterday, at an early hour, all the regular troops, together with most
of the Volunteer Corps in the metropolis and its vicinity, were in
motion to proceed to Hyde Park, for the purpose of being reviewed by the
Prince Regent, and his Imperial and Royal visitants. Immense crowds of
people, of all ranks, were at the same time seen flocking thither in
every direction; and, in consequence of an excellent regulation, by
which all carriages, except those of the Royal family, and all horsemen,
except military officers, were prohibited from entering the Park, these
spacious grounds afforded ample room and accommodation for the
multitudes of spectators.

“By half past eight o’clock, all the different troops of the line,
together with the corps of Yeomanry and Volunteers, had taken up the
positions assigned to them. The line, which partly ran parallel with the
wall of Kensington Gardens, extended from Buckden Hill to the Piccadilly
gate of Hyde Park; a brigade of horse artillery formed the extreme right
of the whole; next to them were drawn up successively in line, several
regiments of Dragoons, the Royal Horse Guards, the Blues, the Queen’s
Bays, and the Scots Greys; next followed two regiments of Light Horse,
we believe the 9th and 13th; the Surrey Yeomanry, with the London Light
Horse, and several other minor corps, completed the whole of the

“The different battalions of the three regiments of Guards not at
present employed on foreign service, headed the line of infantry. We did
not observe any other regiment of regular troops, and the rest of the
ground was occupied by battalions of Volunteers. They comprised most of
the Volunteer Corps still existing in the metropolis; and though, in
general, they did not muster very strong, yet, even in point of numbers,
their appearance was respectable. These troops are not again likely to
meet under arms for some time to come, and the close of their patriotic
military career well merited the distinguished honour of this day’s
review, by three of the most powerful Sovereigns in Europe.

“About ten o’clock, the Duke of York, accompanied by a numerous staff,
rode down the line. Soon after, the firing of a gun announced that the
Royal personages had entered the Park. They were preceded by a
detachment of the 10th Hussars: the Prince Regent had, on his left, the
Emperor of Russia, and on his right, the King of Prussia. The _cortège_
of the sovereigns was extremely numerous, and of the most brilliant
description, comprising all the distinguished military characters at
present in London. Among others, Marshal Blücher, Prince Platoff, Lords
Hill and Beresford were recognized and cheered by the spectators. The
effect of the whole was impressive, from the richness and variety of the
uniforms; but, above all, from that singular combination of august and
powerful Sovereigns, and of men who had conferred the greatest benefits
on Europe by their military talents.

“The Royal party, commencing with the extreme right, rode along the
whole of the line, and were received with presented arms, by the
different corps. They then took their stations near the centre of the
Park, when a _feu-de-joie_, in three successive rounds, was fired from
right to left. The effect of this continuous fire was exceedingly fine,
from the rapidity and precision with which it was executed. The
different corps then defiled by companies in front of the Royal
personages, and in this order marched off the ground, which concluded
the business of the review. We cannot, accurately, estimate the number
of troops on the ground; but, from the time occupied in their marching
in review, we should suppose that they must have amounted to 15,000. The
Dragoons, in particular, were

[Illustration: POPULARITY OF BLÜCHER, 1814.

Page 157.

admirable for their equipments and martial appearance. The day, though
lowering at times, and rather cool, was, upon the whole, extremely
favourable to the spectacle. We did not hear of any serious accident
happening; though some of the lower orders, who perversely mounted on
the trees in the Park, met with some falls by the breaking down of the
branches. We were sorry to observe that some of the younger plantations
were injured by the mob climbing upon trees insufficient to sustain
their weight. It was a pity this wanton mischief had not been

One person, at all events, who was present, must have carried away with
him, when he left England, a curious recollection of Hyde Park; for as
old “Vorwärts,” as Marshal Blücher was familiarly termed, (used, as he
must have been to being mobbed whenever he appeared in public,) was
walking one day in Hyde Park, it is said that the crowd went so far as
to investigate his person, and that the veteran was fain to put his back
against a tree for protection; a scene thus humorously caricatured.

There were no reviews of particular importance in Hyde Park until we
come to the present reign--when the Queen, soon after her Coronation,
reviewed a small but select body, about 5000, of artillery, cavalry, and
infantry, for the delectation of her foreign guests.

The following account is condensed from _The Times_ of July 10, 1838:--

“It was at one time proposed to hold a review of a much larger number on
Wormwood Scrubs, but considerations of expense interfered, and it was
settled that a smaller number of picked troops should be reviewed, as we
could not vie with the vast assemblages of troops which were sometimes
called together at Töplitz and elsewhere on the Continent. But the
foreign critics were loud in their praises of the appearance of all the
troops they saw, as regarded their perfect order and discipline, and the
admirable way in which the manœuvres and evolutions were executed,
and declared that they would have borne advantageous comparison, in
their different branches, with any troops in the world--but perhaps,
this was only their natural politeness.

“The Duke of Wellington, Lord Hill (Commander of the Forces), Lord
Combermere, with a host of distinguished officers, received the Special
Ambassadors from foreign States, the Duc de Nemours, Marshal Soult (Duc
de Dalmatie) and others--whilst the Duke of Cambridge (the Queen’s
uncle) arrived with a crowd of Continental Princes. The Queen took up
her position on the ground at twenty-five minutes to twelve; and, after
the Staff and noble and illustrious foreigners had paid their respects
to her, she proceeded in her carriage down the lines, each body of
troops presenting arms as she passed, and the bands striking up the
National Anthem.

“Then, returning to the flag, the troops marched past in slow time--went
through some evolutions, burnt a great quantity of powder; and, finally,
both lines advanced in parade order, headed by the Marquis of Anglesey,
and saluted her Majesty, who then retired. The Duke of Wellington and
Marshal Soult were vociferously cheered, and, as for the latter, many
persons not only cheered him as he moved on, but came beside his horse,
and grasped the veteran cordially by the hand, a freedom with which he
seemed rather pleased. During the review one of his stirrup leathers
broke and it was afterwards found that it was one of a pair much used by
Napoleon in his campaigns, and which had been furnished to the Marshal
by Messrs. Laurie and Marner, the saddlers.”

The next great review held in the Park takes a long stride in point of
time, and took place on 23rd June, 1860, when the Queen reviewed some
18,450 Volunteers. These had been called into existence by a circular
letter from General Jonathan Peel on 12th May, 1859, and the movement
became so popular, that about a year afterwards sufficient were enrolled
to enable this review to be held, and the result fully bore out the
wisdom of the experiment.

The following account is extracted from _The Times_ of June 25th,

“The galloping about of the Staff was equal to a series of races, the
object of the running being an utter mystery to the uninitiated.
Something dreadful always appears to be happening at the end of the line
where the Staff is not, and away the group of uniforms tear to rectify
it; it is important perhaps, but to the public inexplicable. Everybody
felt grateful for the amusement furnished by a trumpeter of the Life
Guards, in the heavily laced coat and jockey cap, which favoured the
racing theory. He was attached to the Duke of Cambridge, and
occasionally blew a screech on his trumpet--a most wretched and
unwarlike sound, though it was, we believe, a signal of some kind;
certainly, it was a signal for laughter whenever it was heard. Another
source of amusement was the rather Lucretian and selfish enjoyment of
the perplexities of the dense crowd of officers and military personages
of various grades, in the railed space below the galleries. Ten feet
more of ground might have been given, and the want of it caused
confusion. The pressure at last was too great, and there was a rush
under the rail into the open. The police could then do nothing against
the plumes and epaulets. The disorder gave the Staff two or three
gallops to the spot. The Commander-in-Chief himself remonstrated, but
the disorder, which was not very serious after all, could not be
retrieved. The ground gained was kept; but, as a compromise, the front
ranks were directed to sit down, which they did, and Policeman 209 was
released from his responsibility. There was much speculation as to some
of the most gorgeous uniforms in this military miscellany which were
quite new to English eyes. Very wild guesses were made, but opinion
settled down on East Indian Horse Artillery and Cavalry, regular and
irregular. A magnificent Lord Lieutenant, whose place was near the
Queen, but who had lost his pass ticket, was sternly refused ingress,
and remained in the crowd undistinguished.

“At 4 o’clock, the first gun of the Royal salute apprised all that her
Majesty was entering the Park. A succession of cheers from the extreme
left announced it also. A detachment of Life Guards headed the
procession, which passed from left to right along the front of the
galleries. Her Majesty was in an open carriage, with the King of the
Belgians, the Princess Alice, and Prince Arthur. His Royal Highness
Prince Albert, in uniform, rode by the side of the carriage, near which
also were the Prince of Wales, and Prince Jules of Holstein-Glucksburg.
Aides de Camp, Equerries, the Adjutant-General, and other high military
officials preceded the carriage. It was immediately followed by the
venerable Lord Combermere, who was old in service before most of the
soldiers on the ground were born, for he counts 70 years, not of age,
but of service. His horse was led, and every attention was paid to the
veteran warrior. He wore the Order of the Bath, and the uniform of his
regiment, the Life Guards. In the two other carriages were the Princess
Louise, the Princess Mary of Cambridge and the Grand Duchess of
Mecklenburg Strelitz. In the line of procession followed the Lords
Lieutenant of the counties to which the several corps of Volunteers

“The _cortège_ passed nearly to the extreme left of the line of
Volunteers, then turned and proceeded slowly along the front of the
extreme right, and, turning again, drew up on the open ground in front
of the Royal Standard. The three bands of the Household Brigade were
stationed opposite the Royal carriages; through the intervening space
the Volunteer companies marched, those on the right of the line of
columns coming up first. It was half-past four when the 1st
Huntingdonshire Mounted Rifles passed her Majesty; and, at a few minutes
to six o’clock the 25th Cheshire closed the review, which lasted without
intermission for quite an hour and a half.

“Her Majesty left the ground at six o’clock, in the same order as she
arrived, but some time elapsed before the public could get clear of the
enclosures. The difficulty of getting a large body of troops out of the
Park has almost become a military axiom, but the difficulty is not
insuperable. The Volunteer officers solved the problem without
confusion, except a little crushing at the gates; but the crushing was
more among the spectators than the troops.”


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Volunteer Reviews, 1864, 1876--Mobs in the Park--Funeral of Queen

The next review in the Park was also of Volunteers, 21,743 in number,
who were inspected by the Prince of Wales on 28th May, 1864. After the
inspection, the Prince, who wore the uniform of the Honourable Artillery
Company, took his place at the head of his corps. The following is from
_The Times_, 30th May, 1864:--

“The Royal carriages, meanwhile, had drawn up close to the flag-staff,
and, as they took their position, His Royal Highness Prince Arthur,
accompanied by Major Elphinstone, R.E., came forward and joined the
party. Shortly afterwards, the Duc d’Aumale and the two gentlemen by
whom he was accompanied, were perceived in the reserved seats by His
Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. They were at once conducted within
the enclosure, and, having paid their respects to the Princess of Wales,
remained to witness the march past.

“First in order came the Hon. Artillery Company, a body which can trace
its pedigree back to a time when there was no standing army in England;
and whose ancestors, the old Train Bands, ranged themselves sometimes on
the side of the sovereign, and sometimes against it, but always on the
side of liberty. Next, marched the representative corps of Oxford and
Cambridge Universities, and the brigade closed with a battalion raised
from those distinguished Civil servants who act as the wheels on which
our social machinery revolves. The Prince, wearing the uniform of
Colonel of the Hon. Artillery Company, with the blue riband of the
Garter, was warmly cheered, as he rode past in advance of his brigade;
and, having gracefully saluted the Commander-in-Chief, took up his post
on the left of General Pennefather, where he could be seen to advantage
by the different regiments as they passed.

“It is no new thing to say of the Hon. Artillery Company that they are
hardly to be distinguished from the _corps d’élite_, to whose uniforms
their own so narrowly approximate; but, on Saturday, conscious of their
added dignity, they put forth special efforts to justify their ancient
renown. Oxford University came tripping along merrily, to the music of
_Faust_--a little short in the step perhaps, but that may have been the
fault of the band--with a somewhat novel look imparted to their ranks by
the bright blue colour of their caps and stockings. The Cambridge men
enjoyed the advantage, as far as appearance is concerned, of those
knowing Zouave gaiters, which, on parade, replace the ‘cardinal’
stockings. In other respects the University Corps were on a footing of
perfect equality, and, in every respect, worthy to be included in the
new formation of infantry of the guard. Lord Bury, the Lieutenant-Colonel
of the Civil Service Regiment, was warmly greeted--a tribute apparently
personal, as well as complimentary to the fine regiment under his

“The Cavalry Brigade, composed of the 1st Surrey Light Horse, the 1st
Middlesex, and the 1st Hertford Volunteer Cavalry, formed, in the
aggregate, a squadron of nearly one hundred. The horses, for the most
part, were exceedingly good, but many of them had either not been
accustomed to march in line, or were disconcerted by the music of the
band. Cavalry, at present, is scarcely one of the elements of strength
in the Volunteer Service, and it would be well if, occasionally, means
could be taken of enlisting the co-operation of the Yeomanry. The
military effect of Volunteer reviews would be much heightened by their

“The Artillery display was very imposing. This has always been a
favourite branch of the service; but, in spite of their previous
knowledge of the subject, the public were surprised to find how large a
proportion the Artillerists bore to the general force under arms. In
addition to the six light guns which had gone past with the Hon.
Artillery Company, in the Prince of Wales’s Brigade, 20 others of
heavier calibre were now paraded in charge of the 1st Administrative
Brigade, the Middlesex Artillery Volunteers, commanded by Col. Creed,
and the 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteers. The bearing of the men and
their general equipments were highly creditable to all concerned; and,
not content with mere efficiency, some of the batteries borrowed a hint,
as to style, from the Royal Horse Artillery, and horsed their guns
exclusively with animals of one colour. In addition to what may be
called, for the sake of distinction, the Service Artillery, there was a
complete Brigade of Artillery Volunteers, armed with carbines only,
numbering close upon 2000 men.

“When these had passed, the infantry divisions came up, and continued to
move along in unbroken order for nearly an hour and a half. The public
are, by this time, such keen critics at Volunteer reviews, and the
regiments themselves, by the earnestness they threw into the movement at
the outset, have accustomed spectators to such a standard of efficiency,
that anything in the nature of shortcoming is sure to be detected. It
is, therefore, paying no small compliment to the force upon the ground,
to say that, at the conclusion of the proceedings, the general voice
declared the display to have been attended with complete success. From
first to last, as far as the Volunteers were concerned, there was not a
single hitch: on the contrary, the improvement in discipline since the
last great display in Hyde Park is too palpable to admit of question. A
fact, to which attention cannot be too strongly pointed, is, that the
battalions from various parts of the country, taking part in the review,
were, if anything, in advance of those in the metropolis. It has been
the fashion to speak--not slightingly, for it was never possible to do
that--but in a careless off-hand manner, of the performances of ‘country
corps,’ and to assume that, in 1864, as in 1860, London is still giving
the tone to the provinces in all matters connected with volunteering.
But, if the regiments sent up from Lancashire, Nottingham, Warwick, and
Derbyshire, are average specimens of those in other parts of England,
the metropolis must look to its laurels, and that without delay.

“It is true that all the established favourites of the London Volunteer
garrison were on the field on Saturday afternoon, and in no degree
lessened their former high repute. The South Middlesex, for example,
were present in large numbers, and the perfect evenness, as to merit, of
the companies, shewed the good results of the internal competitive
examinations instituted in that corps. The London Scottish, steady and
precise, repaid the trouble taken by Lord Elcho, while the London Rifle
Brigade, solid and sombre, upheld the credit of the City of London. The
Inns of Court, neatly dressed and smartly handled, as Rifles should be,
elicited frequent remarks of ‘We’ve not seen any like this, yet,’ and,
from one old gentleman, the plaintive soliloquy: ‘Fine fellows, very
fine fellows; what a pity there are such rogues among them!’ The
Victoria Rifles, under the Duke of Wellington, did credit to their long
and careful training, but, rating the merit of these and other corps as
high as possible, the fact cannot be got rid of that, without exception,
the finest Brigade upon the field was that commanded by Lord Grosvenor,
and composed exclusively of country corps.

“The 6th Lancashire, better known as the 1st Manchester, led the van of
this Brigade, followed by the celebrated ‘Robin Hoods.’ The late Lord
Herbert once coveted an Irish Militia regiment so much, that he almost
infringed the rules of the Service, in the hope of transferring it
bodily into the Queen’s army. The Commander-in-Chief must be more than
mortal, or less than a soldier, if he did not cast a longing eye on
those serried files of Lincoln green. So great was the interest excited
by their appearance, that the Volunteer corps which had just made the
circuit of the field, and returned to their former positions, cheered
them enthusiastically again and again. The Birmingham, Derbyshire, and
2nd Manchester corps were almost as good; they were certainly equal to
any corps present, if the Nottingham men be deducted. Bearing in mind
that most of these Volunteers had made a journey longer than that which
metropolitan undertake when they go to Brighton, and that, in the
aggregate, they composed a Brigade of nearly 3000 men--exclusive of the
Somersetshire and Berkshire regiments, not less efficient, which were
classed in other Brigades--it will be manifest with what spirit drill
must be pursued in the provinces.

“The march-past began shortly after a quarter past six, and terminated
at two minutes past eight o’clock. It was estimated that an hour and
forty minutes would be occupied in the proceedings, from the time the
troops were set in motion, and it will be seen from this how accurately
the Volunteers must have carried out their instructions. The programme
was adhered to with such literal fidelity, that the occasion was almost
devoid of incidents. The directions as to equalizing the strength of
companies had, on the whole, been very fairly attended to, but there
were still some instances in which blank files--say a regiment of grey
uniform, had been filled up with ‘casuals’ dressed in green,
inconsistencies which detract very much from the appearance of a
regiment on parade, and ought not to be allowed by officers in command.
Moreover, there is a manifest want of head somewhere, when a mounted
officer sits his horse as if it was an easy chair, and lounges past the
flag-staff without giving himself the trouble to draw his sword; and
when the tallest member of a cadet corps struts by in plain clothes and
a ‘billycock’ hat. Matters like these, the Volunteers, for their own
credit, will do well to keep their eyes upon, as they would never be
tolerated in the military service to which it is their desire to
approximate as closely as possible.

“When the last corps had passed the flag-staff, and it became evident
that the Prince and Princess of Wales were about to leave the ground,
there was one general impulsive rush to see and cheer them. The carriage
in which the Princess sat was surrounded in a moment, swallowed up,
almost climbed into, by eager thousands, who bestowed upon her Royal
Highness such a greeting as has not been heard since she passed through
London on the day of her public entry. It was with the utmost difficulty
that a way was at last cleared for the carriage to take its departure,
but, once it was in motion, a troop of Lancers, forming in rear, was
enabled to check the pressure.”

The next, and last occasion, up to date, of a Review in Hyde Park was on
July 1st, 1876, when the Prince of Wales reviewed about 30,000
Volunteers, and _The Times_ of July 3rd thus criticizes it.

“The review of Volunteers on Saturday, in Hyde Park, was a complete
success. There were some trifling errors, due to inexperience, and in
the interest of the Volunteers themselves, we shall not hesitate to
point out such as fell under our observation; but there can be no
question that the force has entered on a new stage in its history. All
competent critics seem to agree that the whole tone has altered for the
better. It is difficult to define the exact meaning of the word
‘soldier-like,’ but no other word nor phrase would express so well what
the Volunteers failed to be a few years ago, and what they are now.
Formerly, at any great assembly, like that on Saturday, there was noise
and fuss on parade, unsteadiness in the ranks, want of due obedience and
discipline, bad marching, carried off by a sort of defiant recklessness,
which said, ‘We could do better if we would, but we don’t choose;’ and,
speaking generally, the absence of all the qualities which, from time
immemorial, have been held to characterize the true soldier.

“On Saturday, there was a radical change. The battalions which paraded
in different parts of London were quiet, orderly, and obedient. They
waited patiently for their commanding Generals, and obeyed orders with
complete docility. They were composed of good-looking, well drilled men,
whose anxiety to deserve commendation was as conspicuous as formerly was
their determination to have praise whether they deserved it or not.
There was little talking in the ranks, and less confusion. The result
was a general steadiness and dignity of demeanour which carried them
well through a day full of difficulties, and gained the respect of all
the officers of the Regular forces who had to deal with them.

“There were, of course, some exceptions to the rule, and we must confess
to a feeling of positive annoyance against those men who absented
themselves from their regiments during the march-past, or joined them
only when they were drawn up in the Park. We saw numerous instances of
men pushing their way through the lines of spectators a very short time
before the arrival of the Prince, and others never joined at all. It may
be ungracious to point out this fault on the part of men who came to
Hyde Park at their own expense, and, naturally enough, found many an
Armida to tempt them from the weary parade; but the Volunteers may be
assured that the fact attracted much attention, and elicited many an
unfavourable remark. The absence of men from the ranks till the last
moment, and sometimes altogether, had a direct tendency to spoil the
look of those ranks on parade, and was probably the cause of the
irregular ‘sizing,’ which was so conspicuous in some of the battalions.
Tall men and short men were mingled together, standing anyhow side by
side, and the bad effect for parade purposes was very evident.

