Hyde Park

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Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London and one of the Royal Parks of London. The park is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake. The park is contiguous with Kensington Gardens, which is widely assumed to be part of Hyde Park, but is technically separate. Hyde Park is 350 acres (1.4 km²) and Kensington Gardens is 275 acres (1.1 km²) giving an overall area of 625 acres (2.5 km²).

The park was the site of The Great Exhibition of 1851, for which the Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton. The park has become a traditional location for mass demonstrations. The Chartists, the Suffragettes and the Stop The War Coalition have all held protests in the park.

On July 20, 1982 in the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, two bombs linked to the IRA caused the death of seven horses and eight members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets.
Grand Entrance

The Grand Entrance to Hyde Park

The Grand Entrance to the park, at Hyde Park Corner next to Apsley House, was erected from the designs of Decimus Burton. It consists of a screen of handsome fluted Ionic columns, with three carriage entrance archways, two foot entrances, a lodge, etc. The extent of the whole frontage is about 107 ft (33 m).

The central entrance has a bold projection: the entablature is supported by four columns; and the volutes of the capitals of the outside column on each side of the gateway are formed in an angular direction, so as to exhibit two complete faces to view.

The two side gateways, in their elevations, present two insulated Ionic columns, flanked by antae. All these entrances are finished by a blocking, the sides of the central one being decorated with a beautiful frieze, representing a naval and military triumphal procession. This frieze was designed by Mr. Henning, junior, the son of Mr. Henning who was well known for his models of the Elgin marbles.

The gates were manufactured by Messrs. Bramah. They are of iron, bronzed, and fixed or hung to the piers by rings of gun-metal. The design consists of a beautiful arrangement of the Greek honeysuckle ornament; the parts being well defined, and the raffles of the leaves brought out in a most extraordinary manner.

Sites of interest

Sites of interest in the park include Speakers' Corner (located in the northeast corner near Marble Arch) and Rotten Row which is the northern boundary of the site of the Crystal Palace. To the southeast is Hyde Park Corner. South of the Serpentine Lake is the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain opened on July 6, 2004. A botanical sensation is the bizarre upside-down tree. Opposite Hyde Park corner stands one of the grandest hotels in London, The Lanesborough, which offers its top suite at £6,000 per night.

Stanhope Lodge at Stanhope Gate, demolished to widen Park Lane, was the home of Samuel Parkes who won the Victoria Cross in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Parkes was later Inspector of the Park Constables of the Park and died in the Lodge on 14 November 1864. The photography for the Beatles album Beatles for Sale was taken at Hyde Park in autumn of 1964.

Concerts

The main Live 8 concert in Hyde Park on 2 July 2005 Hyde Park has been the venue for some famous rock concerts, including those featuring Jethro Tull (1968), Blind Faith (1969), The Rolling Stones (1969), King Crimson (1969), Pink Floyd (1970), Roy Harper (1971), The Who (1973), Bon Jovi (2003), Red Hot Chili Peppers (2004), and Live 8 (2005).

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