From plagued to important- The rise of London

Robynne O’Sullivan


Hyde Park, a commonly known, public nirvana in London was not always the sophisticated hub we know today.  Hyde Park has transformed a lot down through the years having great ups and downs in its history.

The park was taken over by Henry VIII in 1537. It became a closed off deer park, which was privately used by Henry for hunting. This was the case until James I took over the thrown in 1606 and granted limited access to the grounds and appointed a ranger. The public were finally allowed full access to the grounds and he created the Ring in 1637. Hyde park went from an elite place, to a place of refuge for all members of the public. Although it was a royal gem, its use took a drastic turn when people camped out there hoping to escape the wrath of the Great Plague that took over London in 1665. The social use for Hyde park had changed a lot in just over 100 years but was now starting to bring a community together. The route now known as Rotten Row, was the first highway with artificial lighting installed in the country. It consisted of 300 oil lamps that were elected in the late 17th century when William III moved to Kensington and granted his walk to the park too dangerous.


The park transformed again in 1730’s when Queen Caroline had a Lake of 11.34 acres created called the Serpentine. This created all sorts of leisure activities for the public to enjoy. Completely changing the air of the place from an association with the Plague back to a place of fun and happiness.


Hyde Park has come a long way from being a private hunting grounds to what we know today. It has morphed into a social epicentre with shops, cafes, playgrounds and even plays the role as venue for concerts and other events.




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