“Yet in common fairness we must consider what many of the Volunteers had
been about. Some of them, and by no means the worst regiments, had come
from the Midland counties by train, and moved to their places of
rendezvous, where they had long to wait before the order to march-off
came. It is said that many men who appeared before the Prince at
half-past 5, had been at work that morning, up to 1 o’clock, at
Nottingham. This much, at least, is certain, that they had walked or
marched from their homes to the station, performed a long railway
journey, and then marched again through the streets of London.
Doubtless, such as these needed refreshment, and nothing was more
satisfactory than the fact that they did not refresh themselves so much
as to appear other than steady on parade. Indeed, we are under the
impression that the offenders were not chiefly from the country.”

From this time there has been no great military display in Hyde Park: it
is unsuitable for it, and the grass is quite enough spoilt by the mobs
of fanatic, idle, mischievous, or seditious persons who there assemble
at oft-recurring intervals, and destroy the peace and comfort of those,
who are the vast majority, who wish to enjoy the verdant pleasures of
the Park. Besides, railways have multiplied, and the facilities of
holding real reviews and military manœuvres in places where there is
far more room, have so increased, that it is probable that we have seen
the last great military gathering in the Park. The Foot Guards still
assemble here occasionally for exercise, and in the autumn it is a
favourite spot for the annual inspection of Volunteer regiments, but
then these are inspected singly, and without fuss.

It now becomes my very disagreeable task to chronicle the scenes of
disorder which have taken place in the Park, and which, owing to the
growth of democratic feeling, have only occurred this century, our
ancestors being wisely content to use the Park as a place of sensible
recreation, or at the very worst, as one for settling private
differences quietly, and without observation. The change begun in 1821
at the removal of the corpse of Queen Caroline, wife of George IV., but
this was unpremeditated, and need not have occurred. This took place on
August 14.

It is not my place to comment on the marital relations of the King and
Queen, or of the behaviour of the latter, who stood her trial and was
acquitted of the charges brought against her. Suffice it to say that
the popular voice was in her favour, and, on the occasion of the removal
of her body to Brunswick (her final resting-place), the natural and most
direct route lay through the City. Those in authority knew what an
ovation the corpse would receive if it went that way, and sought to take
a different route. From Brandenburgh House, where the Queen died,
through Hammersmith, to turn round by Kensington Gravel Pits, near the
church, into the Uxbridge Road, to Bayswater: thence to Tyburn turnpike,
down the Edgware Road, along the New Road to Islington, down the City
Road, Old Street, Mile End, to Romford, etc.

But this the mob would not allow: the corpse _should go through the
City_, and _The Morning Chronicle_ of Aug. 15 gives the following
account of how the procession fared.

“It was at eight o’clock in the morning, when the procession reached
Kensington Church, that public opinion made its first indication; the
whole procession was suspended. The multitude, proceeding from the
eastward, here assumed a determined attitude. The first object was the
seizure of an ammunition-waggon, with an escort of the Foot Guards. The
soldiers endeavoured to maintain their charge, but the pressure of the
crowd rendered their efforts impotent; the ammunition-waggon was turned
into an engine of defensive war. The people were determined not to let
the Royal remains be smuggled through a bye-lane. Waggons, carts,
hackney-coaches, with the lynchpins taken out, were, almost by a
talismanic agency, converted into a barrier of obstruction, calculated
to prevent the progress to the New Road. After two hours delay, an
express having been, it was understood, sent to the Earl of Liverpool, a
detachment of the Life Guards, with Sir Robert Baker at their head, at
full gallop, with sabres drawn, reached the High Street, Kensington, at
twenty-two minutes past 10. He, with the military officers, reconnoitred
the position taken by the people, and they at once perceived that the
passage by Kensington Gravel-pits was impossible. When it was announced
that the Royal _cortège_ was to proceed along the Hyde Park Road, the
interest of the public feeling was then strenuously directed to prevent
its being directed into Hyde Park. The cry was for ‘The City, the City,
the City,’ etc. At the request of Mr. Hume, the ammunition-waggon, which
was the first seizure, was released by the people.

“The Park now presented the spectacle of an immense multitude. As far as
the eye could reach, the space was covered with umbrellas. Some of the
Life Guards rode to and fro, which seemed to excite much displeasure
among the crowd, which was testified by hissings and hootings. When the
head of the procession reached Cumberland Gate, about half-past 12, a
stoppage took place; the people crowded and wedged together at the end
of Oxford Street and the gates were not very willing nor very able to
make way. We saw an officer ride down Park Lane, for the purpose, as it
appeared, of bringing up another body of soldiers. A troop of Horse
Guards then appeared, and galloped at full speed towards the gate.

“As the Horse Guards advanced towards Cumberland Gate the people
crowded forward, and manifested an intention of preventing the hearse
from passing through. The Guards, who were not only hissed, but pelted
with mud and stones, attempted to proceed, but the crowd rushed forward
and closed one side of the gate. The soldiers then charged upon the
people, and the gate was forced open, but was again closed for a few
moments. The soldiers having at length got through, were again pelted
with mud and stones. Some persons attempted to block up the entrance to
the Edgware Road, and posts, stones, etc., were torn up for that
purpose. The Guards now charged a second time, and many severe wounds
were inflicted. The Riot Act having (as we understand) been read by Sir
R. Baker, the Horse Guards fired upon the people, and did serious
injury. One of the sufferers is a man named Honey, a cabinet-maker,
Compton St., Soho; he lies at the General Wetherell, Oxford Street, and
has just been recognized by his brother. Another lies dead at Mr.
Lightfoot’s, surgeon, Oxford Street. An unfortunate man who had been
carried to the hospital, shortly afterwards died of his wounds. The
firing, single shots, lasted four or five minutes, during which period
it is impossible to describe the distress and confusion which prevailed;
men and women were seen running in all directions, endeavouring to avoid
the attacks of the soldiers, who brandished their swords, and pushed
forward with the most determined boldness and intrepidity.

“We must here observe, that the Oxford Blues took no part whatever in
this attack upon the people--their conduct throughout was highly
praiseworthy. The obstructions to the entrance of the Edgware Road
having been at length removed, the procession moved forward, but not
quietly. The people continued throwing mud, and calling out ‘Piccadilly
Butchers,’ and ‘The Blues for ever.’”

The people had their way. When the procession came to Tottenham Court
Road, it was found that the New Road, Hampstead Road, and all the
streets near, were so barricaded, that it was utterly impossible to
proceed. It, therefore, turned down Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury
High Street, High Holborn, Drury Lane, to the Strand. The Lord Mayor and
one of the Sheriffs met it at the foot of Ludgate Hill, and accompanied
it to the City boundary, in Aldgate. After turning down Tottenham Court
Road, and it was certain that the popular will would be carried out, all
went with the utmost decorum, and the passage of the body through the
City was quiet and reverential.


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Commencement of the reign of King Mob--Sunday Trading Bill,
     1855--Riots--Withdrawal of the Bill--Meetings about high price of
     food, 1855--Rough play and window smashing.

This riot was accidental and unpremeditated. We now come to the reign of
King [Greek: dêmos] in the Park, and it began on Sunday, July 1, 1855,
in a demonstration against Lord Robert Grosvenor’s “Sunday Trading
Bill”--the following account of which is abridged from _The Times_ of
July 2, 1855.

“Three o’clock was the advertised time for the proceedings to begin,
and, notwithstanding that Sir Richard Mayne[50] had had placards posted
in the metropolis, announcing that the meeting would not be allowed to
take place, long before that hour Constitution Hill, and the walks in
St. James’s Park, were literally crowded by thousands, who were all
wending their way towards Hyde Park. By half-past two o’clock there must
have been nearly 150,000 men, women and children present. Many, judging
from their dress, were of the respectable class. The proceedings began
by the usual stump oratory, which continued for some time, until a cry
of ‘the Police’ being raised put an abrupt termination to it.

“About 30 or 40 policemen made their way towards the man, but he had
decamped, and a great number of men, finding that he was not allowed to
address them, commenced hissing and hooting at the police, and some
cried out, ‘Down with the Crushers!’ This gave rise to an extraordinary
scene of confusion. Some of the men commenced knocking the constables’
hats off, and, to protect themselves, the men were obliged to use their
truncheons with considerable force. Several carriages containing company
came in sight, when every one present commenced crying out, ‘Go to
church,’ and ‘Take your horses out.’ The police, finding that this
frightened the horses, commenced seizing those who uttered the
expressions. In return, the crowd laid hold of the officers, and
endeavoured to rescue their prisoners. Of course, this could not be
allowed, and the police were compelled to use their staves vigorously,
and with marked effect on the mob--but they kept their prisoners, and
sent them off to the police-station in cabs. One man, to escape capture,
plunged into the Serpentine, but had not got more than half across, when
he seemed likely to sink. He was rescued by an officer of the Royal
Humane Society, and duly was enrolled in the ranks of the captured. The
police were heavily reinforced, and the riot was put down--but not
before 104 rioters were lodged in the police cells, who were in time
dealt with by the magistrate.

“On the next day, Lord Robert Grosvenor withdrew the objectionable Bill;
but this did not satisfy the mob, who met again in Hyde Park on the
following Sunday, 8th July, but, finding no excitement there, they went
into Belgravia, and took to the pleasant pastime of window smashing,
the houses which suffered most being those of the Earl of Sefton, Duke
of Marlborough, Lady Somers, Count Kielmansegge, and the Archbishop of
York. Lord Palmerston, who was then Prime Minister, and Lord Brougham,
both had a narrow escape from stoning.”

This making Hyde Park a Cave of Adullam, was too great a novelty to be
let rest; so we find, that it being war time, and provisions somewhat
high, a meeting must needs be held to talk about the high price of
food--and one took place on Sunday, 14th October, 1855. _The Times_ of
next day says:--

“For many days past large placards have been posted on the hoardings
about London, deploring the present high price of bread, setting forth
possible causes and certain remedies for the evil, and calling on the
working men of the metropolis to meet in ‘Our Park’ on Sunday next
(yesterday) for the purpose of giving expression to their feelings on
the subject, and taking measures for bringing about a change in so sad a
state of affairs. Accordingly, yesterday, about 2 o’clock, great numbers
of persons were found wending their way towards the Park, where already
had assembled many, not of the best orders of society, and of those
itinerant gentry who ply their various callings on such occasions.

“Until 3 o’clock nothing of an unusual character occurred; but, shortly
after the hour named, a movement towards the centre of the Park gave
indication of something exciting, and a rush from all parts to the point
of attraction brought together, of a sudden, a crowd that continually
increased, until, at last, as many as 5000 persons must have assembled
together, the majority of them being of respectable appearance. All the
available men of the police force, and those who would have been,
otherwise, off duty for the day, were disposed about the Park, in case
their services should be required, but not the slightest interference in
the subsequent proceedings took place.

“Presently, two immense rings were formed, and a man of serious aspect,
with a profusion of hair about his face, made his way to one of the
spaces thus made, and addressed the people. He said he was a
hard-working man; that it was no vain desire for popularity that had
induced him to leave his large family on the Sabbath for the purpose of
meeting his fellows in Hyde Park; it was because he believed he had it
in his power to help his fellow-countrymen to a right understanding of
the purpose for which they had assembled together. After two of the most
plenteous harvests that ever blessed the earth, bread was at famine
prices. The war was set forth as the cause of this. There was plenty of
corn in Turkey, which could be imported at 20_s._ a quarter, and yet
Russian corn at 73_s._ a quarter was permitted to be brought over. The
speaker, who was said to be an eloquent carpenter, had proceeded in this
strain for upwards of an hour, when a counter-agitation seemed to be
rising within twenty yards of the crowd which had gathered around him.

“A baker by trade was endeavouring to defend the corn-factors and landed
proprietors, against whom his opponent had been inveighing; but the mob
was in no humour to listen to the ‘other side,’ and a cry of ‘Out with
him’ having been raised, the baker was pushed and dragged, and carried
off in the direction of the Marble Arch. Two or three gentlemen
interfered to defend the unfortunate man from the usage to which his
boldness had subjected him; but he did not escape even then, and he
would, undoubtedly, have received some rough treatment, had not a body
of police appeared to the rescue. The inspector on duty at that spot
evidently saw an admirable chance of giving a favourable turn to the
events of the day. Eight officers, surrounding the baker, trotted off
with him at a smart pace, followed by an immense number of persons,
among whom were those who appeared to be most bent on mischief; they ran
on, following the baker and his guard towards Apsley House and outside
the Park. Returning to the carpenter, whose audience had been
considerably thinned, he was found to be still holding forth; he
continued to speak and to declaim against ‘the powers that be,’ until
dusk, when he brought his harangue to a close.”

On the next Sunday, Oct. 21st, another meeting took place in the Park,
upon the same subject, when the same speaker congratulated his audience
on again exercising their now recognized privilege of meeting in “their
own Park.” Of course he wandered from his subject, and became violently
political. “He also propounded a plan of attaching the police to the
cause of the working classes, by appealing to them, as men and brothers,
through the intervention of tracts, adding that every citizen should be
a soldier, and every man a voter. He was winding up in a magniloquent
peroration, when a diversion in his immediate neighbourhood attracted
the attention of the greater portion of his audience towards a new
object. This was an unfortunate young man dressed in livery, apparently
an officer’s servant, whom a great crowd was chasing, hooting, and
pelting with turf. What umbrage he had given them--whether it was his
connection with a wealthy or an aristocratic master, as indicated by his
dress, or what else, it was difficult to ascertain. Some said he had
been circulating a tract among the crowd which was obnoxious to them;
others, that he was the servant of a nobleman equally obnoxious; but be
that as it may, he was followed and pelted without mercy for a
considerable distance. Being hotly pressed, he took refuge behind a
tree, but this availed him little, and he started afresh, but only to be
subjected to renewed ill-treatment. At last he took to his heels,
contrived to elude or outstrip his tormentors, and to get beyond their

“This incident over, the idler and more wanton part of the crowd amused
themselves by throwing tufts of grass and other missiles at a number of
police who had returned in front of the magazine guard-house, from
protecting the unfortunate footman. This continued for some little time,
and, at one time, looked threatening; but the policemen, who showed the
greatest forbearance under the annoyance, contrived to separate, and the
delinquents gradually became tired of the fun. Proceeding, after this,
in the direction of the Marble Arch, to a spot where a crowd had
collected, we found another orator holding forth in a style of rude
eloquence, which, both in its matter and manner, was not without its
attractions to many. He was relating the history of the appropriation of
land in this country, and, at the point when we came within reach of his
voice, he was telling how William the Conqueror parcelled out the
English territory among his followers. Another philanthropist, with a
brown-paper parcel under his arm, and somewhat advanced in life, was
advocating, in another part of the Park, the system of Communism as a
panacea for the high price of food and almost every other evil.”

Of the next meeting _The Times_ of October 29, 1855, says, “Yesterday
(Sunday) another unseemly assemblage of persons congregated in Hyde
Park, partly under the auspices, and at the bidding of a small knot of
individuals who, under the pretext of agitating for cheap bread, really
seek to disseminate political doctrines, which the people of this
country, including almost every class of them, have long since, and over
and over again, refused to endorse, and who, for the last few weeks,
have converted a place to which thousands of the inhabitants of this
metropolis, of all ranks, were accustomed to resort for agreeable and
healthy recreation, into the rendezvous of a mob. It is however,
satisfactory to be able to add, on the assurance of those persons
themselves, given yesterday, and in the course of the week, that this is
to be the last of the gatherings, as far as they are concerned.” The mob
wound up their day’s amusement by smashing windows at the West End, the
value of the glass broken in Curzon Street alone being over £150.

Of course, the promise that the meeting of 28th October was to be the
last was not kept, and another, and, if possible, more disgraceful riot
took place on Sunday, November 4. Commenting upon it, _The Times_ of
next day observes:--

“Yesterday, from about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, till about nightfall,
Hyde Park was the scene of one continual riot, of a disgraceful and
intolerable description; and not the less so, perhaps, because it was
not accompanied by any serious injury to property, nor any loss of
life--results with which the mind is apt to connect great popular
tumults--though in many instances it was attended with the commission of
personal violence on a number of unoffending persons. It is a naked,
incontrovertible fact, let it bear what interpretation it may, and with
whomsoever the blame may rest, that a place set apart for the recreation
of the people of all ranks and classes, without distinction, was,
yesterday (a Sunday), almost wholly surrendered to a lawless, ruffianly
mob, without anything like an organized attempt to suppress the tumult
to which they gave themselves up, or to prevent the violence they were
ever ready to inflict, although some creditable, but isolated, and not
always successful efforts were certainly made by individual members of
the police force, at the inevitable risk of great violence to
themselves, to secure the most conspicuous of the ringleaders.

“And who were the persons, and what was their character, by whom this
reckless and unprovoked attack was made to disturb the public peace? No
section of the middle--still less of the upper class of inhabitants;
none of the community of artisans; nobody having a just, or well-defined
grievance to complain of--none even, perhaps, of the parties by whom
these Sunday gatherings were originally convened; but a pack of
contemptible boys and lads, including a large proportion of vagabonds
and ruffians of all kinds and degrees, with which this metropolis
abounds, some thousands strong in the aggregate, who had collected there
for no other purpose than that of the most wanton mischief, and from no
other but the most insensate motives.”

There was the same rioting next Sunday (11th November), only this time
some arrests were made. One man got a month’s imprisonment for
obstructing the police, another two months for assaulting two policemen,
a boy had fourteen days for disorderly conduct, and a man was fined £3
1_s._ for distributing handbills.

Sunday, 18th November, was the last of these series of riots, and on
this occasion there were plenty of police--some 700 or 800, and they
seem to have been better handled than usual. “Towards 4 o’clock a rush
was made in the direction of the bridge at the east end of the
Serpentine, and the crowd followed in considerable numbers, as did also
a portion of the police. Crossing the bridge at a run, the
crowd--chiefly boys--made for the Albert Gate, for a purpose, probably,
which had better be imagined than stated in terms; but there they were
received by two mounted inspectors and a company of policemen on foot,
who guarded the outlet, and effectually prevented their escaping into
the adjacent streets. The youngsters, thus foiled, stood for some time
in a body in front of the residence of the French ambassador, and
eventually dispersed, some returning into the Park. This incident had
the effect of thinning the crowd considerably in the middle of the
enclosure, but night had set in before those who lingered there could be
persuaded to depart. Captain Labalmondière kept moving his patrols
through and through the crowd in every direction, without any very
perceptible effect in lessening their number. At length the police
completely tired them down, and the people slowly retreated into the
streets, without, so far as we could ascertain, doing any damage.”


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Sympathy with Italy, 1859--Garibaldi riots, 1862--Reform League
     Meeting, 23rd July, 1866--Police proclamation against it--Attempt
     to hold it--Hyde Park railings destroyed.

There were no more meetings in the Park for a long time, but there was
one on Sunday, 8th May, 1859, to propose an address to the Emperor
Napoleon, sympathizing with the Emperor in the course he had taken with
respect to the war in Italy.

This meeting passed off quietly, which was a great deal more than
another did, which took place on Sunday, 28th September, 1862. This was,
presumably, to express sympathy with General Garibaldi, and to protest
against the French occupation of Rome. It was numerously attended, and
especially by large numbers of Irish labourers, whose hatred of
Garibaldi excited their fighting blood to such an extent that a serious
riot ensued, which a violent downpour of rain helped to stop. Several
arrests were made, and the prisoners duly fined.

But this was mild to what occurred the next Sunday, 5th October. The
Irish had had time to brood over it, and although “The Working Men’s
Garibaldian Fund” had not convened any meeting, it was generally
understood that something would take place. By half-past four there
must have been some 80 or 90,000 people present, and to hold them in
order there were but about 400 police, who were ordered not to interrupt
any speaker, nor, if possible to avoid it, to ascend the mound of earth,
or rubbish, which had been chosen by the speakers as the platform from
which to address the meeting. The following is _The Times_ (Oct. 6)
account of what occurred:--

“It appears that the possession of this mound of rubbish was the great
object of contention between the rival supporters of Garibaldi and the
Pope on Sunday week, and so it was yesterday. It appears to have been
first occupied by a mixed body of people, but, owing to an aggressive
movement of Irish labourers, it was soon held exclusively by the
champions of the Papacy. The Garibaldians submitted reluctantly to this
state of things for a short time, and, when two or three soldiers
appeared, belonging to the Foot Guards, a cry was raised for
‘Garibaldi’, and some dozen or so men attempted to regain a footing upon
the mound.

“This was the signal for a fearful conflict. It became apparent, in a
moment, that almost every Irishman had a stick or bludgeon in his
possession, and with these they struck about them right and left,
crushing hats and breaking heads with relentless brutality. The
Garibaldians struck back in return, some with sticks, and some without,
and, for some ten minutes, the struggle was sufficiently fierce to
awaken fears among the spectators that loss of life would ensue. One
stalwart Irishman laid about him with a heavy-looking stick four feet
long and two inches in diameter, and another with a roughly squared
piece of wood, equally long and equally strong, and with sharp edges,
until both were disarmed by the Garibaldians, without the intervention
of the police.

