Esoteric London

No. 1115: Shepherdess Walk, N1

Posted in Parks, Public Art by esotericlondon on June 6, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_0399 copy

Shepherdess Walk, London, N1. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

London Parks And Gardens – The Honble Mrs. Evelyn Cecil, 1907:

The rage for landscape gardening was at its height. Capability Brown had done his work of destruction, and set the fashion of “copying nature,” and his successors were following on his lines, but going much further even than Brown. The sight of a straight canal had become intolerable. The Serpentine was designed when the idea that it might be possible to make the banks of artificial sheets of water in anything but a perfectly straight line was just dawning, but the canal in St. James’s Park was transformed when half the stiff ponds and canals in the kingdom had been twisted and turned into lakes or meres. Brown had had a hand in the alterations at the time Rosamund’s Pond was removed, but it was Eyton who planned and executed the work fifty years later. It was begun in 1827, and a contemporary writer praises the result as “the best obliteration of avenues” that has been effected. Although he owns it involved “a tremendous destruction of fine elms,” he is lost in admiration of the “astounding ingenuity” which “converted a Dutch canal into a fine flowing river, with incurvated banks, terminated at one end by a planted island and at the other by a peninsula.” […]. Just before the alterations began, and the complete change of the canal was taken in hand, the Park was lighted with gas lamps, an innovation which caused much excitement. At the same time orders were issued to shut the gates by ten every evening. A wit on this occasion wrote the following lines, which were found stuck up on a tree:–

“The trees in the Park

Are illumined with gas,

But after it’s dark

No creatures can pass.

“Ye sensible wights

Who govern our fates,

Extinguish your lights

Or open your gate.”