St James’s Park

Park in/near St. James's Park, existing until now

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Park · St. James's Park · SW1A ·
July
20
2013

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit St James's Park, the oldest of the capital's eight Royal Parks.

St. James’s Park Lake looking east from the Blue Bridge.
Credit: Colin
The park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade and is at the heart of ceremonial London, providing the setting for spectacular pageants including the annual Trooping the Colour. It is the easternmost of an almost continuous chain of parks that also comprises Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

The park has a small lake, St. James's Park Lake, with two islands, West Island, and Duck Island, which is named for the lake's collection of waterfowl. This includes a resident colony of pelicans, which has been a feature of the park since the first gift of the birds from a Russian ambassador in 1664. The Blue Bridge across the lake affords a view west towards Buckingham Palace framed by trees. Looking east the view includes the Swire fountain to the north of Duck Island and, past the lake, the grounds known Horse Guards Parade, with the Horse Guards building, the Old War Office building and Whitehall Court progressively behind. To the south of Duck Island is the Tiffany fountain situated on Pelican Rock and past the lake is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the London Eye, the Shell Tower and The Shard progressively behind.

Some 500 years ago, the St James's area was known mainly for pig farms, woods and a hospital for women lepers. The area which became the park was bought as a marsh, from Eton College, by Henry VIII. It was purchased in order to turn York Palace, renamed Whitehall, into a dwelling fit for a king. Henry had the park itself turned into a deer chase.

On James I's accession to the throne in 1603, he ordered that the park be drained and landscaped, and kept exotic animals in the park, including camels, crocodiles, and an elephant, as well as aviaries of exotic birds along the south. It was opened to the public by Charles II.

In the late 17th and early 18th century cows were grazed on the park, and milk could be bought fresh at the Lactarian, described by Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach in 1710.

The 18th century saw further changes, including the reclamation of part of the canal for Horse Guards Parade and the 1761 purchase of Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) at the west end of the Mall, for the use of Queen Charlotte.

Further remodelling in 1826–27, commissioned by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and overseen by the architect and landscaper John Nash, saw the straight canal's conversion to a more naturally-shaped lake, and formal avenues rerouted to romantic winding pathways. At the same time, Buckingham House was expanded to create the current palace and Marble Arch was built at its entrance, whilst The Mall was turned into a grand processional route, opened to public traffic 60 years later in 1887, the Marble Arch having been moved to its current location at the junction of Oxford Street and Park Lane in 1851 and replaced with the Victoria Memorial between 1906 and 1924.


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St. James’s Park Lake looking east from the Blue Bridge.
Colin


 

St. James's Park

St James's Park station is not only a station but London Underground HQ - otherwise known as 55 Broadway.

The station was opened on 24 December 1868 by the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District Line) when the company opened the first section of its line between South Kensington and Westminster stations. The MDR connected to the Metropolitan Railway (MR, later the Metropolitan Line) at South Kensington and, although the two companies were rivals, each company operated its trains over the other's tracks in a joint service known as the Inner Circle.

The station has been reconstructed twice. In the first decade of the 20th century the original MDR station was reconstructed in conjunction with the building of Electric Railway House a headquarters building for the MDR's owners the London Electric Railway. The station was then rebuilt again between 1927 and 1929 as part of the construction of 55 Broadway the company's new headquarters building designed by Charles Holden and featuring statues and carved stone panels including ones by Sir Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, and Henry Moore.

The platforms feature the green, blue, black and white tiling scheme first used for the reconstruction and extension to Morden of the City & South London Railway (now the Northern Line) also designed by Holden and opened between 1924 and 1926.

Together with 55 Broadway, the station is now a Grade I listed building.

Over time, the station name has been spelled differently, illustrating changing practice in punctuation. Tube maps up to the early 1930s show the name as St. James' Park. From Harry Beck's first map in 1933 until the early 1950s the name was shown as St. James Park. Since the 1950s it has had the current name.
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