“At the end of this struggle the Irish remained masters of the ‘Redan,’
as it was termed; but suddenly there came up about a dozen
soldiers--Coldstreams and Grenadiers--who shouted for Garibaldi, and
charged up the mound with desperate gallantry. Twice they charged in
vain, but the third charge was successful. Up they went, amid loud
cheers, and cries of ‘Go it, brave Guards,’ and followed by some 200
people. The front ranks of the Irish gave way; then there was another
fierce struggle with sticks and fists on the summit of the mound, and
then the Irish were kept off to a man, leaving the position in the hands
of the Guards and the Garibaldians. Suddenly some sticks and stones were
thrown at them from below, and the Guards plunged down to punish the
aggressors. Away went the Irish, away went the Guards in pursuit, and,
in a minute, a dense disorderly mass of 5000 or 6000 people was flying
across the Park, spreading fear and confusion around them.

“Like a herd of infuriated oxen, they rushed onward, carrying all before
them, till it seemed to occur to them that they were running for
nothing, and then they returned to the mound. This occurred again and
again, women being sometimes thrown down and trampled upon, and men
compelled to turn and fly, till the wonder was that serious injuries
were not inflicted upon many. Then, at short intervals, whenever the
police fixed their eyes on some prominent aggressor, they made a plunge
into the heaving mass, and resolutely brought out their man, generally,
but not always, succeeded in conveying him away in safe custody. It is
impossible to overrate the cool manner in which they set to work. Three
or four officers would thrust themselves fearlessly into a mob of 200 or
300 infuriated men, collar one, cling to him, and hold him, despite the
attempts made to favour his escape, never drawing a staff, nor striking
a blow but holding their man by the bare assertion of the authority of
the law, and this not for a brief period, but during the course of
several hours.

“The Guards and the Garibaldians having firmly established their
supremacy, quiet reigned, at one time for about a quarter of an hour;
and, taking advantage of this interval of rest, a working man, came
forward, who, in a brief speech, denounced the Emperor of the French as
the would-be Dictator of Europe, and the enemy of Italy, the opponent of
liberty everywhere, and, above all, the hater of liberty in England. In
conclusion he called for three cheers for Garibaldi, which were lustily
given, and, when he asked all those who sympathized with Garibaldi to
hold up their hands, a forest of dirty hands were extended.

“Then another speaker followed, who, with great common sense, said,
‘Enough has been done. It had been made plain to the world that the
feeling of the people of London was in favour of the great patriot,
Garibaldi; and with that assurance, they might settle down without any
more speeches.’ This speaker had hardly concluded when the tumult was
renewed, the mound being lost and won several times, and the rushes
through the Park followed close upon each other; while conflicts with
sticks and stones were both frequent and severe. Knives were drawn
several times, and one formidable weapon, apparently a shoemaker’s
knife, with a wooden handle, and a blade nine inches long, was taken
from a man, who said he found it lying on the grass after one of the
tumultuous rushes. This was delivered up to Sergeant Savage, who
forthwith shivered the blade to fragments.

“During one of the assaults upon the mound, a corporal in the
Coldstreams had his bayonet snatched from its sheath, and later in the
afternoon when it was recovered, the Irishman who had taken it was
soundly thrashed, and threatened with a ducking in the Serpentine,
towards which he was carried by several soldiers, who, however, yielded
to the persuasion of others, and permitted him to go at large.

“At half-past five, two strong pickets, one of Grenadiers, and one of
the Fusileers, marched into the Park, for the purpose of carrying off
the men belonging to their respective battalions. They marched straight
to the mound, and, just as they ascended it, a soldier received a
terrific blow on the head from a thick club, wielded by an Irishman. The
blood ran down the face of the soldier, who was led away in a fainting
condition, his dastardly assailant escaping by plunging into a mass of
his sympathizing countrymen. After this, the pickets cleared the mound,
of which they held possession till a body of police approached, half an
hour later, when the military power yielded to the civil. From that
time the police held the mound, and, although there was a great deal of
disorderly and tumultuous rushing to and fro, with an occasional
scuffle, and wholesale destruction of hats, the fear of any very serious
outbreak was passed. The people had begun to disperse at five o’clock,
when a few drops of rain fell, and gradually thinned afterwards. But a
fine moonlight night was the means of prolonging the demonstration; at
seven o’clock, there were still some thousands of people remaining on
the ground, and it was late before the Park was restored to its usual
peaceful aspect.”

During the next week a strong body of men were engaged in levelling the
objectionable mounds, the Guards were forbidden to enter the Park on the
following Sunday, and a notice was issued by the Commissioner of

“WHEREAS numbers of persons have been in the habit of assembling and
holding meetings on Sundays in Hyde Park, and the other parks in the
metropolis, for the purpose of delivering and hearing speeches, and for
the public discussion of popular and exciting topics; and, whereas such
meetings are inconsistent with the purposes for which the parks are
thrown open to, and used by the public; and the excitement occasioned by
such discussions at such meetings has frequently led to tumults and
disorder, so as to endanger the public peace; and on last Sunday and the
Sunday before, large numbers assembled in Hyde Park, for the purposes
aforesaid, and, when so assembled, conducted themselves in a disorderly
and riotous manner, so as to endanger the public peace; and, by the use
of sticks, and throwing stones and other missiles, committed many
violent assaults upon persons quietly passing along the Park, and
interrupted the thoroughfares; and, whereas it is necessary to prevent
such illegal proceedings in future:

“Notice is hereby given, that no such meeting, or assemblage of persons,
for any of the purposes aforesaid, will be allowed, hereafter, to take
place in any of the parks in the metropolis; and all well-disposed
persons are hereby cautioned and requested to abstain from joining, or
attending any such meeting or assemblage.

“And notice is further given, that all necessary measures will be
adopted to prevent any such meeting, or assemblage, and effectually to
preserve the public peace, and to suppress any attempt at the
disturbance thereof.


“The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

“October 9.”

The appearance of about 800 policemen in the Park, and a pitiless rain
in the afternoon of the 12th October, probably prevented a repetition of
the scene of the 5th, as a sufficient number of suspicious characters
were there, but did not stop long. There was an attempt, in Ireland, to
get up a subscription for the injured Irish, but I cannot find that it
met with any success.

For three or four years the Park was not troubled with noisy demagogues,
until there arose an association called “The Reform League,” of whom a
Mr. Edmond Beales, a barrister, was a prime mover. This association gave
out publicly that they would hold a meeting in Hyde Park on Monday,
July 23rd, 1866, and Sir Richard Mayne, in consequence, issued the
following notice on July 17th:--

“WHEREAS information has been received, and it has been publicly
announced in various printed notices, that it is the intention of
certain persons to assemble in the open air at several places in various
parts of the metropolis on the evening of Monday, July 23rd, and to walk
from thence through the streets in procession, with banners, and
preceded by bands of music, to Hyde Park, to hold a meeting there for
the purposes of political demonstration and discussion:

“And, whereas such a meeting, being inconsistent with the purposes for
which the Park is thrown open to, and used by the public, is illegal,
and cannot be permitted, and such an assemblage there of large numbers
of persons is calculated to lead to riotous and disorderly conduct, and
to endanger the public peace:

“And, whereas it is necessary to prevent such proceedings, and to
preserve the public peace: notice is hereby given that NO such MEETING,
or ASSEMBLAGE of persons in large numbers will be allowed to TAKE PLACE
in Hyde Park, and all well-disposed persons are hereby cautioned and
requested to abstain from joining, or attending any such meeting, or
assemblage; and notice is further given, that all necessary measures
will be adopted to prevent any such meeting, or assemblage, and
effectually to preserve the public peace, and to suppress any attempt at
the disturbance thereof.”

A copy of this notice was sent by the Commissioner to Mr. Beales, with a
request that he would exert his influence to prevent any attempt to
hold the meeting. This, in his reply to Sir Richard Mayne, Mr. Beales
declined to do, unless he could be shown by what statute, or law, or
principle of law, the Commissioner was acting in declaring the meeting
illegal: and he went on to say, “The Park is either the property of the
nation, as there are strong reasons for contending it is, under the
transactions which have taken place between the Crown and the people,
through Parliament, respecting it; or it is still Crown property, though
kept up and maintained out of the public purse. If the former be the
fact, where is your authority for excluding the public from their own
property? If the latter be the case, then show me that you are acting
under the express authority of the Crown, as claiming to be the
exclusive owner of the Park.”

An attempt was made to carry out the meeting, and the following is a
portion of _The Times_ account of it. “Meanwhile vast crowds had
collected in the neighbourhood of Hyde Park. A force of foot and mounted
police, numbering 1600, or 1800, were assembled under the direction of
Sir Richard Mayne and Captain Harris, and at 5 o’clock the gates were
closed. Before that hour a considerable number of people had collected
inside, in order to witness what was about to take place, and these were
permitted to remain there. Outside, the throng was, as might be
supposed, much greater. Masses of people had assembled at all the
approaches. The Marble Arch was the centre of attraction, and for an
hour or two previous to the proposed commencement of the demonstration,
traffic was seriously impeded. The windows and balconies of the
neighbouring houses were also crowded with spectators.

“Shortly after 7 o’clock Mr. Edmond Beales, Lieut. Col. Dickson, and
other leading members of the Reform League, in a line of cabs which
headed the Clerkenwell, Islington and other processions, advanced to the
Arch; and, the sub-committee having succeeded in making a clear passage,
Mr. Beales and his friends went up to the police, who were drawn up in
line, staves in hand, some of them being mounted. The crowd immediately
closed in, and endeavoured, by an ‘ugly rush,’ to effect admission. The
police used their staves freely to defeat this attempt; and, it is
stated that both Mr. Beales and Col. Dickson were struck in the scuffle.
At any rate, after having been refused admission, and having raised the
question in the form they desired, they went back to their vehicles,
and, with some difficulty, managed to make their way through the crowd,
in order to proceed to Trafalgar Square, there to hold the meeting,
according to the programme which had been laid down.

“Printed bills were distributed among the various detachments as they
came up from Clerkenwell, Southwark, Finsbury, etc., directing them not
to attempt to force an entrance into the Park, but to proceed to
Trafalgar Square. It is much easier, however, to collect throngs of
people, than to keep them in leading-strings when collected; and a large
portion of the ‘masses’ were not disposed to follow implicitly the
instructions of their leaders. The gates, it is true, were strongly
fortified, but to throw down the railings seemed a feasible
undertaking, and this was promptly attempted. The police, indeed,
hastened to every point that was attacked, and, for a short time, kept
the multitude at bay; but their numbers were utterly insufficient to
guard so long a line of frontier, and breach after breach was made, the
stonework, together with the railings, yielding easily to the pressure
of the crowd. The first opening was made in the Bayswater Road, where
the police, rushing to the spot, prevented, for a time, any considerable
influx of people; but they could not be ubiquitous, and along Park Lane
especially a great extent of railing was speedily overturned, till in
the end the crowd entered _ad libitum_.

“A good deal of scuffling attended these incursions. The police brought
their truncheons into active use, and a number of the roughs were
somewhat severely handled. One man, who was stated to be a mechanic,
named Field, received serious injury on the head, and was carried off
insensible to St. George’s Hospital. It is said that he had just thrown
a brickbat at a policeman. A man named Tyler, living at New Road,
Chelsea, also received blows on the head, and was taken to the hospital,
as were, likewise, others, whose injuries were of a less serious
character. The police, on the other hand, did not come off unscathed.
One of them, named Penny, received a thrust in the side from an iron
bar; another was knocked off his horse by sticks and stones, and several
others sustained slight injuries. Stones were thrown at Sir Richard
Mayne, who, as well as his men, was much hooted. Between forty and fifty
persons were taken into custody in the vicinity of the Marble Arch, and
about as many more at the other approaches. Many of the leaders of the
crowd exerted themselves to prevent a breach of the peace, and Mr.
Bradlaugh got considerably hustled for so doing, falling under the
suspicion of being a Government spy.

“About eight o’clock, a company of the Grenadier Guards, and a troop of
the Life Guards, entered the Park, but it was then too late to prevent
the influx of people; for though the gates were still jealously guarded,
breaches had been effected in every direction in the palings, and the
military, who were loudly cheered by the crowd, confined themselves to
manœuvres, the only effect of which was to oblige the mob
occasionally to shift their position. The numbers in the park were, by
this time, very large; and although, of course, there were a
considerable number of ‘roughs,’ who look on the police as their natural
enemies, many of the persons present appeared to be quiet and
respectably-dressed people who had simply been attracted by curiosity,
and showed no uproarious, nor even any political proclivities. Speeches
were made at various spots, one of the orators being a Miss Harriet
Laws, who delivered a very fervid address on the political and social
rights of the people.”

_The Times_ of next day (July 25th) says:--

“Yesterday morning Hyde Park presented, along its eastern extremity, a
pitiable spectacle. Between the Marble Arch and Grosvenor Gate the
railings were entirely demolished, and the flower-beds were ruined.
Between the Grosvenor and Stanhope Gates, moreover, not a railing
remained erect, those not actually levelled being forced considerably
out of the perpendicular. This had been done out of mere wantoness,
after ingress had been effected at other points, as was evident from the
fact of the flowers and shrubs having escaped damage. On the north and
south sides of the Park much damage had also been done, the railings
having been overturned in numerous places. In many cases the masonry had
given way, and was still attached to the ironwork, while in others the
rails had been forced from their sockets; and one could not but reflect
what appalling results might have ensued had the mob used them as
weapons. The trees and shrubs were greatly injured, and, in fact, the
appearance of the north-western portion of the Park was as if it had
been overrun by an invading army. Waggons were engaged, yesterday, in
removing the broken railings and shattered masonry, and a considerable
sum will, certainly, be required to restore the Park to its original


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Reform League Meeting of 25th July, 1866--Burning a
     tree--Stone-throwing--Temporizing policy of the Government--Special
     constables sworn in--Meeting abandoned--Return of police
     injured--Meeting of “Working Men’s Rights Association,”
     1867--Reform League Meeting of 6th May, 1867--Police warning--Legal
     opinions--Meeting held--Meeting on 5th August, 1867.

But the London rough had tasted blood, and as a Reform Meeting was to be
held in the Park on 25th, they gathered there in force. How the Park
looked may be judged from the following, in _The Times_ of July 26th:--

“The gathering in Hyde Park yesterday was, on the whole, probably of a
more respectable and orderly character than on the previous day. It was
generally believed that the rioting would diminish, if not entirely
cease, and that the Government would adopt such precautions as would be
likely to conduce to that result. The Park was, consequently, visited by
large numbers of persons desirous of viewing the havoc which had been
committed by the mob. During the morning, however, and the earlier
portion of the afternoon, the roughs congregated largely, and spread
themselves over the Park in search of amusement. For some time, this
amusement appeared to be derivable only from an increase of the general
destruction. The plantations especially have suffered severely from the
hands of a ruthless mob, who appear, for the most part, to comprise the
lowest scum of the London population. Shrubs and saplings have been
broken near the ground, or forcibly torn out by the roots; and, in
several instances, where the young trees were able to defy the strength
of the attacks, the bark has been pealed off in every direction. This
state of things is especially perceivable on the side of the Park facing
the Bayswater Road; and from the Marble Arch for some little way down
the Park Lane side, damage of a similar nature, but much less extensive,
has been committed. Below Grosvenor Gate, however, the flower-beds
remain untouched, the people, in entering the Park on Monday night,
having seemingly avoided them. The railings lie in all directions,
mingled with broken stones; for, as a rule, the wall itself seems to
have given way, the railings, in many instances, though overthrown,
still being connected for yards.

“In the Park itself, however, the damage, though not so great, is even
more apparent. Many of the young trees have been broken off close to the
ground, while branches have been wrenched off in all directions. Some
little distance from the Marble Arch stands, or rather stood till
yesterday morning, one of those venerable trunks, covered with foliage,
which always invest the spots where they are to be found with an air of
picturesqueness and wild beauty. But this tree has now shared in the
general fate. After the mob had run riot over the plantations, the
dryness and age of the trunk presented a temptation which it was
evidently impossible for them to resist. They gathered together as much
dry wood as they could find, and placed it at the foot of the tree,
setting light to the pile. Dry as tinder, it was soon on fire, and
throughout the day and night the smouldering tree afforded continual
amusement. The police would not--at all events, did not--interfere, but
two or three of the park-keepers were attracted to the spot by the crowd
and the smoke. The roughs, however, were masters of the situation, and
the keepers were consequently informed that if they remained long in the
neighbourhood they would stand a good chance of being roasted. The
fellows looked as if they would not require much provocation to induce
them to fulfil their threat; and the keepers, fully believing discretion
to be the better part of valour, at once beat a retreat.

“Even a burning tree, however rare as the sight is, will fail after a
time to satisfy a London mob’s craving for mischief, and the fellows
soon began to exert themselves in other ways. They attempted to fire
some more trees, but without success, and then returned to the old
trunk, where they occasionally diversified the proceedings by an
exhilarating _mélée_ with brickbats, stones, and pieces of burning wood.
It was soon found that on being struck by a stick, the burning trunk
would send forth showers of sparks, and the young trees in the
neighbourhood were denuded of their branches, and in some instances
broken off bodily for service in this way. But something still more
exciting was needed, and it was soon determined in what quarter this
might be obtained. The roughs then seized possession of the gates at the
Marble Arch, and closed them, after which they commenced stoning the
riders and the carriages passing along the drive in the Park, extending
their favours in some instances to the more respectably dressed
pedestrians and lookers on. These excesses rendered the interference of
the police indispensable, and, accordingly, a strong reinforcement soon
arrived. A fight, of course, ensued, in which stones formed the
favourite weapons of the one side, and truncheons of the other. Several
men were captured and confined in the Arch, until about five o’clock,
when they were removed in cabs to the police-station.

“From five o’clock, the crowd increased considerably, but the fresh
arrivals comprised a large proportion of respectable working men, who
appeared, for the most part, to be actuated only by curiosity. Some
short time afterwards, Mr. Beales and some of his friends came into the
park. Mr. Beales was, of course, immediately surrounded by an admiring
multitude, and for the rest of the evening was the centre of attraction.
Wherever he went, he moved, so to speak, in crowds. A rumour had for
some time prevailed to the effect that the police were to be withdrawn,
and this rumour was now developed into a certainty. Mr. Beales informed
the people that his visit to Mr. Walpole had resulted in that
gentleman’s promising that the right of public meeting in the Park
should be legally tested at as early a moment as possible. Mr. Walpole
had agreed to permit the holding of a meeting in the Park on Monday
next,[51] and, in the meanwhile, it was expected that the Reformers
should abstain from any proceedings, the Government having undertaken
not to make any demonstration of police or military force. One of the
leading reformers now arrived with a paste-pot and bills; and soon the
various gates of the Park were covered with the following official


     “The Government, by the Right Hon. Spencer Walpole, the Home
     Secretary, have this day agreed with the Council of the Reform
     League, to facilitate in every way their obtaining a speedy
     decision, either in Parliament or a court of law, as to the right
     of the people to hold public meetings in the parks, and it is
     earnestly requested that in the meantime, and until the question is
     decided, no further attempt be made to hold a meeting in Hyde Park,
     except, only, on next Monday afternoon, July 30th, at 6 o’clock, by
     arrangement with the Government. And it is further earnestly
     requested that all will abstain from disorderly acts, and do
     everything in their power to preserve the peace, and protect
     property, the Government undertaking, on their part, not to make
     any further demonstration of the military or police.

“EDMOND BEALES, President.”

This had the desired effect. Several speeches were made, the mob was
congratulated on its “great and glorious victory,” and, in spite of the
bitter feeling against the police, there was no further rioting; but the
truth of the placard just given was denied by the Government, vide
_Times_, July 26th, 1866.

“A placard having been extensively circulated on behalf of the Reform
League to the effect that, in consequence of an agreement with the
Government, every facility would be given to try the legal question of
the right of the public to free admission to the parks for any purpose,
no further attempt would be made to hold a meeting in Hyde Park, except
only on next Monday afternoon; and such placard leading to the inference
that the consent of the Government had been given to such meeting, we
are authorized to state that no such consent has been given: and that on
an application from the leaders of the League to be allowed to hold such
meeting, by permission of the Crown, they were asked by the Secretary of
State for the Home Department to prefer their request in writing, that
they might receive a written reply.”

The Home Secretary in Parliament (26th July) said that, “In the meantime
it is impossible for her Majesty’s Government to sanction that which
they believe to be a violation of the law. It is added that if they
desire to hold an open-air meeting, no objection will be raised to their
meeting, as on former occasions, on Primrose Hill, but a meeting in any
of the Royal Parks will not be sanctioned.... If, after the warning
which has been given, after the voluntary offer to permit a meeting upon
Primrose Hill, they persist in what we believe to be a violation of the
law, they must be held responsible for all the consequences which must
follow from such a reckless course of procedure.”

