I went for a stroll in St James’s Park in London this COVID-affected Summer! St James’s Park is one of the Royal Parks in London in fact the oldest one. It used to be a marshy water meadow wherein the 13th century a women’s leper hospital was built, and that is how it was named. At the time the royal court was the Palace of Westminster.
In 1532 Henry VIII built the Palace of St. James here. Later Queen Elizabeth I used it for events and pageantry. King James I, improved the drainage, and the beginning of the Mall was also established. He drained a pond called Rosamond’s Pond. It was where Buckingham Palace is now. He used to keep different types of animals at the park. There were elephants, camels, crocodiles.
St James Park opened to public:
But Charles II redesigned the park and created the avenues. The park opened to the public. He was influenced by French landscape architecture since he used to be exiled in France and he commissioned Andre Molet to redesign it. Later, more pageantry with the Horse Guards was added.
But in 1837, it was re-landscaped by John Nash in a romantic style. Birds were introduced to the park at the same time. It was during Prince Regent, later George IV that major changes as we know them today occurred.
The park today is a mixture of history, urban green space, natural flower fields, and a haven for birds. Did you know there are Pelicans in St James’s Park? They have been there for 400 years now they were a gift from the Russians Ambassador to King Charles II.
St James’s Park is a wonderful combination of large grass areas sheltered by trees for picnics. Strolls by the lake, colorful beds of flowers, a children’s playground, and not to forget some of the monuments surrounding it.