Special constables were sworn in, the railings were removed and carted
away, and a strong hoarding about ten or eleven feet high erected in
their place. The projected meeting for 30th July was abandoned, and the
Park was once more given up to the recreation and amusement of the

Many arrests had been made, especially for throwing stones at the
police, and punishment was duly meted out. Many people were taken to the
hospitals, and there treated for injuries inflicted on them by the mob
and the police, the latter of whom, however, had suffered severely, vide
the following return (_Times_, Aug. 2nd, 1866):--

“Return of the number of each rank of Police injured during the meetings
in Hyde Park, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 23rd, 24th and 25th

“_Rendered unfit for duty._--Superintendent, 1; inspectors, 2; police
sergeants, 9; police constables, 33; total, 45.

“_Slightly injured._--Superintendents, 10; inspectors, 18; police
sergeants, 23; police constables, 170; total, 221.

“The Commissioner was struck several times by stones thrown at him; he
received a severe contusion on the side of the head, and a cut on the
temple, which blackened his eye. Each of the assistant Commissioners was
struck several times by stones thrown at them.”

Mr. Beales was, not long after, made a County Court Judge.

On 19th April, 1867, there was a meeting, convened by the “Working Men’s
Rights Association,” held in Hyde Park, for the purpose of denouncing
the Government Reform Bill, and to express their opinion “That the Parks
are the People’s, and we hereby claim the right to the use of them for
the purpose of discussing our political wrongs.” They had a red flag,
surmounted by a Cap of Liberty, but, as they were quiet, the police did
not interfere with their proceedings, although there was a reserve of
mounted and foot police at the Magazine, to act in case their services
were required.

On 17th April, 1867, it was resolved, at a meeting of the Council and
delegates of the various branches of the Reform League, “That a
demonstration of the Reformers of London be held in Hyde Park at 6
o’clock in the evening of Monday, the 6th of May.” This provoked much
comment from the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and from those who
looked upon the Park as a place of recreation and innocent enjoyment;
and on 1st May Mr. Walpole issued the following proclamation:--

“WHEREAS it has been publicly announced that a meeting will be held in
Hyde Park on Monday, the 6th of May, for the purpose of political
discussion; AND WHEREAS the use of the park for the purpose of holding
such meeting is not permitted, and interferes with the object for which
her Majesty has been pleased to open the Park for the general enjoyment
of her people: Now all persons are hereby warned and admonished to
abstain from attending, aiding, or taking part in any such meeting, or
from entering the park with a view to attend, aid, or take part in such

This was received with ridicule by some of the meeting, and Col. Dickson
elegantly pointed out that it was a very milk-and-watery affair, and
showed that there was some “funking” in official quarters; and Mr.
Bradlaugh moved a resolution which, somewhat altered in words, was
carried unanimously: “That this meeting, denying the right of S. H.
Walpole, or any other person in this realm, to issue such a
proclamation, and, regarding the parks as places open for the purpose of
holding public meetings, which are the right of all Englishmen, reply to
the proclamation, that they intend holding the meeting of Monday, and
that the consequences of endeavouring to prevent it must rest with those
who are wicked enough to take this course.”

Men’s minds were much exercised as to this meeting. Petitions, signed by
upwards of 16,000 persons in the metropolis against the proposed
demonstration in the Park, were presented to Mr. Walpole; and the
question of the law on the subject was authoritatively laid down; which
was, that in November, 1856, the law advisers of the Crown--Sir
Alexander Cockburn, Sir Richard Bethell, and Mr. (afterwards Justice)
Willes--signed an opinion to the effect that there is a right to close
the gates and exclude the public: or, the gates being open, to exclude
persons; but that persons who have once entered, cannot be turned out
without notice that the license is withdrawn.

In July, 1866, this opinion was submitted to Sir William Bovill and Sir
Hugh (afterwards Earl) Cairns, who were particularly requested to say
whether there was any legal authority to disperse by force any meeting
for political purposes in the Park.

Their answer was, that there is no such authority for any practical

They stated that when persons had once entered the Park, they could only
be ejected after notice being served on, or brought home to each
individually. Publication, they said, is not enough, for many cannot,
and many would not read, and an express warning must be shown. They
particularly impressed that the right of removal is a separate right
against each individual who has had notice. No force, therefore, can be
brought to bear against bodies, or masses, which may contain many who
have not had notice. They also said that it would not be practicable to
remove any number, individually, and prevent them from returning, and
remarked on the probability of disorder, if even an individual were
turned out. The effect, consequently, was that the Government had
nothing but the common law of trespass to rely upon.

The Government, however, relied upon the strong arm; and on May 6th
special constables were sworn in in different parts of London, whilst
the several police magistrates were in attendance at their Courts for a
like purpose. The public were officially warned that a force of over
5000 mounted and foot police would be in the Park, as well as Sir Thomas
Henry, the Chief Magistrate, upon whose word would rest the employment
of troops, who were, for that day, confined to barracks, in order to be
in readiness at a moment’s notice. But the futility of guarding the
railings and hoardings of the whole Park was so forcible that it was
determined not to attempt to keep anybody out; and, at the last moment,
it was decided to permit the demonstration, and not to interfere with
it, so long as the peace was preserved.

Well, the day came, and so did the people, in their thousands, until it
was reckoned that there were about 30,000 present; and soon after six
the speechifying began. And when that was over, the people dispersed
without the slightest disturbance worth mentioning, or without more than
a dozen policemen being, at any one time, seen upon the ground. _The
Times_ of May 7th thus winds up its account of the meeting:

“At a little before 8 o’clock most of the meetings began to disperse,
and the crowd to quit the Park, in a quiet and orderly manner. In some
cases, where the stations were quitted early, speakers not named in the
programme took the places of the official orators, and held forth for a
time; but the interest had died away, and none could retain their
audiences long, even where, in one case, the speaker was a lady, and
declaimed, with singular vehemence, about the rights of women. As the
crowd from one of the stations was leaving, one of the reformers seized
a pickpocket, who had taken a gentleman’s watch, and who succeeded in
passing it away to a confederate, in an instant. Others of the same gang
made an effort to rescue the prisoner; but, with the aid of some
detectives, who instantly came up, he was forced along in the direction
of the police barracks. Thither an immense crowd followed, which,
passing in through the narrow, funnel-shaped entrance, between walls,
made, for a time, a crowd so dense, that it seemed as if some lamentable
result would ensue. Yet the reformer and the detectives stuck to their
prisoner, and the great mass of the concourse around them most earnestly
cheered them in their endeavour to secure him. When at length he was
forced through the pressure of the mass into the station, great cheers
and clapping of hands arose on all sides at the success of the capture,
and those who at first had attempted to rescue the prisoner at once
slunk away. After this nothing worth notice occurred. Only five
prisoners were apprehended, three for picking pockets, and two for

“At ten o’clock the police and military were withdrawn; at eleven the
Park was quite clear, and all the streets adjoining even emptier than
usual. No accident of any kind took place, as far as the police were
able to ascertain.”

The Reform League had not done with Hyde Park yet awhile. On July 31,
1867, it issued the following poster and handbill:--“REFORM LEAGUE. ‘To
your tents, Oh! Israel.’--A monster meeting of the working men and other
inhabitants of the metropolis will be held in Hyde Park, on Monday
evening next, August 5th, at 7 o’clock, under the presidency of the
Reform League, to express the public indignation at the Parks
Prohibition Bill, attempted to be passed through an expiring and
self-condemned Parliament, by the enemies of all popular rights; and
also to protest against the attempt of the House of Lords to rob the
lodger of his franchise.”

The meeting duly took place, and passed away without event. The League
was on its last legs. As _The Times_ observed,--“Yesterday, however, the
League put forth its strength for a final effort, but sad to say, it
failed egregiously. It made a grand effort of despair, but it lacked the
strengthening impulse which that feeling ordinarily instils. A dull,
lethargic passiveness pervaded every movement of the demonstration.”

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Demonstrations against the Irish Church, 1868--In favour of
     Fenians, 1869--Regulations made by Commissioners of Works--Fenian
     Demonstration, 1872--A speaker sentenced--Meeting about the Eastern
     Question, 1878--Fight--Preaching in the Park--Modern
     instances--May-Day and May 6, 1894--Against the House of Lords,
     Aug. 26, 1894.

On Sunday, July 19, 1868, there was a demonstration in the Park against
the Irish Church: then there was one in favour of the Fenians in Oct.,
1869. But it is not worth chronicling all the meetings that have taken
place since the time when the Commissioners of Works settled upon the
place of public meetings, and the routine necessary before they were

_Times_, Oct. 15, 1872: “The Commissioners of Works have caused to be
erected in Hyde Park, at exactly 150 yards distance from the so-called
‘Reformers’ Tree,’[52] a granite pedestal and iron standard, surmounted
by a board, to mark the spot where it shall be lawful (and there only)
to hold public meetings, and inscribed with the following announcement:
‘The Notice Board respecting Public Addresses.--No public address may be
delivered except within 40 yards of the notice board on which this rule
is inscribed.’ The rule is to the following effect, and in addition,
posted at all the entrances to the Park: ‘No public address may be
delivered unless a written notice of the intention to deliver the same,
signed with the names and addresses of two householders residing in the
metropolis, be left at the offices of Her Majesty’s Works and Public
Buildings, at least two clear days before: such notice must state the
day and hour of intended delivery. After such notice has been received,
no other notice for the delivery of an address on the same day will be

Because the concession had been made, of course it was forthwith to be
set at nought--by a Fenian Demonstration. The following is the
commencement of an account of the meeting in _The Standard_ of Nov. 4,

“The late Mr. O’Connell was in the habit of boasting that he could drive
a coach-and-four through an Act of Parliament. The sympathizers with
political discontent, or disturbance rather, in London, transcended the
rhetorical flourish of _the_ agitator, _par excellence_, yesterday. They
had been bragging at Convention for some time past that they would hold
a meeting in Hyde Park, ‘the people’s Park,’ in the teeth of Mr. Ayrton
and the Parks Regulation Bill,[53] and yesterday they carried out their
threat. The day was the day consecrated to God’s worship, but these
disciples of ‘the revolution’ held their demonstration all the same,
evidently acting on the principle of the proverb ‘the better the day,
the better the deed.’ The object of the gathering was to seek for the
amnesty of the political prisoners (by political prisoners being
understood sundry soldiers who had forsworn their allegiance to join a
conspiracy against the Queen’s Government, and the lives of their own
comrades), and various other culprits who, under the pretence of
patriotism, had transgressed the laws that regulate the order of the
community by acts of violence.”

This led to twelve of the speakers being summoned to Marlborough Street
Police Court, and one of them, a man named Bailey, was tried before the
magistrate as a test of the whole, on Nov. 19, and fined 5_l._ or a
month’s imprisonment, but it was agreed that a case should be stated,
and taken to a higher Court, the other summonses being adjourned _sine
die_. The Appeal came on at the Queen’s Bench, on Jan. 23, 1873, before
three judges, who all concurred in affirming the conviction. The
Treasury, to the very great disgust of the Fenian sympathizers,
presented them with a bill of costs for 100_l._, but I do not know
whether it was ever paid.

The effect of licensing public meetings in Hyde Park has been to turn
that place into a bear-garden on most Sundays during fine weather, and
one-sided meetings, more or less orderly, have been held on almost every
subject, social and political. Is there a strike, the strikers must
needs go and bellow their grievances--be they cabmen, laundresses,
bakers, or unemployed. What good they think can accrue from it, they
themselves cannot answer. As to the Trades’ Unions who go there
periodically, I fancy very few would go were it not to show their
regalia, air their banners, and march to the sound of a brass band;
while of late years it has become to very many a Sunday picnic, to
which they and their wives go in brakes. Nay, sometimes they meddle with
things wholly out of their sphere; as, for instance, the demonstration
on the Eastern Question on Feb. 24, 1878, at which the following
handbill was distributed:--

“RUSSIAN MEETING IN HYDE PARK:--Englishmen! A last attempt is to be made
by the baffled agents of Russia, on Sunday, Feb. 24 (to-day), to corrupt
and undermine the patriotism of our countrymen. Do you wish Count
Schouvaloff to telegraph to the Czar that any meeting of Englishmen have
passed resolutions in favour of the policy of the most despotic and
cruel Power in Europe, a Power that deliberately crushes all ‘national
freedom’ with the iron heel of military force, and shuts out British
industry from all her territories? Any resolution passed at their
meeting will be a direct encouragement to Russia. Nothing but a vigorous
and determined policy will prevent war, which the Russian party, if
successful, will inevitably bring about, as they brought about the
Crimean War, in 1853.”

While Mr. Auberon Herbert was speaking, _The Times_ says that “A rush
was made by a number of well-dressed young men on the south-east, at the
same time that a huge column, with banners spread, was advancing from
the north-east. It was easy to see that the ‘specials’ in the ring had
had no military training, for some left the part which needed the most
strength to repel the attack made by the young men. The chairman and the
clergyman disappeared, and the Peace party then stood ready to greet the
on-coming column. Mr. Bradlaugh had a special constable’s staff in his
hand; and, parleying with the head of the column, demanded that their
flags should be put down. Each of the men who had composed the circle
brought out a constable’s staff. The platform was, meanwhile, left in
the possession of one person. The Peace party tore down the Turkish and
Polish banners from the poles, and thereupon the anti-Russian party made
a rush to, and broke up the platform.

“The _mélée_ now became almost general, for all classes of persons had
got mixed up together, and in the struggle of those who wanted to pass
out of harm’s way, an extraordinary scene was presented. There must have
been 60,000 or 70,000 people, but only a very small number was inclined
to take active part in the proceedings. The fight, which was more noisy
than hurtful, did not occupy much time. One or two men climbed small
trees, where they took up the remains of the Turkish flag, and displayed
it upon the leafless branches. It was draped too low, however, and was
seized and lost. One of the events of the day was a regular fight in a
tree, between two well-matched antagonists. The fight was witnessed by
the whole crowd, some of whom took it upon themselves to dislodge the
fellows from the trees, by pelting them with heavy sticks and stones.”

But public meetings were not the only nuisance occasioned by throwing
open the Park. It at once became a place for every shade of religious
and secular doctrine to be preached; and the first notice I can find of
these practices is in a letter in _The Times_ of Nov. 27, 1872.

“The public are not aware of what occurs on Sundays in Hyde Park. Here
is what I have seen.

“A man dressed as a clergyman was standing on a seat near the
Serpentine, and preaching to a few listeners, a very sensible sermon. A
policeman advanced and told him, ‘This is not allowed.’ The preacher at
once discontinued. Scene the second. A considerable crowd near what is
called the Reformers’ Tree: three men, dressed in cassocks and caps,
preaching such terrible blasphemy that I quite shuddered to hear it, our
Saviour’s name and His words being travestied in the most awful and
obscene manner. The policeman there stood outside the crowd, but made no
attempt to interfere.”

Are things better now? Let anyone go and see for himself; or, if that is
inconvenient or impossible, let him read these two recent newspaper
cuttings (_Globe_, April 16, 1894):--


“Yesterday afternoon a disorderly scene took place in Hyde Park. Two
persons who were endeavouring to hold a religious meeting near the
Serpentine, were surrounded by a crowd of men and boys, and, owing to
some peculiarity, were frequently interrupted and prevented from
proceeding with the service they were attempting to conduct. Finally,
the opposition became so demonstrative that the two men were compelled
to beat a retreat, a small banner they had with them being torn. Their
hats were knocked off, and they were otherwise subjected to considerable
hustling and ill-usage. Some disorder also occurred at a meeting which
was being held close by. Scenes of this character have recently become
very common in the Park.”


“At the Marlborough Street Police Court, John Mullane, thirty-seven,
labourer, Circus Street, Marylebone; John Hayes, twenty-three, painter,
John Street, Marylebone; and John Henlay, thirty, labourer, Carlisle
Street, Marylebone; were charged with fighting together in Hyde Park. A
police sergeant said that on Sunday evening, a man named Scully was
addressing a meeting in Hyde Park, close to the Marble Arch. Presently,
the three prisoners began to fight with each other, apparently over some
argument with Scully. To prevent further disturbance, he obtained
assistance, and took the men into custody.

“In defence, Mullane said he was listening to Scully, and noticed that
he had a bottle in his pocket. Scully said it was water, but Hayes smelt
it, and said it was gin. Then Scully knocked him (Hayes) down. He
(Mullane) then struck Scully, when Henlay came up and struck him
(Mullane) and knocked him down. Henlay said that he was standing behind
Scully, when Hayes took the bottle out of his (Scully’s) pocket, struck
Scully, and threw him on the top of him (Henlay). Peter Scully deposed
that he lived in Stanhope Street, Deptford, and got a living by selling
‘good’ books. He had been in the habit of lecturing in Hyde Park, in
favour of religion, for the last twelve years. While he was speaking on
Sunday night, a bottle of water was pulled away from him, his hand was
cut, and his chair was pulled from under him. People called him the
‘Bishop’ of Hyde Park, because he had such large audiences. He saw two
young fellows struck.

“Mr. Newton: ‘You see all these disturbances are caused by your
preaching.’--Scully: ‘I cannot help that.’--Mr. Newton: ‘Yes, you can,
because you need not preach there.’--Scully: ‘Many other persons speak
there as well as myself, and if I should stop speaking there, the other
speakers should do the same.’--Mr. Newton: ‘I think it would be a good
thing if all of them were stopped. If there were no speakers in the
Park, there would be no fights.’--Scully: ‘I should not mind if speaking
in the Park were stopped, for I can always get an audience, and could
address meetings elsewhere.’--Mr. Newton (addressing the defendants)
said, they ‘should not misbehave themselves in the Park,’ and ordered
them to enter into their own recognizances to be of good behaviour in
the future.”--_Daily Graphic_, May 1st, 1894.

Here, also, in the Park, men’s minds are poisoned by the doctrines of
Socialist and Anarchist; but the latter, at present, is somewhat out of
favour with King [Greek: dêmos]--probably on account of the Anarchist
predilection for bombs, against which even his majesty is not proof.
Here is an account from the _Daily Graphic_ of last


“The May Day celebration in London has been marked by one of the most
extraordinary scenes ever witnessed in Hyde Park. The occasion was a
demonstration organized by the Social Democratic Federation to unite
with the demonstrations on the Continent in making the first of May
Labour Day. There was, of course, a procession, which formed up on the
Embankment, and was about as imposing as that which follows a drunken
man to the police-station.

“There was the difference that it had a few waggonettes and
greengrocers’ carts to lengthen it out. Some of the waggonettes and the
greengrocers’ carts were arched in with green branches, and the drivers
wore red caps of the sort usually associated with burlesque. They were
understood to represent ‘caps of liberty.’ A few bakers’ carts displayed
specimens of French loaves and horseshoe rolls. In some of the carts
were children who sang the ‘Marseillaise,’ as the carts trailed through
Piccadilly. Girls of an older growth had donned white dresses trimmed
with a virulent red, and marshalled the younger ones. Mr. Keir Hardie,
with his tweed cap and his pipe, walked through the crowd like one who
expected the homage due to a hero. Mr. William Morris was also there,
but one could not help thinking that he was, and felt, out of place.
There were speeches, of course. These were laudatory, for the most part,
of the workers and the Social Democratic Federation.

“But the Anarchists had, somehow, recovered their spirits, and had
ventured to join in the procession. Agnes Henry, in her inevitable
yellow ulster and cloth shoes, plodded indefatigably on the outskirts of
the crowd. Louise Michel hovered here and there. They had their
flags--red with black fringes--with them. One was an imposing banner on
two poles, with an appeal to put down all government and authority. The
Anarchists took up their position as side shows to the main
demonstration. The crowd had paid no attention to the Social Democrats,
but the Anarchists drew them like a magnet. A man, named Leggatt, a well
known anarchist, declaimed from one platform; a succession of speakers,
including Louise Michel, Mowbray, Dr Macdonald, and others, from
another, which was intended to be more important. Sullivan, of Tower
Hill fame, had a little show of his own. There was an evident desire to
listen to the Anarchists patiently at first. Then the listeners had
their feelings jarred by some outrageous exposition of the doctrine of
explosives. They groaned and hooted. Leggatt, with clumsy retort, said
they should be at a Board School, or playing marbles. So far as he was
concerned, the result was disastrous. There was a spring at him, and he
swayed for a moment on his perch, and then came down full length, while
his platform was soon in little bits. The police, who had been observing
the ugly temper of the crowd, rushed in, just in time to save him from
worse injury. The banner was promptly in ribbons, and its pole was
broken up. On this the people at the other platform discreetly folded
their banner, and took it away.

“They would have done as well to have taken themselves away also. One
man, whose vanity shall not be gratified by having his name mentioned
here, said the police were keeping down the workers. ‘You will never be
free while you have such men as Melville.’[54] He was answered with a
cheer for the police, and, in a second more, was in the hands of the
crowd. There were cries of ‘In the Serp. with him,’ and again
Chief-Inspector Peters and his men had to rush in to save the
demonstrators from the consequences of their own folly. A red tie became
a dangerous article of adornment--there were threats to lynch the
wearers. It was now becoming more and more difficult to keep the crowd
in hand. Big as the A.R. division men are, they could hardly force their
way through the dense masses.

“Never has there been such a scene in the Park. Racing across it came
the hunted Anarchists, surrounded by a yelling, fist-using crowd, with
the police protecting, as well as they could, the objects of the public
wrath. At the Marble Arch, the police formed a _cordon_ across the gates
and closed all passage, and it was then only that the Anarchists,
bleeding and bruised, were able to get into cabs and be driven to

Any one would have thought that this lesson would have lasted them some
time, but it was not so. On the first Sunday in the month (6th May) the
annual demonstration in favour of a “Legal Eight Hours Day” took place
in Hyde Park; and, although the Anarchists had nothing whatever to do
with the meeting, yet the irrepressibles were there, and succeeded in
marching to their usual speaking-place near the Reformers’ Tree; but
their reception by the sympathizers with the demonstration was of so
hostile a character, that before the head of the procession arrived,
they were hunted out of the Park, and, but for the protection afforded
by the police, several would have been severely handled.

Perhaps the greatest fiasco of any of these meetings was one held Aug.
26th, 1894, with a view of abolishing the House of Lords. There were
comparatively few people, the procession being made up of banners and


[Illustration: decorative bar]


The Children’s Fête in Hyde Park, 1887.

As a refreshing set-off to the mouthings of mobs in Hyde Park, let us
turn to the prettiest and pleasantest sight that the Park ever beheld,
namely, the Children’s Fête in Hyde Park, on June 22, 1887, in
commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee, the following account of which is
taken from _The Times_ of June 23:--

“Hyde Park yesterday was the scene both of festivity and ceremonial, the
children being the happy mortals who were especially privileged to take
part in the former, and witness the latter. It was a kind thought that
prompted the organization of a monster treat for the boys and girls of
the poorer classes in this season of general jubilation, and equally
kind was the interest at once taken in the matter by the heads of our
Royal house. It would be hard to conceive any form of enjoyment more
calculated to impress upon youthful minds the exceptional circumstances
of the present week, than yesterday’s _fête_. Even if it had not been
graced with the presence of her Majesty, and of the members of her
family, the occasion would, probably, never have slipped from the memory
of any child who shared in the day’s amusements; but, as the little ones
were not only entertained on a scale which must have surprised the most
imaginative of them, but were actually honoured by a special visit from
the Sovereign herself, it is, indeed, likely to remain for ever
indelibly fixed on their minds. To Mr. E. Lawson,[55] who originated the
idea which was realized yesterday, the children owe a debt of gratitude.
Thanks are also due from them to the many donors who supplied the funds
required to defray the costs of the _fête_. First among these were the
proprietors of _The Daily Telegraph_, who headed the list of
subscriptions with a very large sum,[56] and undertook the collection of
subscriptions, and the general management of the festival. To the
Committee of Organization also the gratitude of the children ought to
extend. The task of arranging for their safety, and providing for their
wants, involved no slight amount of forethought and care, and was
fulfilled with a conscientiousness which deserved and commanded success.

“The portion of the Park which was the scene of the festivity was that
which is seldom visited by any large concourse of civilians, except for
the purpose of expressing dissatisfaction with the laws, or the system
of government. On this occasion, however, the Reformers’ Tree was
forgotten, and nothing but expressions of satisfaction were heard. The
playground of the children extended from the drive, on the north of the
Serpentine, to the north of the Park: it was bounded on the east by the
trees which shadow the roadway leading to the Marble Arch, and its
breadth westward was about a quarter of a mile. On this level expanse,
about 26,000 children disported themselves from noon till dewy eve. All
were in the highest spirits, and all behaved as well as the best friends
could wish. The amusements provided were multifarious and varied, and
supplemented by impromptu additions, such as racing and dancing, which
gave scope for physical exercise. The day was lovely, and not
oppressively hot. With such conditions, what wonder that the children
enjoyed themselves!

“The duty of selecting them--for, of course, they were but
representative of their class--had been performed under the supervision
of Mr. J. Diggle, chairman of the London School Board. The selection had
been made among the Board Schools and Voluntary Schools of the
metropolis, and that it had been made with care was evident. The
children were all spruce and clean, and in many cases attired with
unostentatious taste. The dresses of many of the girls were simple
white, the sashes which bound them being blue or yellow. The
prognostications of ill fortune, which had come from some quarters, were
wholly unfulfilled, no greater mishap occurring to any child than a
temporary indisposition brought on by heat and excitement. More than one
case of this kind occurred, but the possibility that medical aid might
be required in the course of the day had been provided for, and the
little patients were not left long unsoothed and unrelieved. That any
child, however young, should be lost, with so many friends at hand ready
to aid, was scarcely within the bounds of probability, but in case of
emergency a special tent had been erected for the reception of
stragglers who might be unable to give any lucid description of the
direction in which they wished to go. The difficulties which straying
children might otherwise have caused were also obviated by the simple
expedient of requiring each boy and girl to wear a ticket bearing the
name of the holder, and the number of the tent allotted to his or her
school. The watchful interest extended to their charges by the teachers
who accompanied the small folk, was almost in itself sufficient to
reassure the most nervous of mothers.

“The playground was surrounded with Venetian masts, erected at short
distances from one another. Near the Achilles statue there were clusters
of these masts. A gilt crown shone at the top of each, and between them
hung a banner of plush velvet, exhibiting, in gold letters, the
following fervent wish for the Queen’s welfare:--

    ‘God bless our Queen--not Queen alone,
     But Mother, Queen, and Friend in one.’

“Though the children were not expected till nearly 1 o’clock, several
members of the Committee were on the ground long before this, completing
the necessary arrangements. Little, however, remained to be done; and
when the guests of the day did arrive, everything was in perfect
readiness. About 9 o’clock the police, whom, to the number of over 3000,
Sir Charles Warren[57] had detailed for different duties in connection
with the fête, commenced operations by clearing the enclosed ground of
all unauthorized persons. During the day admission was strictly confined
to those armed with invitation tickets, the issue of which had been by
no means lavish, so that adults present bore but a very small
proportion to the juveniles. The general public, numbering many
thousands, took up positions upon the outskirts of the reserved space,
which was, at points of the greatest pressure, fenced in with iron
hurdles, to prevent the encroachments of the crowd. Among those who, in
this somewhat disadvantageous position, patiently waited several hours
were very many of the children’s parents, and these can have obtained
only a passing glimpse of the Queen, and but a distant view of the
doings with the privileged circle.

“About 11 o’clock, a squadron of the 2nd Life Guards, and 200 men of the
Foot Guards, arrived to assist in keeping the ground, and, later in the
day, these were reinforced by two more troops of the 2nd Life Guards, to
keep the roadway clear for the Queen. The presence of the military added
greatly to the brightness of the scene. Soon after 1 o’clock all the
children had safely passed into the Park, and reached their allotted
playground. About 13,000, belonging to schools on the south side of
London, assembled in St. James’s Park at 12 o’clock; and, having been
marshalled by some 30 sergeants from Wellington Barracks, marched off,
four abreast, headed by Mr. Bennet Burleigh, and Mr. J. T. Helby, of the
London School Board. Proceeding past Buckingham Palace and up
Constitution Hill, they entered Hyde Park by the Grosvenor Gate, and
reached their destination, without mishap, and in capital order. A
column almost as large, consisting of children from the northern
districts of London, assembled in Regent’s Park soon after 11 o’clock,
and were put in position by Mr. Howard Vincent, M.P., Mr. H. Lawson,
M.P., Capt. E. Brodie, and Mr. W. Sheffield (drill instructor to the
London School Board). This column also reached the Park in good time,
and in good order. Smaller contingents that had assembled, the one in
Battersea Park and the other in Kensington Gardens, also arrived.

“Twenty-six thousand children had now to be fed, and to be amused for
several hours. The first thing was to feed them, and they were
accordingly marched off to the different tents, which were ranged at
intervals of fifty yards, five on either side, about fifty yards distant
from the central roadway, up which the Queen was later to proceed. Each
tent was 140 feet long, by 40 feet wide, but its accommodation was
severely tried, in ministering to the wants of 2500 children. There was,
however, no confusion. Each school knew the tent to which it was to
proceed; and, having marched thither, drew up outside. Then, in their
turn, the children in batches of 250 proceeded into the tent, and
received a paper bag containing their rations--a meat pie, a piece of
cake, a bun, and an orange--and were also presented with a silver-plated
memorial medal, having on one side a portrait of the Queen in 1837, and,
on the other, a portrait of her Majesty in 1887. During the afternoon,
lemonade, ginger beer, and milk were to be had in each tent, and there
were four large water-carts stationed in different parts of the ground,
which dispensed a plentiful supply of water to the thirsty. Each tent
was in charge of one lady, who was assisted by eleven other ladies and
twelve gentlemen. With such a staff, the work of dissemination rapidly
proceeded, and the children were soon supplied with their much
appreciated paper parcels.

“The children having picnicked on the grass, proceeded to roam at large
in search of amusement. They could not go far without finding it. It
was, indeed, a case of _l’embarras des richesses_, for the counter
attractions were many and various. There were a score of Punch and Judy
shows, eight Marionette theatres, eighty-six Cosmoramic Views and
Peep-shows, nine troups of performing dogs, monkeys and ponies; and, for
the special benefit of the boys, several hundred ‘Aunt Sallies’ and
‘Knock ’em downs.’ There were 100 large lucky-dip barrels, and a great,
distribution of presents, to the number of 42,000, consisting of
skipping-ropes, money-boxes, dolls, pencil-cases, tin whistles, walking
sticks, pop-guns, and _hoc genus omne_. Ten thousand small balloons,
inflated with gas, also afforded the children considerable amusement.
Meanwhile, the proceedings were enlivened with much good music. The
bands of the 2nd Life Guards, the Royal Horse Guards, Royal Artillery,
Royal Engineers and Grenadier Guards, with two or three civilian bands,
were stationed at different points, at such distances apart as to allow
of their playing simultaneously without conflicting, and the children
had the good taste to listen, and apparently to appreciate. Flitting to
and fro, from one point of attraction to the other, the young folks
seemed to be enjoying themselves greatly, and the time went quickly by.

“The Prince and Princess of Wales, with the three Princesses, arrived
soon after 4 o’clock, and appeared much pleased by the manifest
gratification which their presence afforded to the children. Their Royal
Highnesses, after having been received by Mr. Lawson, and conducted to
the Committee tent, proceeded to one of the ordinary tents, where the
distribution of memorial cups was going on. Having made their way
through the juvenile and excited throng which pressed around them, the
Prince and Princess handed a cup each to several of the children. The
visit was quite unpremeditated, and no arrangements had been made. It
was, therefore, a case of first come first served, and the children
struggled hard, with outstretched hands, in their efforts to secure a
cup from the hands of their Royal Highnesses. The Prince smiled
good-humouredly at their eagerness; and as he left the tent ’God bless
the Prince of Wales’ was sung with much heartiness. Their Royal
Highnesses then returned to the Committee tent, where the gentlemen and
ladies who, earlier in the day, had assisted in the tents, and other
invited guests, were assembled. At half-past 4 o’clock the bugle sound
announced that the amusements must end, and the music cease. The
children betook themselves to their respective tents, and, having been
duly collected together, under the charge of their masters and
mistresses, proceeded to take up positions along the road to be
traversed by the Queen. The bands were massed under the direction of Mr.
Dan Godfrey, and drawn up opposite the flag-staff where the Queen’s
carriage was expected to stop.

“The Queen was expected on the ground at half-past 5, but it was
considerably later before her Majesty’s procession arrived. In the
interval, several of the Royal guests joined the Prince and Princess of
Wales in the reserved enclosure, the children cheering lustily as they
drove past. When the time approached for her Majesty’s appearance, even
Mr. Dale’s huge balloon, which was unloosed from its fastenings, and
soared at once high into the air, failed to rouse anything approaching
to the excitement which so interesting an event was calculated to
arouse. The thoughts of the children were intent upon the Queen, and for
the moment they were engrossed with the prospect of seeing her. It may
be doubted even whether they paid much attention to the pealing of the
sweet-toned bells which Mr. Irving had allowed the Committee to remove
from the Lyceum Theatre, where until recently they were nightly heard in
the cathedral scene in _Faust_, and which now began to send across the
playground their soft and modulated sounds.

“At last, the appearance of a dozen mounted constables, trotting up the
roadway, betokened that the chief event of the day might shortly be
expected. Nor were the children disappointed this time, as they had been
once or twice previously, when carriages had driven up which they
thought might have contained the Queen, but which held occupants who
were unknown to them. The hoisting of the Royal Standard to the top of
the flag-staff, and the strains of the National Anthem, played by the
massed bands, removed the last doubt as to the nature of the _cortêge_
which now slowly entered the Park by the Achilles statue. First came a
party of Life Guards, with their flashing breast-plates and
plume-crested helmets, and then the Indian escort, who had played so
conspicuous a part in the pageant of the preceding day. Their swarthy
faces and stolid demeanour, and the strange beauty of their uniforms,
will long linger in the recollection of the youthful spectators. The
Royal carriages, which were immediately preceded by outriders in
scarlet, were all open, and some were drawn by four horses.

“The Queen’s carriage was stopped opposite the flag-staff, and the chief
ceremony of the day was at once begun. Miss Lawson, on behalf of the
children of the London Board and Voluntary schools, presented a bouquet,
and the Prince of Wales then led up to the carriage a little girl named
Florence Dunn, to whom her Majesty gave one of the memorial cups. The
Prince having explained that the child had never missed a single
attendance during the seven years she had passed at school, the Queen
expressed the pleasure which she felt in rewarding so industrious a
scholar. To Mr. Edward Lawson, who was also presented to her, she
intimated that she was extremely gratified to see the charming scene
which the Park presented. The Royal procession remained stationary a few
moments longer, while a verse of the ‘Old Hundredth’ was sung by the
children, and then resumed its progress northwards, leaving the Park by
the Fountain Gate, for Paddington station.

“The Prince and Princess of Wales, and the Royal guests who had not left
with the Queen, took their departure shortly afterwards, and the
children then returned to the tents, where simple refreshments were
again served out. Their red-letter day had come to an end, as even the
best things must, and, marshalled by their officers, they prepared to
return to their homes, where the story of their doings on the occasion
of the Queen’s Jubilee is pretty certain to be repeated many and many a

The memorial cups alluded to were of earthenware, specially manufactured
by Messrs. Doulton and Sons, at their potteries, Lambeth, and they had
on one side a portrait of the Queen as she was at her Accession in 1837,
and on the other a portrait of her at her Jubilee in 1887.


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     List of Rangers--A horse jumping the wall--Highwaymen--Horace
     Walpole robbed--Other robberies--Assaults, offences, etc., in the
     present reign--A very recent case.

The nominal head or Keeper of the Park is called the _Ranger_, and the
first Keeper was made in the reign of Henry VIII. His name was George
Roper, and besides lodging, fire, etc., venison, cattle grazing, etc.,
his salary was sixpence a day; and he kept this position until his death
in 1553, when he was succeeded by Francis Nevell, whose salary was
reduced to fourpence a day.

In 1574 a coadjutor was appointed to relieve him of some of his arduous
duties, and he was a first cousin to Queen Elizabeth, being a son of
Anne Boleyn’s younger sister Mary. He was Henry Carey, first Lord
Hunsdon. This shows that the office of Keeper was one of honour, for
Hunsdon certainly could not have cared for the 4_d._ a day attached to
the office, as he was not only well-to-do, and lord of several manors,
but a Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor, Captain of the Gentlemen
Pensioners, Governor of Berwick, Chamberlain of the Queen’s Household,
etc., etc. At Nevell’s death Lord Hunsdon became sole Keeper, and his
fee was then 8_d._ per day. At his death, in 1596, his fourth son, Sir
Edward Carey, knight, succeeded him in sole occupancy of the post. In
1607 he was followed by Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, the son of
Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Burghley; but, for some reason or other, a
coadjutor was appointed in 1610, Sir Walter Cope, who built the greater
part of Holland House, Kensington. But he only kept it for a couple of
years, and on the Earl of Salisbury’s death, in 1612, and his consequent
accession to the undivided keepership, he surrendered it for life to his
son-in-law, Sir Henry Rich, who was created Earl of Holland in 1624, and
beheaded in 1649. In 1630, he had asked, as a favour, that the
succession might be given to the Earl of Newport (afterwards the Earl of
Warwick), and at his death he asked for its reversion to Sir John Smith.

At the Commonwealth, it was proposed that Lord Howard of Escricke should
be the Keeper, but the Earl of Warwick pleaded the Earl of Holland’s
grant so effectually, that he obtained the appointment; not, however, to
enjoy it long, for, when the Parliament sold Hyde Park, the office of
Keeper was, necessarily, abolished. At the restoration, Charles II. made
his younger brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Keeper of the Park, but
he dying four months afterwards, the place was given (Sept., 1660), to
James Hamilton, Esq. He got from it something more substantial than any
of his predecessors, for he was granted the triangular piece of land
where the fort had been built, at the south-eastern portion of the Park,
by Hyde Park Corner, and now known as Hamilton Place. He also had a
concession of 55 acres, whereon to grow apples in the Park. Of this he
had a lease for 49 years, on condition that he surrounded it with a
brick wall eight feet high, and gave the King half the produce of the
orchard, in apples or in cider, at his Majesty’s option. Hamilton was
killed at sea, in an engagement with the Dutch, in 1673, and the office
of Keeper was vacant till 1684, when it was filled up by the appointment
of Wm. Harbord, Esq., M.P. for Launceston.

The title of “Keeper” now disappears, and in its stead the officer is
styled, as now, Ranger of St. James’s, Green and Hyde Parks, and in 1694
the Earl of Bath was made Ranger. In 1700, Edward Villiers, first Earl
of Jersey, was appointed to the post, but he only held it three years,
relinquishing it in 1703 to Henry Portman, Esq., who succeeded to the
enormous property of his cousin Sir William Portman. This gentleman must
have resigned the Rangership before his death, for, in 1714, it was
given to Walter Chetwynd, Esq., who had been Queen Anne’s Master of the
Buckhounds. He kept it until the accession of George II., when this
noble piece of patronage was bestowed upon the Earl of Essex, who having
resigned it in 1739, his place was taken by Viscount Weymouth,
afterwards Marquis of Bath, who held it until his death in 1751.

He was succeeded by Thomas, first Earl of Pomfret, who died in 1753, and
the vacant Rangership was conferred on the Earl of Ashburnham, who
resigned it in 1762. The position was then accepted by the Earl of
Orford, who kept it till 1778, when he was succeeded by General Charles
Fitzroy, afterwards Lord Southampton. He resigned it in 1783, and then
it was taken by the Earl of Sandwich, better known by his nickname of
Jemmy Twitcher; but he only retained it one year, and it was then
resumed by the Earl of Orford, until his death in 1791. Next to him came
Lord William Wyndham Grenville, who resigned in 1793, and was followed
by the Earl of Euston, afterwards Duke of Grafton. He kept in office
till 1807, and after him came Viscount Sydney, who kept it till his
death in 1831. Then the office came into the hands of royalty, in the
person of the Duke of Sussex, who was Ranger till his death in 1843,
when it was taken by his brother, the Duke of Cambridge. At his death in
1850, the Rangership was conferred on the Duke of Wellington, and on his
death on the Duke of Cambridge, the present Duke, who still holds the
office, which is entirely honorary: but he has under him a
Superintendent Ranger, with a salary of 191_l._, and a Superintendent of
Works, at 260_l._ per annum.

It was during Col. Hamilton’s keepership that Hyde Park was enclosed
with a brick wall, high enough to keep in the deer with which the Park
had been restocked; and this wall lasted till 1726, when a new wall was
built six feet six inches high on the inside, and eight feet on the
outside, a wall which one might well think could not be negotiated by
any horse. Yet a horse belonging to a Mr. Bingham did twice clear it, in
1792; once in a standing leap, and once in a flying leap. This wall
continued till 1828, when it was replaced by the iron railings which
were demolished by the mob in 1866, they in their turn giving place to
those which now surround the Park.

What are the duties of a Ranger I have no idea, except that we see his
name attached at the bottom of the rules and regulations of the Park;
but seeing that the position is honorary, and that he has a deputy, they
cannot be very onerous. One thing is certain, he seems to have no power
to put down acts of violence, which have occurred, and still are
occurring in Hyde Park, nor does the personal safety of those who use
the Park for purposes of recreation seem to be one of his functions.

Larwood says that robberies in Hyde Park were so common in the reign of
William III. that the King ordered the Guards to patrol the Park till
eleven o’clock at night, and “In addition to this a guard house was
built in the Park in 1699, ‘for securing the road against footpads,
who,’ according to the _London Post_, Dec. 16, 1699, ‘continue to be
very troublesome.’” This assertion may be correct, but there is no
mention of it in the newspaper named, nor in any other contemporaneous
journal; nor can I find any account of a highway robbery in the Park in
Feb., 1749. _The Penny London Post_, 12-15 May, 1749, says, “On
Wednesday Night (May 10) Mr. Hoskins, a Pale Ale Brewer in Tyburn Road,
was robbed by three footpads near the Serpentine River, in Hyde Park, of
a purse of silver, to the amount of eighteen pounds, which he had a
little before received at a Publick house at Kensington.”

But a famous person, no less than Horace Walpole, was robbed in the
Park, on Nov. 8, 1749, of which he gives the following account, in his
_Short Notes_. “One night, in the beginning of November, 1749, as I was
returning from Holland House by moonlight, about ten at night, I was
attacked by two highwaymen (McLean and Plunket) in Hyde Park, and the
pistol of one of them (the accomplished McLean) going off accidentally,
grazed the skin under my eye, left some marks of shot on my face, and
stunned me. The ball went through the top of the chariot, and, if I had
sat an inch nearer to the left side, must have gone through my head.”
_The General Advertiser_ of Nov. 15, 1749, says: “We hear that the Hon.
Horace Walpole Esq^{re}, who was lately robb’d in Hyde Park, has
received a letter, intimating that if he would send his Footman, to a
House in Tyburn Road, with 30 Guineas he should have his Watch restor’d,
and also that of his Coachman, provided the Footman behaved as directed
in the said letter.”

In No. 103 of _The World_ (Dec. 19, 1754) this robbery is commented on.
“An acquaintance of mine was robbed a few years ago, and very near shot
through the head by the going off of the pistol of the accomplished Mr.
MCLEAN; yet the whole affair was conducted with the greatest good
breeding on both sides. The robber, who had only taken a purse _this
way_ because he had that morning been disappointed of marrying a great
fortune, no sooner returned to his lodgings than he sent the gentleman
two letters of excuses, which, with less wit than the epistles of
Voiture, had ten times more natural and easy politeness in the turn of
their expression. In the postscript he appointed a meeting at Tyburn, at
twelve at night, where the gentleman might _purchase again_ any trifles
he had lost; and my friend has been blamed for not accepting the
rendezvous, as it seemed liable to be construed by ill-natured people
into a doubt of the _honour_ of a man who had given him all the
satisfaction in his power, for having, _unluckily_, been near shooting
him through the head.”

It was not only in Hyde Park, but all over London, that these highway
robberies took place, but, naturally, they were more prevalent at the
West End, because the inhabitants were richer. People were convoyed home
from the suburbs, such as Hampstead and Kensington, and _The Penny
London Post_ (Jan. 26-29, 1750) says: “So many Robberies have been
committed lately in the New Buildings at the Court end of the Town, that
the Servants go armed with Blunderbusses and Pistols, with both Coaches
and Chairs on Nights.”

Generally, people seem to have taken their robbery very calmly, and made
no attempt to capture the thief, but one met with his deserts at Hyde
Park Corner, as we see in _Read’s Weekly Journal_ of June 29, 1751:
“Last Friday 7-night, as Mr. Hornsby and his Lady, and Mr. Harding, were
returning from Ranelagh Gardens, in a Coach, they were stopped between
the Lock and St. George’s Hospitals, Hyde Park Corner, by a single
Highwayman, well mounted, who presented a Pistol, and demanded their
Money: and while Mr. Harding was amusing him with a few Shillings, Mr.
Hornsby clapt a Pistol to his breast and fired, which frighten’d the
Highwayman’s Horse, and gave the Coachman an Opportunity of driving off.
’Tis apprehended the Highwayman is either killed or dangerously wounded,
the Pistol touching his Breast when Mr. Hornsby fired. The next Morning,
the Highwayman’s Pistol was found by the Watch, loaded with a Brace of

Singularly ungallant, too, were some of the footpads, as we may read in
_The London Chronicle_, July 28-30, 1774: “Sunday evening, two Ladies
walking in Kensington Gardens were met by two Gentlemen, who entered
into Conversation with them; and, after walking together for some time
in the Gardens, the Gentlemen begged permission to accompany them home,
to which the Ladies consented. When they came near Grosvenor Gate, the
pretended Gentlemen pulled out their pistols and demanded their money,
which amounted to near two guineas, and their gold watches, with which
they made off.”

But this is sufficient of old outrages: let us see whether we have
amended our ways, taking only a few instances in the present reign. The
following is the statement of a young woman, aged 26, as recorded in
_The Times_ of Dec. 11, 1840:--

“She had been that afternoon to Hammersmith to see a lady respecting a
situation; and on returning, at Kensington, was induced by the bright
moonlight to proceed through the Park, as the nearest way to town. She,
however, by mistake took the footpath to Kensington Gardens--instead of
that at the side of the carriage road, which closely abuts on the high
road; and had not proceeded far when she passed a tall, stout man, of
respectable appearance, who followed her; and, on approaching the
one-arched bridge, accosted her, and wanted to enter into conversation,
which she avoided by walking fast. About the centre of the bridge, he
suddenly caught hold of her, pushed her against the balustrades of the
bridge, which at that spot consists of ornamental iron railings about 3
feet high, and forcibly attempted to take liberties with her, which she
strongly resisted; and, being a powerful woman, struggled desperately
with him, calling out ‘Murder’ at the utmost pitch of her voice; when
the villain suddenly stooped down, and catching hold of her legs, threw
her, with great violence, over the bridge into the water, and instantly
effected his escape. From her appearance, when brought to the Receiving
House, it was evident that she had fallen head first into the water, as
her head and shoulders were thickly incrusted with the mud at the bottom
of the stream.” I fail to trace that this ruffian was ever caught.

_The Times_, Oct. 13, 1842:--


“Saturday evening, about half past 8, as a person named Newport was
walking along Rotten Row, he was accosted by a man who asked him the
time, and said, ‘Let me see your watch.’ Mr. Newport refused to tell
him, or pull out his watch, upon which the ruffian instantly seized him
by the collar, and said, ‘You are my prisoner, you have been acting
improperly’; but on Mr. Newport immediately calling out ‘Murder!
Police!’ his assailant let go his hold, and running away, effected his
escape.”--“On Sunday night, about five minutes before 10, a young man
named Pummell was returning from town along the carriage road leading
from Hyde Park Corner to the Kensington Gate, which is close to the high
road, when he was stopped by a man, who said to him, ‘Are you going to
stand half a pint of beer, old fellow?’ Pummell told him ‘he should not,
indeed’; when the fellow said, ‘You had better stand it before you go
any further.’ Pummell, however, repeated he would not, and was walking
away, when another man, whom he had not before observed, jumped from the
ditch under the rails at the side of the path, and said, ‘We are hard
up, and on the tramp, so you must give us half a pint of beer, or
something, before you go on.’ Pummell, becoming alarmed, raised a
walking stick he had in his hand, and called loudly for assistance, upon
which, one of the fellows snatched at his stick, but only caught hold of
the tassel, which was torn away in the attempt. Pummell then ran off, at
his utmost speed, towards the Kensington Gate, from which he was not far
distant, and the two fellows ran across the Park, and effected their

A few years later, things were not much better, as we find in a letter
in _The Times_ of Aug. 7th, 1847. “It is now proved beyond a doubt that
any blackguard may insult, attack and rob you with perfect impunity,
unless you can induce him to wait patiently whilst you scour the park in
search of a policeman to take possession of him. Here is a case in
point. I was in the park last evening. Some children were amusing
themselves with a kite. Two blackguards crossed their path, and at once
took possession of their ball of string. I desired them to return it,
otherwise I should give them in charge. They very complacently glanced
around them, and then began to pour forth, within the hearing of several
women and children, a torrent of the most filthy language. A gentleman
who came up at the time interfered, and the abuse was at once turned
upon him; the intention of the men being, evidently, to create a
disturbance, and then profit by it. I at once went in search of a
policeman: after walking about a quarter of a mile, I met a
park-keeper. His answer to my request was, ‘Oh! I can’t interfere,
you’ll find a policeman somewhere.’ I proceeded in my search, and at
last found one on the other side of the Serpentine, amongst the bathers:
he very readily accompanied me, although leaving his especial duty, and
the matter was soon settled.”

Complaints were also made of the inadequacy of the police during the
building of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Crowds used to go every Sunday
to see how it had progressed, and a dweller in Park Place thus writes to
_The Times_ (_vide_ Feb. 18, 1851): “I will content myself by merely
stating that scarcely a Sunday now passes that the disturbance does not
terminate in a fight. On one occasion, a soldier and a civilian, each
striving to go contrary ways through the gate, at length came to blows.
On a subsequent Sunday a similar conflict took place between a soldier
and a policeman; and yesterday two men were fighting under my
sitting-room windows for some considerable time. This latter encounter,
especially, was not a mere skirmish; on the contrary, a ring was made,
the men were each backed by a second: in fact, there was all the formula
of a regular pitched battle.”

Take, again, a short letter in _The Times_ of March 15th, 1855: “Allow
me, through your columns, to caution the frequenters of Hyde Park
against a gang of ruffians, who are in the habit of accosting ladies and
female servants, and, under the pretence of asking the time of day,
endeavouring to pick their pockets. Several ladies of my acquaintance,
when walking in the Park with their children, have had narrow escapes of
being robbed in this manner.”

In _The Times_ of July 1st, 1858, a Resident near Hyde Park writes that
“it is perfectly notorious that in all of our parks, but most especially
in Hyde Park, it is impolitic, in the highest degree, for young girls to
take exercise unattended. I, for one, have been obliged to prohibit my
daughter, aged 13 years, from taking her hitherto pleasant morning
walks, in company with her little brother, for precisely the same reason
as a thousand other parents could assign--namely, because of the
hoary-headed ruffians, dressed in the garb of gentlemen, who
systematically lay in wait for young girls, with an intent too horrible
for mention.”

Here is a sketch of the Park, in the _Pall Mall Gazette_ of May 21,
1866, endorsed by being copied into _The Times_, May 22nd:--


“Urgent remonstrances have recently been made to the Chief Commissioner
of Works, from various quarters, and, more especially, by the parochial
authorities of St. George’s, Hanover Square, against the misrule and
vice which is allowed by the Ranger of Hyde Park to prevail unchecked
within its precincts after the Park is closed at night. The gates are
then locked, the park-keepers go to their homes, the lodge-keepers go to
bed, and the Park is utterly given up to hoards of tramps and roughs of
both sexes, who, during the summer months, pass their nights there. Any
decent persons caught in crossing the Park at the hour for locking up,
have no choice but to remain prisoners until the morning, if they are
not sufficiently active to climb the iron railings; for it is a point of
professional honour with the lodge-keepers, to resist all attempts at
rousing them after they have once turned in. A number of prostitutes,
too, of the very lowest grade, ply, unmolested, in the Park, their
dismal calling, spreading around them disease, until they are themselves
stricken down by it, and perish in the neighbouring workhouses.

“And it is this wretched fact that has, at last, set the authorities of
St. George’s Parish in action. It is now required that the incompetent
and useless park-keepers, to whose care the Park has hitherto been
intrusted, shall be superseded, and that they shall be replaced by the
Metropolitan Police, who shall supervise and patrol its area by night,
as well as by day; that policemen shall be on duty all night, at all its
gates, to let out persons who may have been accidentally shut in; and
that two or three of the mounted police shall be stationed in Rotten
Row, between the hours of 12 and 2 p.m. and of 5 and 8 p.m., to keep in
check the galloping snobs, grooms and horsebreakers of both sexes, by
whose reckless brutality the lives and limbs of her Majesty’s lieges are
daily endangered. To effect this reform, mere management, not money, is

“The discreditable condition in which the police of Hyde Park now is,
distinctly indicates want of ability or attention on the part of its
Ranger; and the costly landscape and flower gardening, so extensively
and successfully carried out by Mr. Cowper, as clearly shows that that
condition is owing to no lack of funds. It is of far more importance to
the inhabitants of the West End of London, that the Park to which they
and their families resort should be orderly, cleanly and well watched,
than that it should be picturesque and gay with flowers: and, in the
case of Hyde Park, there seems to be no reason why its police should not
be as effective as its horticulture.”

It would almost seem as if everyone was doing their utmost to spoil the
Park, and divert it from its assumed purpose of reasonable recreation;
for, at one time, the betting men got hold of it, and made it the scene
of their unhealthy calling, _vide_ a letter in _The Times_ of June 1,
1866:--“I have frequently occasion to cross Hyde Park between the hours
of 12 and 1, and I have watched with surprise the operations of a
numerous betting ring, the members of which hold daily undisturbed
possession of a large group of trees in the centre of the Park. It is
becoming so popular a resort of servants, that I was not astonished,
last week, to hear of a footman, when applying for a situation,
stipulating for a mid-day walk in the Park. Yesterday, I saw one of the
park-keepers apparently busily engaged in the ring.” And this letter was
fully endorsed in another which appeared in next day’s _Times_.

If betting were allowed, why not other forms of gambling? So we find
that on June 25, 1866, at Marlborough Street, Thomas Davids, who is
described as being “well-dressed,” was charged with setting up a
roulette table in Hyde Park. Inspector Green, of the A Division, said he
was in Hyde Park on June 23rd about six o’clock, when he saw the
prisoner with a roulette table, and a large number of persons round him.
The prisoner was playing, and on seeing him take up some money from the
board, he seized him, and charged him with gambling. The prisoner
admitted that he was playing at roulette, but he was not aware it was
illegal. He found £1 10_s._ in gold and £1 12_s._ in silver in his
possession. The prisoner’s father was a respectable person. The
prisoner, in defence, said that he was in such a novel position that he
hardly knew what to say. Mr. Tyrwhitt said everybody must know that
gambling in the parks was not permitted. He considered the prisoner’s
conduct most mischievous in robbing persons of their money, for it was
well known that the chances in favour of the keeper of the gaming-table
were 100 per cent. Davids was fined 40_s._ and costs.

It is impossible to chronicle all the scandals of the Park, we may think
they belong to a past age, and that Board Schools and their enlightening
influences, and with the “sweetness and light” they should have brought
with them, have for ever banished evil from it, but I will only give two
modern instances, and I have done with this portion of its history.
First take a letter in _The Times_ of Dec. 26, 1891, in which the writer
says: “It is impossible for any respectable woman, after dark, to pass
through even from the Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner, without being
insulted by men, or groups of low women. For young people who have to
come from the other side to work, there is no alternative for them, on
their return home at night, but to walk right round; as after dark no
respectable girl could pass through, unaccompanied, without

And, last of all, because I have not chronicled one out of the hundreds
of atrocities committed by soldiers in the Park--assaults, robberies,
vile accusations, etc.-I will give a very mild and recent case reported
in the _Daily Graphic_, May 22nd, 1894:--


“At the Marlborough Street Police Court, Augustus Fitzgerald, 24, and
Frank Burton, 24, privates in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, were
charged with being drunk and disorderly, and using obscene language in
Hyde Park, and Fitzgerald was also charged with assaulting
Police-Sergeant Cooke, and Burton with assaulting two constables in the
execution of their duty. Sergeant Cooke stated that about 12 o’clock on
Saturday night, he was on duty near the Marble Arch. A gentleman
complained to him that the prisoners had pushed him and his wife, and
also used very bad language. Both prisoners then attempted to get at the
gentleman, and used very bad language. The sergeant advised them to go
quietly to barracks. Fitzgerald tried to get Burton to go, but he would
not, and the officers had to take him into custody. Fitzgerald then
struck the sergeant on the face, cutting his cheek. A constable then
took Burton, and the sergeant, Fitzgerald. The latter then kicked his
captor on the knee. The officers blew their whistles, and assistance
arrived. While the sergeant was struggling with Fitzgerald, Burton came
up and kicked him, making his leg black and blue. Fitzgerald went
quietly to the station, but Burton continued to struggle so violently
that the ambulance was sent for, and then it took seven constables to
get him on it. The prisoners used most disgusting language to the
officer who took the charge, and when in the cells, kicked the doors
till they loosened the frames. The constable who was on duty with
Sergeant Cooke corroborated his statement, and said that Fitzgerald
kicked him in the lower part of the abdomen. Both officers are now on
the sick list. Fitzgerald said, if he struck the sergeant, it was a pure
accident. Burton asserted that the constables shoved them about, and
prevented them leaving the park by the nearest gate. An officer present
gave Fitzgerald a bad character, and Burton a fairly good one. Mr.
Hannay sentenced them to one month’s hard labour each.”


“Last night[58] an extraordinary and violent scene (a correspondent
writes) took place in Hyde Park. In the evening the park is now
frequented by large crowds of people, who listen to speeches,
recitations, &c., delivered near the Marble Arch, and considerable
hostility has, it appears, been aroused by the action of some soldiers
in persistently creating a disturbance among the crowd, with the object
of breaking up any meeting that may be held. Last night, while a small
knot of people were listening to a reciter, four soldiers, whose
movements had hitherto been unobserved, suddenly ran in, and without
giving any warning flung themselves with great force on those on the
outside of the crowd. A struggle at once ensued, and before many moments
had elapsed the soldiers found themselves surrounded by an infuriated
crowd of some 300 persons, who pelted them with hands full of pebbles
picked up from the ground, and, at the same time, indulged freely in
hooting. The soldiers struck out vigorously to right and left with
their canes, retiring close together, and for some time managed to keep
the crowd at a respectful distance. One of them, however, being struck
suddenly in the face with a missile, drew his bayonet, and breaking away
from his comrades, furiously charged the crowd. Immediately a general
stampede took place, but though the enraged soldier speedily gave up the
pursuit, it was some minutes before he sheathed his weapon. No sooner
had he done so than the crowd again returned, and forming round the
troopers, recommenced booing and hooting, though at a longer distance
than before. By this time, however, notification of the occurrence had
been conveyed to the police, and they coming up, were able, though not
without difficulty, to get the soldiers out of the park without further
violence from the mob. No one, fortunately, was seriously injured, but
both the soldiers and some civilians had their faces cut.”--_Globe_,
March 26, 1895.


[Illustration: decorative bar]


     The Gates--That into Kensington Gardens--Improvements in the
     Park--Encroachments--The case of Ann Hicks and the other
     fruit-sellers--Seats in the Park--New house in ditto.

There are several entrances into Hyde Park--those called Gates being
passable for carriages. These lead into the Bayswater Road, Park Lane,
and Knightsbridge, but there is also one connecting it with Kensington
Gardens, concerning which there are several paragraphs in _The Times_ of

“The access to KENSINGTON GARDENS is so inconvenient to the visitors,
that it is to be hoped the politeness of those who have the direction of
it will induce them to give orders for another door to be made for the
convenience of the public--one door for admission, and another for
departure, would prove a great convenience to the visitors. For want of
this regulation the Ladies frequently have their cloaths torn to pieces:
and are much hurt by the crowd passing different ways.” (_March 28,

“Two ladies were lucky enough to escape thro’ the gate of Kensington
Gardens, on Sunday last, with only a broken arm each. When a few lives
have been lost, perchance then a door or two more may be made for the
convenience of the families of the survivors.” (_May 8, 1794._)

“We noticed last year the nuisance at the door of Kensington Gardens,
leading from Hyde Park, and was (_sic_) in hopes those who have the care
would attend to it. As the season is approaching when company frequent
it, we again recommend that an additional door should be made, and an
inscription put over it--‘The company to go in at this gate, and return
at the other’--by which means the press will be avoided, and directions
given, that all servants do keep away from the doors, who behave with
great impertinence to their superiors, as the company go in. If the
gardens are to be a public accommodation, surely so trifling an expense
can be no object. A greater number of seats in the gardens is very
desirable.” (_April 24, 1795._)

“The public in general, and the ladies in particular, are much obliged
to the Ranger of Hyde Park, for having taken the hint given in the paper
towards their accommodation, by ordering a new gate to be made, as an
entrance into Kensington Gardens. This convenience was, yesterday, much
noticed, as there is now one gate for the entrance, and another for
leaving the gardens, which were extremely crowded. But so little
regularity was observed in the procession of carriages, on the Park
Road, that there was a general stoppage about four o’clock, for nearly
an hour; in the throng several carriages were overset, and many much
injured. We never witnessed so much confusion on any similar occasion.”
(_May 4, 1795._)

The first gate in the Bayswater Road, starting from Kensington Gardens,
is called the Victoria Gate, and it is opposite Sussex Place--there is
an entrance by the drinking fountain--but there is no other _gate_ till
Cumberland Gate, or the Marble Arch, as it is more generally called.
Turning down Park Lane we have first Grosvenor Gate, and then Stanhope
Gate; whilst on the Knightsbridge side is the principal entrance, or
Hyde Park Corner. Next comes Albert Gate, the roadway of which was
finished and opened to the public on April 6th, 1842. The present gates
were not then erected, nor the noble mansions which stand on either side
of the entrance. Then comes the Prince of Wales’ Gate, and the Alexandra
Gate--both modern entrances in the Park--and are among the many
improvements effected in Queen Victoria’s reign.

At its commencement, the Park was not altogether a place of beauty, or
of “sweetness and light”--gravel used to be dug there, as we see by the
following letter to _The Times_, Oct. 18th, 1838:--“I beg through your
columns to remonstrate with the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, on
the extreme negligence of leaving the gravel pit in Hyde Park in its
present dangerous state. Two sides of it are very deep and precipitous,
without any fence whatever to protect the unwary traveller, when
darkness conceals the danger from him. I wonder, Sir, that fatal
accidents do not nightly happen; if neck or limbs escape fracture in the
fall, there is now water enough in the pit to drown anyone stunned by
the accident.”

There is a letter in _The Times_ of April 11, 1839, from Mr. I. C.
Loudon, the eminent authority on gardening--speaking of the improvements
which had taken place in the Park during the past five or six years; how
the pasture had been renovated by manuring, and other means, the
carriage roads had been altered, the footpaths gravelled, and greatest
of all, in his estimation, the number of _single_ trees which had been
planted in different situations; but he anathematises the planting them
in _clumps_, as the Commissioners of Woods and Forests were then doing.
Probably this generation, who have benefited by the Commissioners’
planting, will not endorse Mr. Loudon’s opinion, but then letters to
_The Times_ are not always temperate, _vide_ the following--in that
paper of Feb. 13, 1844:--

“Sir, permit me, through your columns, to call the attention of the
Commissioners of Woods and Forests to a serious nuisance in Hyde Park,
which, if continued and increased, will be a permanent injury to the
Park and its neighbourhood. A large excavation has been made in the
south-western side of the Park, for the purpose of procuring gravel; and
this excavation, extending over more than an acre of ground, and 15 or
20 feet deep, is being filled up with the refuse from a nightman’s or
dustman’s yard. The stench which proceeds from the spot, whilst the work
is in progress, is of a most pestiferous description; but this is not
the worst of the mischief. The real damage is in altering the character
of the superficial strata; so that, hereafter, the moisture which
heretofore drained off through the gravel, will be retained near the
surface, and generate miasma.”

Then came the grievance of so called “encroachment”--and a gentleman
asks in _The Times_ of March 21, 1845: “Why have several hundred yards
of Hyde Park been enclosed during the last weeks--not by a low wooden
rail, but a high iron fence? This encroachment is making in the space
between Albert Gate and the Piccadilly Gate; and, by it, the public
must be for ever excluded. Is it to be planted, or converted into a
garden for the benefit of the twin giants,[59] untenanted as yet, after
the precedent set some years ago of taking a considerable plot of ground
between Stanhope Street Gate and the Piccadilly one, for the exclusive
advantage of a very few houses in Hamilton Place and Park Lane?”

And the same gentleman in another letter (March 27, 1845) says: “The
expense, also, of maintaining these enclosures is very heavy, for not
less than £500 a year is spent on the small plot between Stanhope Gate
and Piccadilly. This outlay seems enormous, but the authority on which
it rests is unquestionable, and it furnishes, on the score of economy, a
strong argument for its restoration to the Park, from which it was taken
about twenty years ago. This concession would be a gracious act on the
part of the Crown, save much charge, and be highly estimated by the
people. So little was the public health and pleasure considered
formerly, that a plan was proposed by the Woods and Forests, when
presided over by Mr. Huskisson, for building a line of houses from the
reservoir, near Grosvenor Gate, towards Piccadilly, and the aggression
was only quelled by Lord Sudeley, and another member of the House of

From the grumbles, it is refreshing to turn to the improvements--and in
April, 1845, upwards of 150 labourers were employed for some time in
levelling the grass, new gravelling the paths, and generally making very
considerable improvements throughout the whole of Hyde Park. On the 8th
August, same year, the erection of the new iron gates at the Albert Gate
entrance was completed, and the stags appeared to public gaze.

In 1851, the Park had to be set in order--for the Great Exhibition, and
some old established privileges had to give way--one of which was the
famous case of Ann Hicks, which came before the House of Commons on July
29, 1851. The following is the report in _Hansard_:--

“Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE wished to ask the noble lord, the First Commissioner
of Woods and Forests, whether Ann Hicks held a house in Hyde Park by the
gift of George II., or by what tenure she occupied the house from which
she had been evicted? and, also, whether the noble lord had permitted
any other house to be erected in the Park?

“Lord SEYMOUR said, that in answer to the first question of the hon.
gentleman, he had to state that Ann Hicks did not hold any house by the
gift of George II. or of any other Royal personage at all. The first
time he (Lord Seymour) ever heard of her claim to a house as the gift of
any Royal personage, was a few weeks ago. In 1843, Ann Hicks, like
several other persons, had a little stall, where she sold apples and
ginger-bread in the Park. Previous to that, she had occupied one of the
old conduits there. She subsequently wrote to the Commissioners of Woods
and Forests, and requested leave to build a place to lock up her
ginger-beer bottles in; and after some correspondence with the
Commissioners, they told her she might have a wooden stand, the same as
some persons had near where the cows are kept in St. James’s Park.
Shortly afterwards, she wrote to the Commissioners again, saying she was
very much obliged by their reply, but that she should like to build her
stall of brick, instead of wood, as a wooden one was insecure, and
liable to be broken open; but in all those applications she never made
any allusion to any Royal gift, but always rested her claim on her
having fifteen children to support.

“After some time, the Commissioners allowed her to have her stand of
brick instead of wood. Having got that leave, she wrote to the
Commissioners, and said that her stand was not quite large enough, and
she wished to make it larger, as she had so many ginger-beer bottles,
she did not know where to put them. The Commissioners gave way to her,
and said she might make her stand five feet high, but no higher. She
then wrote again in the following year, and said she was very much
obliged for the little hut she had got, and that it was a great
accommodation to her, and that she had not the least wish to make a
residence of it; but, that if the Commissioners would allow her to have
a little fireplace in it, it would be of great use to her to make a cup
of tea. The Commissioners resisted that, and told her they could not
allow her to have a fireplace; that her hut was merely a place allowed
her to put her bottles in, and that she must not use it as a residence.

“She again wrote to the Commissioners, saying that the roof of her shed
wanted repair, that the rain came in, and might she be allowed to repair
it, and keep the rain out? The Board told her she might repair it so as
to keep the rain out, but that she must make no alteration in it.
However, shortly afterwards, the Commissioners found that the hut had a
roof and chimney. When he (Lord Seymour) came into office, in 1850, the
hut had not only got a roof and a chimney, but there was a little garden
to it, with hurdles round. Ann Hicks said the hurdles were put up
because it was so disagreeable to have people looking in at her window.
His attention had been called to the matter from the frequent disputes
between the authorities of the Park and Ann Hicks. The hurdles were
continually advancing and encroaching on the Park. She was told to put
them back; but she made so much noise and abuse about it, that none of
the Park authorities cared to meddle with her. They all gave him very
bad accounts of her. He also asked a gentleman who was connected with
the management of the Park, though not with his (Lord Seymour’s)
department, and he gave him an account, equally unfavourable, of Ann
Hicks. Upon that, he thought it time that some proceedings should be
taken against her, because it was quite unusual to allow any residence
in the Park. The law was decidedly against it; and he was told that, if
they sanction this for a few years, there would be great difficulty in
removing her.

“Before he took any step, however, he wrote to the Duke of Wellington,
as Ranger of the Park; and his Grace, with that consideration which he
gave to the minutest details, wrote him word that he was coming to town,
and would inquire into the whole case. Accordingly, when his Grace came
to town, he wrote to him (Lord Seymour) and said that he ought to apply
for legal advice, and remove Ann Hicks from the Park at once. He then
referred all the correspondence to the solicitors of the office, and
Ann Hicks was served with a notice to remove; but he told her, that if
she would go from the Park and not give them any trouble, he would take
care that some allowance should be made to her. But she would not go;
she said it was her ground, and that nothing could remove her. He then
gave directions that proceedings should be taken to remove her, and she
would not move until those proceedings were actually taken.

“She then wrote again to the Commissioners, and said that she owed a
small debt of £6 or £7 for the repairs of her cottage, but she said
nothing of a Royal gift. He thereupon told her that if she went, she
should have five shillings a week for the next year, and that would
secure her a house in lieu of the one to which she had no legal right.
He also gave her some money at once to pay for the repairs; but a
builder afterwards called upon him, and said that she owed him his debt
for the repairs of the cottage still. In fact, instead of paying the
debt with the money he (Lord Seymour) had given her, she spent it in
getting some placards printed and placing them about the Park, charging
the Commissioners of Woods and Forests with hardship and oppression
towards her.

“As to any other cottage being erected in the Park, the only one he was
aware of was the cottage proposed to be built by Prince Albert, as a
model cottage. When it was built, he (Lord Seymour) said it could not be
allowed to remain, and his Royal Highness promised that it should be
taken down next November.”

Besides this extremely grateful old lady, there were four other
fruit-sellers evicted, and one of them afterwards memorialized a new
Chief Commissioner as to compensation, or renewal, and some of the
grounds on which the claim is based are somewhat curious: “That your
petitioner, Charles Lacey, has several times assisted the park-keepers
and other officials in the apprehension of various offenders, and also
that he has himself, without the aid of either park-keepers, or other
officials, apprehended and caused to be convicted other offenders, which
must show to the public that he was not there for his interest alone,
but that he protected the visitors from injury and insult; we therefore
placed a firm reliance in the hope that a renewal would be granted for
our ‘stand,’ which was neither unsightly, nor an obstruction; however,
to our great disappointment, our appeal was non-suited.

“The removal of our ‘stand’ has not only deprived us of the means of
obtaining an honest livelihood, but, in fact, has compelled us to pledge
and sell our very clothes to provide a subsistence. Nor is this the
worst; the deprivation of the ‘stand’ occasioned such a shock to the
female petitioner (Lacey’s wife) as to bring upon her a nervous
excitement, under which she suffered intensely for upwards of eight
months, and great doubts were entertained that she would have been
deprived of her reason altogether. In addition to their other
distresses, your petitioners regret, most painfully, to add that their
daughter, eighteen years of age, at the present time lies dangerously
ill of scarlet fever.”

At the end of June, 1852, the drive and promenade on the north side of
the Serpentine were widened and improved; whilst the old wooden railing
was replaced by the iron rail now existing, in August of the same year.
In March, 1854, the principal promenades were relaid with gravel, and
the site of the exhibition of 1851, being entirely covered with grass,
and no trace of the huge building left, was thrown open once more to the
public. In September, 1855, at the close of the season, the Serpentine
underwent a thorough revision, the holes in which many persons had lost
their lives were filled up, and the bed of the pond levelled, whilst the
various sewers which had so long run into it from Notting Hill to
Bayswater were diverted into a different channel in the main road.

We have no evidence when free seats began in Hyde Park; they were
probably in existence when the Park was first thrown open to the public;
but we do know when the movable chairs, for which a charge was and is
made, were introduced--in 1820, when some twenty or thirty were placed
near Stanhope Gate. Sir Benjamin Hall, when Chief Commissioner of Works,
provided free seats in plenty along the north side of Rotten Row; but
when he was succeeded by Lord John Manners, the latter had them all
removed early in 1859, and an abundance of chairs for hire was
substituted in their place. This doubtless tended to make that lounging
place more select, but a popular outcry was raised about it, and a few
of the free seats were grudgingly reinstated. In 1859 the band stand was
erected, since when most excellent music has been discoursed there, for
the delectation of her Majesty’s lieges.

In _The Times_ of July 30, 1864, is a letter complaining of the
disgraceful state of Hyde Park--“where may be seen, every day, hordes
of half dressed, filthy men and women, lying about in parties, and no
doubt concocting midnight robberies. There appear to be police and
park-keepers enough to prevent this, but they state they have no orders
to remove them. The evil is increasing, and it is hardly safe to allow
ladies and children, who are anxious to have their daily walks in Hyde
Park without being disgusted at the proceedings practised there daily.”

That the state of the Park has not improved, especially on Sundays, or
at night, see the correspondence on the subject in _The Times_, Sept.
and Oct., 1895.

From this time to the present, there is little to chronicle of the Park,
except that in 1877 a three-storied villa containing some thirteen rooms
was erected in the Park, as a residence for the head gardener, at the
expense of Mr. Albert Grant, in lieu of a lodge in Kensington Gardens,
which was demolished, by permission, because it interfered with an
uninterrupted view of the Gardens from Kensington House, which Mr. Grant
was then building at a fabulous cost, for his residence, but which was
pulled down before it was ever inhabited. Of course there have been, and
are still, grumbles, but they are about trifles--and, as a rule, the
Park is very well kept, there being a shade of partiality towards the
south side, in preference to the north, as anyone can see who draws an
imaginary line from the middle of Park Lane to the centre of Kensington

[Illustration: decorative bar]


     Works of art in the Park--Drinking fountain--Marble Arch--Hyde Park
     Corner--Achilles statue--Walk round the Park--Cemetery of St.
     George’s, Hanover Square--Sterne’s tomb and burial--Tyburn
     tree--The Tybourne--People executed--Henrietta Maria’s
     penance--Locality of the gallows--Princess Charlotte--Gloucester
     House--Dorchester House--Londonderry House--Apsley House--Allen’s
     apple stall--The Wellington Arch--Statues of the Duke--St. George’s
     Hospital, Knightsbridge--A fight on the bridge--Albert Gate and
     George Hudson--Knightsbridge Barracks.

Works of Art in the Park are conspicuous by their general absence. There
is a drinking fountain near the Bayswater Road, a fountain on the site
of the Chelsea Waterworks reservoir--the statue of Achilles, the Marble
Arch, and the Gate at Hyde Park Corner.

The drinking fountain was dedicated on Feb. 29, 1868, with a great
function in which figured the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Duke of
Cambridge, Lord Harris, and many other noblemen. This fountain was the
gift of the Maharajah of Vizianagram, K.C.S.I., and cost about £1200.
The material employed is box-ground stone, the columns being blue
pennant, and the bowls polished granite. The form of the fountain is
quadrangular, and the style early Gothic. On two sides are the portrait
and arms of the Maharajah; and on the remaining two sides the portrait
and arms of her Majesty Queen Victoria. On one of the recesses is the
following inscription, in old English character:--“This fountain, the
gift of the Maharajah Murza Vizeram Gujaputty Raj Munca Sooltan,
Bahadoor of Vizianagram, K.C.S.I., was erected by the Metropolitan
Drinking Fountain Association, 1868.”

The old Cumberland Gate, which was built about 1744, was, as may be seen
by a water-colour drawing in the Crace Collection (Port. ix. 75), a very
ugly brick construction with wooden gates--but it was removed in 1822,
and handsome iron gates substituted for it. But 1851--which turned Hyde
Park topsy-turvy--did away with them, and in their place was erected the
present Marble Arch, which was originally the chief entrance to
Buckingham Palace. The original estimate for it was £31,000, but that
included £6000 for an equestrian statue of George IV., which was to
surmount it, but was placed instead in Trafalgar Square. One authority
says it cost £80,000, whilst its metal gates cost £3000. It was designed
by Nash, the favourite architect of the Regency and reign of George IV.,
and is an adaptation from the Arch of Constantine at Rome. Flaxman,
Westmeath, and Rossi did the ornamentation, and, being of Carrara
marble, and kept scrupulously clean, it forms a very effective entrance
to the north of the Park.

Its removal was effected with great rapidity--for the foundations were
not begun to be dug till the middle of January, 1851. We hear of it in
_The Times_ of Feb. 25, that “the Arch is in a very advanced state, and
is, in fact, fast approaching towards completion. The works are so far
advanced that the massive gates have been fixed in their places, and
the whole of the superstructure is in a very forward condition.” And in
_The Times_ of April 1, 1851, we read: “On Saturday (March 29) the
re-erection of the Marble Arch at Cumberland Gate was completed; and, in
the course of the week, the carriage drive will be opened to the public.
The blocks of marble of which the Arch is composed have all been fresh
polished, and the structure has altogether a very chaste appearance. The
upper part of the Arch has been constructed as a police-station, and
will contain a reserve of men.”

In 1756, as we may see by a water-colour drawing by _Jones_ (Crace
Collection, Port. x. 39), the Piccadilly entrance to Hyde Park consisted
only of wooden gates, and so it remained until the present entrance was
made from designs by Decimus Burton in 1827. This is a screen of fluted
Ionic columns, supporting an entablature. This is divided into three
arched entrances for carriages, and two for foot passengers. The frieze,
which represents a naval and military triumph, was designed by
Henning--and if it were finished as he wanted it, with groups of
statuary on the top, it would be very fine. By the way, talking of
statuary at this spot, in “A New Guide to London,” 1726, p. 83, we find:
“If you please, you may see a great many Statues at the Statuaries at
Hyde-Park Corner.”

Visible from this entrance is the Achilles Statue--the first public nude
statue in England. A great deal of rubbish has been talked about this
statue, especially in attributing its original to Pheidias. Whoever was
its sculptor, it was a marble statue which formed part of a group on the
Quirinal Hill at Rome--which has been christened Achilles for no
particular reason, but that it seemed applicable to a monument from the
ladies of England to the hero of the day, the great Duke of Wellington.
The Pope gave the casts, the Ordnance Office found the metal from
captured French cannon, the Government gave the site, and yet it cost
£10,000 before it was erected. True, Westmacott furnished it with a
sword and shield which were not in the original, and part of the Park
wall had to be taken down in order to get it into the Park, an event
which took place on June 18, 1822 (the anniversary of the Battle of
Waterloo). But its beauties were not to be shown on that occasion, as
weighing about 33 tons, it required a lot of fixing--but it was unveiled
on July 14th. The height of this statue is more than 18 feet--and with
the mound, base, plinth, pedestal and statue, it is 36 feet high from
the road level. It was soon found necessary to surround it with an iron
balustrade, as it became a favourite play place of the little _gamins_
of the Park. On the pedestal is the following inscription:--

                    TO ARTHUR, DUKE OF WELLINGTON,

                       THIS STATUE OF ACHILLES,
                    SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, TOULOUSE,
                             AND WATERLOO,
                             IS INSCRIBED
                        BY THEIR COUNTRYWOMEN.
                          PLACED ON THIS SPOT
                             BY COMMAND OF
                        HIS MAJESTY GEORGE IV.

This statue was lampooned and caricatured very considerably, but both
are somewhat too broad for reproduction nowadays.

Let us now take a walk round the Park--outside--beginning on the North
side. All along the Park, till we come to Tyburn, was open fields and
market gardens, except the mortuary chapel and cemetery of St. George’s,
Hanover Square, and its concomitant, St. George’s Terrace, which we see
in Sandby’s camp picture of “The Toilet.” This burial ground was
enclosed and consecrated in 1764, and comprises an area of about four
acres. It is popularly supposed that Laurence Sterne is buried here--and
if you do not believe it, there is a tombstone to testify to the fact.
It is near the centre of the west wall of the cemetery, and it bears the
following inscription:--

                          Alas, poor Yorick.
                          Near to this Place
                           Lies the body of
                     The Reverend LAURENCE STERNE.
                       Dyed September 13, 1768,
                            Aged 53 years.
                     Ah! Molliter, ossa quiescant.

    If a sound head, warm heart and breast humane,
    Unsully’d worth, and soul without a stain,
    If mental powers could ever justly claim
    The well-won tribute of immortal fame,
    Sterne was the Man who, with gigantic stride,
    Mow’d down luxuriant follies far and wide.
    Yet, what though keenest knowledge of mankind,
    Unseal’d to him the springs that move the mind,
    What did it boot him? Ridicul’d, abus’d,
    By foes insulted, and by prudes accus’d.
    In his, mild reader, view thy future fate,
    Like him despise what ’twere a sin to hate.

     This monumental stone was erected to the memory of the deceased by
     two _Brother Masons_, for, although he did not live to be a member
     of their _Society_, yet all his incomparable performances evidently
     prove him to have acted by _Rule_ and _Square_; they rejoice in
     this opportunity of perpetuating his high and unapproachable
     character to after ages. W. & S.

If we analyze the above, and search out the truth of it, we find that
Sterne died on March 18th, and was buried in the cemetery on March 22nd,
being followed to the grave by only two persons, his publisher, Becket,
and Mr. Salt, of the India House. It is, and was, currently believed
that two nights after his burial his body was exhumed by the
body-snatchers, or “Resurrection Men,” as they were called, and by them
sold to M. Collignon, Professor of Anatomy at Cambridge: and the story
goes on to show, how among the scientific people the Professor invited
to witness his demonstration, there was one who had been personally
acquainted with Sterne, and who fainted with horror at the sight of his
corpse being thus anatomized. That this story is true is more than
probable--exhumation being rife--so much so, that in the _St. James’s
Chronicle_, Nov. 24-26, 1767, it is thus recorded of this very Cemetery:
“The Burying-Ground in Oxford Road, belonging to the Parish of St.
George’s, Hanover Square, having been lately robbed of several dead
Bodies, a Watch was placed there, attended by a large Mastiff Dog,
notwithstanding which, on Sunday last, some Villains found Means to
steal out another dead Body, and carried off the very Dog.”

Ann Radcliffe, the novelist, who died in 1823, was also buried here.

The old chapel is now pulled down, and a new and much handsomer one
erected in its place; whilst the cemetery has been levelled, planted,
pathed, and seated, in accordance with modern taste.

Continuing our walk, we come to dread Tyburn, with its fatal tree of
which it was written:--

    “Since Laws were made for ev’ry degree
     To curb vice in others as well as me,
     I wonder we ha’n’t better Company
     Upon Tyburn Tree.

           *       *       *       *       *

     In short, were Mankind their merits to have,
     Could Justice mark out each particular knave,
     Two-thirds the Creation would sing the last stave
     Upon Tyburn Tree.”

It derives its etymology either from Twy bourne--Two brooks, or the
united brooks; or else from Aye-bourne[60]--t’Aye bourne--which rises in
Hampstead, and receiving nine other rills, crossed Oxford Street about
Stratford Place, by the Lord Mayor’s Hunting Lodge, now Sedley Place,
where conduits were built to receive water from it for the use of the
City: which conduits were found in pretty fair repair in Aug., 1875. It
ran by Lower Brook Street, which owes its name to it, as does also Hay
(Aye) hill--Lansdowne Gardens, Half Moon Street, crossed Piccadilly,
where it was spanned by a bridge, and thence into the Green Park, where
it formed a pond. Running past Buckingham Palace, it divided and formed
Thorney Island--or Westminster--one outfall turning the Abbey Mill.

Tyburn has been a place of execution for centuries, the earliest I can
find being in “Roger de Wendover,” who mentions that, A.D. 1196, William
Fitz-osbert, or Longbeard, was drawn through the City of London, by
horses, to the gallows at Tyburn. We hear occasionally of executions
there in the 14th and 15th centuries, and Perkin Warbeck was hanged
there in 1499--as was also Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent, in
1534--but I have no wish to chronicle the people who were here done to
death for crime, and religious and political offences, except to mention
that the bodies of Oliver Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw, were exhumed,
and on Jan. 30, 1661, dragged on sledges to Tyburn, where they were
suspended till sunset on the “triple tree.”

That the shape of the Tyburn Gallows was triangular is proved by many
quotations, one of which, from Shakespeare’s _Loves Labour’s Lost_ (Act.
iv. Sc. 3), will suffice:--

    _Biron._--Thou mak’st the triumviry, the corner cap of society,
              The shape of love’s Tyburn, that hangs up simplicity.

There is a story that Queen Henrietta Maria did penance under the
gallows at Tyburn in expiation of the blood of the martyrs who had
suffered thereon. That it was a matter of public report there can be no
doubt, as we may read in the “_Reply of the Commissioners of his Majesty
the King of Great Britain, to the proposition presented by Mons. le
Maréschal de Bassompierre, Ambassador Extraordinary from his most
Christian Majesty_.”[61] “They (_the Bishop of Mande and his priests_)
abused the influence which they had acquired over the tender and
religious mind of her majesty, so far as to lead her a long way on foot,
through a park, the gates of which had been expressly ordered by Count
de Tilliers to be kept open, to go in devotion to a place (_Tyburn_)
where it had been the custom to execute the most infamous malefactors
and criminals of all sorts, exposed on the entrance of a high road; an
act, not only of shame and mockery towards the queen, but of reproach
and calumny of the king’s predecessors, of glorious memory, as accusing
them of tyranny in having put to death innocent persons, whom these
people look upon as martyrs, although, on the contrary, not one of them
had been executed on account of religion, but for high treason. And it
was this last act, above all, which provoked the royal resentment and
anger of his Majesty beyond the bounds of his patience, which, until
then, had enabled him to support all the rest; but he could now no
longer endure to see in his house, and in his kingdom, people who, even
in the person of his dearly beloved consort, had brought such a scandal
upon his religion; and violated, in such a manner, the respect due to
the sacred memory of so many great monarchs, his illustrious
predecessors, upon whom the Pope had never attempted, nor had ever been
able, to impose such a mark of indignity, under pretext of penitence, or
submission due to his see.”

That Charles I. believed this story, there can be but little doubt, for,
on July 12, 1626, he writes to his Ambassador in France: “I can no
longer suffer those that I know to be the cause and fomenters of these
humours, to be about my wife any longer, which I must do if it were but
for one action they made my wife do; which is to make her go to Tyburn
in devotion to pray, which action can have no greater invective made
against it than the relation.”

Replying to the Commissioners, Bassompierre takes up the cudgels for the
Queen, and denies the accusation thus: “The Queen of Great Britain, with
the permission of the King, her husband, gained the jubilee at the
Chapel of the Fathers of the Oratory at St. James’s (_Saint Gemmes_)
with the devotion suitable to a great Princess, so well born, and so
zealous for her religion--which devotions terminated with Vespers; and
some time after the heat of the day having passed, she went for a walk
in the Park of St. James’, and also in Hyde Park (_Hipparc_), which
adjoins it, as she had, at other times, been accustomed to do, and
frequently in the company of the King, her husband; but that she has
done so in procession, that there have there been made any prayers,
public or private, high or low--that she has approached the gallows
within 50 paces--that she has been on her knees, holding a book of Hours
or a Chaplet in her hands, is what those that impose these matters do
not believe themselves.”

In the Print Room of the British Museum, in that fine collection of
pictures relating to London--Crowle’s interleaved edition of Pennant’s
London--is a very fine engraving of the Queen, praying under the gallows
by moonlight, assisted by a torch-bearer--a coach and six awaiting her
return; but as this picture is manifestly of the last century, it is not
worth reproducing in any way.

Where the gallows stood is still a moot point--but evidence points that
No. 49, Connaught Square was built on its site, and in the lease of the
house from the Bishop of London it is so expressed. Against this a
correspondent in “Notes and Queries” (2 S. x. 198) says, “that the late
Mr. Lawford, the bookseller of Saville Passage, told me that he had been
informed by a very old gentleman who frequented his shop, that the
Tyburn Tree stood as nearly as possible to the public house in the
Edgware Road, now known by the sign of the ‘Hoppoles,’ which is at the
corner of Upper Seymour Street; he having several times witnessed
executions there. Amongst them, Dr. Dodd’s, which had made a strong
impression on his memory, on account of the celebrity of the culprit,
and because, when the hangman was going to put the halter round the
doctor’s neck, the latter removed his wig, showing his bald shaved head;
and a shower of rain coming on at the same time, someone on the platform
hastily put up an umbrella, and held it over the head of the man who had
but a minute to live, as if in fear that he might catch cold.”

Another correspondent (4 S. xi. 98) practically endorses this site. He
says: “The _potence_ itself was in Upper Bryanston Street, a few doors
from Edgware Road, on the northern side. The whole of this side of the
street is occupied by squalid tenements and sheds, now (Feb. 1, 1873) in
the course of demolition, and on the site of one of these, under the
level of the present street, is to be seen a massive brickwork pillar,
in the centre of which is a large socket, evidently for one of the
pillars of the old gallows. An ancient house at the corner of Upper
Bryanston Street and Edgware Road, which has been pulled down within the
last few weeks was described to me as the only one existing in the
neighbourhood when executions took place at Tyburn, and from the balcony
in front of which the Sheriffs of London used to take their official
view of the proceedings.”

The date of the last hanging at Tyburn was Nov. 7, 1783.

A curious thing connected with Tyburn was the “Tyburn Ticket.” In the
_Morning Herald_, March 17, 1802, is this advertisement: “Wanted, one or
two Tyburn Tickets, for the Parish of St. George’s, Hanover Square. Any
person or persons having the same to dispose of may hear of a
purchaser,” etc. These tickets were granted to a prosecutor who
succeeded in getting a felon convicted, and they carried with them the
privilege of immunity from serving all parochial offices. They were
transferable by sale (but only once), and the purchaser enjoyed its
privileges. They were abolished in 1818. They had a considerable
pecuniary value, and, in the year of their abolition, one was sold for

Tyburnia is that part of London bounded south by the Bayswater Road,
east by the Edgware Road, and the west includes Lancaster Gate.

There was a Turnpike called Tyburn Gate which commanded the Edgware and
Uxbridge Roads; and close by, on the north side of the Bayswater
Road--from the corner of the Edgware Road--is Connaught Terrace; No. 7
of which was, in 1814, the residence of Queen Caroline--wife of George
IV. It was here, and to her mother, that the Princess Charlotte ran,
rather than live at Carlton House, or marry the Prince of Orange. Then
there was great consternation, and the Lord Chancellor, the Chancellor
of the Duchy of Lancaster, and others, came to reason with her, but she
would none of them, and not even her kind uncle, the Duke of Sussex,
could prevail with her to go back.

Lord Brougham was more successful, and this is a portion of his account
of how he managed the wayward girl: “We then conversed upon the subject
with the others, and after a long discussion on that and her lesser
grievances, she took me aside, and asked me what, upon the whole, I
advised her to do. I said at once, ‘Return to Warwick House, or Carlton
House, and on no account to pass a night out of her own house.’ She was
extremely affected and cried, asking if I, too, refused to stand by her.
I said, quite the contrary, and that as to the marriage, I gave no
opinion, except that she must follow her own inclination entirely, but
that her returning home was absolutely necessary; and in this all the
rest fully agreed--her mother, the Duke of Sussex, Miss Mercer and Lady
Charlotte Lindsay, for whom she had a great respect and regard. I said,
that however painful it was to me, the necessity was so clear, and so
strong, that I had not the least hesitation in advising it. She again
and again begged me to consider her situation, and to think whether,
looking to that, it was absolutely necessary she should return.

“The day now began to dawn, and I took her to the window. The election
of Cochrane (after his expulsion, owing to the sentence of the Court,
which both insured his re-election and abolished the pillory) was to
take place that day. I said, ‘Look there, Madam; in a few hours all the
streets and the park, now empty, will be crowded with tens of thousands.
I have only to take you to the window, show you to the crowd, and tell
them your grievances, and they will rise in your behalf.’ ‘And why
should they not?’ I think she said, or some such words. ‘The commotion,’
I answered, ‘will be excessive; Carlton House will be attacked,--perhaps
pulled down; the soldiers will be ordered out; blood will be shed; and
if your Royal Highness were to live a hundred years, it never would be
forgotten that your running away from your father’s house was the cause
of the mischief; and you may depend upon it, such is the English
people’s horror of bloodshed, you would never get over it.’ She at once
felt the truth of my assertion, and consented to see her uncle Frederic
(the Duke of York) below stairs, and return with him. But she required
one of the Royal carriages should be sent for, which came with her
governess, and they, with the Duke of York, went home about five

Turning down Park Lane, we find Gloucester House, the residence of
H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, and it is so called because it was bought
by the late Duke of Gloucester on his marriage. Formerly the Earl of
Elgin lived here, and here he exhibited the “Elgin Marbles” which are
now the pride of the classical section of the British Museum. Byron, in
his _Curse of Minerva_, thus writes of them:--

    “While brawny brutes, in stupid wonder stare,
     And marvel at his lordship’s ‘stone shop’ there.”

Lower down is Dorchester House, the residence of Capt. Holford, erected
in 1852-4. It is so named because it stands on the site of a house
belonging to the Damers, Earls of Dorchester. It is celebrated for its
libraries, engravings, and paintings by the old masters. Yet nearer Hyde
Park Corner is Londonderry House, the town house of the Marquess of
Londonderry, K.G.

Hyde Park Corner, as shown in a water-colour drawing of 1756 in the
Crace Collection, gives us a good idea of what it was like--its wooden
gates, its apple stall, the row of squalid cottages, and the
public-house called the “Hercules’ Pillars”--where now stand Apsley
House and the houses of the Rothschilds. Anent the apple stall, the
story is told that the wife of a discharged soldier named Allen kept it
during the reign of George II. Allen somehow attracted the notice of the
King, who, upon learning that he had fought at Dettingen, asked what he
could do for him. Allen asked for the grant of the bit of land on which
his hut and apple stall stood, and the boon was granted. In 1784,
Allen’s representative sold the ground to Henry, Lord Apsley, who was
then Lord Chancellor, who thereon built a red brick house, which he is
said to have designed, and, having built the first floor, found that he
had forgotten any staircases to go up higher.

In 1820 it was purchased by the nation and settled on the great Arthur,
Duke of Wellington, and his heirs for ever, but it had to undergo many
alterations before it took its present shape. Many of my readers will
remember the bullet-proof iron shutters which were put up at every
window facing Piccadilly, after all the windows had been smashed by a
mob during the popular ferment caused by the Reform Bill. They were
never opened during the old Duke’s life, and were only taken down by his
son in 1856. The story of these iron shutters is thus told by the Rev.
R. Gleig, in his _Life of Arthur, Duke of Wellington_ (ed. 1864, p.

“The Duke was not in his place in the House of Lords on that memorable
day when the King went down to dissolve (prorogue) Parliament (April
22nd, 1831). He had been in attendance for some time previously at the
sick bed of the Duchess, and she expired just as the Park guns began to
fire. He was therefore ignorant of the state into which London had
fallen, till a surging crowd swept up from Westminster to Piccadilly,
shouting and yelling, and offering violence to all whom they suspected
of being anti-reformers. By-and-by, volleys of stones came crashing
through the windows at Apsley House, breaking them to pieces, and doing
injury to more than one valuable picture in the gallery. The Duke bore
the outrage as well as he could, but determined never to run a similar
risk again. He guarded his windows, as soon as quiet was restored, with
iron shutters, and left them there to the day of his death--a standing
memento of a nation’s ingratitude.”

The illustration representing the Duke looking out of his smashed
windows is taken from _Political Sketches by H.B._ (John Doyle), No.
267, June 10th, 1833, and is entitled “Taking an Airing in Hyde Park; a
portrait, Framed but not YET _Glazed_.”

Nearly opposite Apsley House, and at the top of Constitution Hill,
stands an Arch which was originally intended as a private entrance to
Buckingham Palace; but it was erected on its present site about 1828,
when Burton put up his screen at the entrance to Hyde Park. It is now
more generally known as the Wellington Arch, from its having been
surmounted by a colossal bronze equestrian statue of the great Duke, by
Matthew Cotes Wyatt, in 1846. This was the outcome of a public
subscription for the purpose, which is said to have amounted to £36,000.
So much ridicule, however, was heaped upon it, that it was taken


Page 280.

down in January, 1883, and removed to Aldershot in August, 1884, where
it now is. A new statue on a pedestal supported by four soldiers, by Sir
J. E. Boehm, was afterwards erected on nearly the same spot, and was
unveiled by the Prince of Wales, on December 21, 1888.

St. George’s Hospital, which stands close by, owes its existence to some
dissension in the government of the Westminster Infirmary--and the
seceders, in 1733, took Lanesborough House, on the site of the present
hospital. The house being found too small, wings were added, and, even
then, want of space compelled the governors to pull it down and erect a
new one, which was finished in 1834--since when it has been much

Knightsbridge is a very old hamlet--adjacent to Hyde Park Corner and
thence running westward, bounded on the north by the Park. It is
supposed to have taken its name from a bridge over the Westbourne, which
ran across the road previous to its falling into the Thames at Chelsea.
In Ellis’s _Introduction to Norden’s Essex_, p. XV., he says that
Norden, describing in 1593 the bridges of most use in Middlesex,
“enumerates ‘Kinges bridge, commonly called Stone bridge, nere Hyde
parke corner, wher I wish noe true man to walke too late without good
garde, unless he can make his partie good, as dyd Sir H. Knyvet, Knight,
who valiantlye defended himselfe, ther being assaulted, and slew the
master theefe with his owne hands.’”

This bridge was as near as possible where Albert Gate now stands--one of
the mansions there being once occupied by George Hudson, the Railway
King, who bought it for £15,000. From being a small draper at York,
with his own savings and a legacy of £30,000, he amassed a large fortune
by promoting Railway Companies. When the Railway mania collapsed he
became very poor, but a few friends having subscribed £4800, they bought
him an annuity with it, on which he lived until his death, in 1871.

The Barracks for the Household Cavalry are also in Knightsbridge, and
not many years ago they were condemned as being unsanitary, and the
present magnificent block built in their stead. From them to Kensington
Gardens, there is nothing particular to note.


                  ST. JOHN’S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL, E.C.


 [1] Ancestor of the family of Mandeville, Earls of Essex.

 [2] A hide was 100 or 120 acres--as much land as one plough could
 cultivate in a year.

 [3] A Carucate was as much arable land as could be cultivated by one
 plough in a year, with sufficient meadow and pasture for the team.

 [4] A plough is the same as a Carucate.

 [5] These were not slaves, but persons used and employed in the most
 servile work, and belonging, both they and their children, and their
 effects, to the lord of the soil, like the rest of the cattle or stock
 upon it.

 [6] A Virgate was from 8 to 16 acres of land.

 [7] Bordars were peasants holding a little house, bigger than a
 cottage, together with some land of husbandry.

 [8] An History of the Church of St. Peter, Westminster, by R. Widmore,

 [9] John of Gaunt, brother of Edward III., and titular King of Castile.

 [10] Strype’s edit, of Stow’s Survey, ed. 1720. Book VI. p. 80.

 [11] Lord Burghley, High Steward of Westminster.

 [12] Who had formerly been a kind of companion to his wife.

 [13] England under the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, by P. E. Tytler.
 Lond. 1839, vol i. p. 288.

 [14] Illustrations of British History, etc., by E. Lodge. Lond. 1791,
 vol. ii. p. 205.

 [15] The Duke of Anjou and his Court.

 [16] Keeper, whose duty was to shoot trespassing dogs, and foxes.

 [17] His lodge.

 [18] Correspondence of Lord Scudamore, Ambassador at Paris in 1635,
 etc., privately printed.

 [19] Vol. ii. p. 508.

 [20] _Mercurius Politicus._ January 29-February 5, 1657.

 [21] _Mercurius Politicus._ January 15-22, 1657, and _The Publick
 Intelligencer_, January 19-26, 1657.

 [22] _Mercurius Politicus._ February 12-19, 1657.

 [23] “Amusements Serious and Comical, Calculated for the Meridian of
 London.” Lond. 1700, p. 55.

 [24] “Environs of London.” D. Lysons, 2nd ed. vol. ii. part i. p. 117.

 [25] _Amelia_, by Hy. Fielding, ed. 1752. Book 5, ch. vi. p. 132.

 [26] Brit. Mus. 515. 1. 2/215

 [27] Richardson.

 [28] The Duke of York, afterwards James II.

 [29] Whenever “the tour” is mentioned, the “Ring” is meant which was
 the most fashionable part.

 [30] Rox. ii. 379.--Lutt. ii. 147.

 [31] 1st Series, 2nd edition, 1862, p. 71.

 [32] The age of the Prince Regent.

 [33] Technically we were then at war with America--a war which began
 June 18th, 1812, and was ended by the Peace of Ghent, December 24th,

 [34] These mimic ships were drawn by artillery horses from the Thames
 side to the Serpentine.

 [35] _Morning Chronicle_, June 30, 1838; p. 4, c. 3.

 [36] The “Book of Fame,” by Geoffrey Chaucer; printed by Caxton, 1486

 [37] Dais.

 [38] _Punch_, June 29, 1850.

 [39] This was no mandarin, but the shipper of a Chinese junk, then on
 exhibition, who had dressed himself gorgeously, and obtained admission

 [40] 6s. iv. 172.

 [41] The writer saw the messenger returning from the King at
 _Kensington_, and the execution.

 [42] “Celebrities of London and Paris.” 3rd Series, 1865.

 [43] The Bishop of Durham is a Prince Palatine, as well as a Bishop,
 and on entering his palatinate used to be, and may be now, girt with a

 [44] “A ramble thro’ Hyde Park; or, the Humours of the Camp.” London,

 [45] Oil-cloth.

 [46] Then called Buckingham House.

 [47] Next in rank to gunners.

 [48] Really, 841 cavalry and 7351 infantry.

 [49] The barrels and locks of the muskets of that date were bright and
 burnished. Browning military gun-barrels were not introduced till 1808.

 [50] The then Chief Commissioner of Police.

 [51] This Mr. Walpole denied in a letter to _The Times_, July 26th.

 [52] So called because it was there that the Reform League used to
 hold their meetings.

 [53] 35 and 36 Vic. C. 15 (June 27, 1872); by which it is set forth
 in the first Schedule, “That no person shall deliver, or invite any
 person to deliver any public address in a park, except in accordance
 with the rules of the park.”

 [54] A police inspector specially active in pursuit of
 Anarchists--knowing all their haunts, etc.

 [55] Now Sir E. Lawson, Bart., editor of _The Daily Telegraph_.

 [56] 1000_l._

 [57] Then Chief Commissioner of Police.

 [58] Probably meaning Sunday, 24th March.

 [59] Now the French Embassy, and the London and County Banking Company.

 [60] In a plan of “Part of Conduit Mead”--about 1720--the little
 stream is called “Aye brook.”

 [61] “Memoirs of the Embassy of the Marshal de Bassompierre to the
 Court of England in 1626,” p. 138. Translated. Lond. 1819.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hyde Park from Domesday-book to Date" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.