Another week, another royal park! This time it’s the smallest and oldest, St James’s Park. Set in front of Buckingham Palace, the park was originally created by Henry VIII as a hunting ground. Later, it was redesigned by Charles II and became home to the first, royal Great White (or Rosy) Pelicans. They were a gift to the King from the Russian Ambassador in 1664 and the park has been a home to pelicans ever since.
St James’s has a fascinating history that has really left it’s mark on the area. Charles II had avenues of trees planted alongside his Paile Maile (similar to croquet) lawns. Locals started calling the main road alongside these lawns Pall Mall and the nickname stuck. The King opened the park to the public and was a frequent visitor, feeding the ducks and mingling with his subjects. He filled the park with animals including camels, elephants and crocodiles and built a row of aviaries for his collection of exotic birds. The adjacent roadway gained the name Birdcage Walk. People still gather here to feed the birds and a few exotics have returned, the ring-necked parakeets!
John Nash redesigned the park in the 19th Century. The original canal was transformed into a natural-looking lake and in 1837 the Ornithological Society of London presented the park with a collection of birds and erected a cottage for a birdkeeper. Both the cottage and the position of birdkeeper remain to this day. Duck Island cottage is where you will find the pelicans being fed every day between 14:30 and 15:00. There are also around 15 species of waterfowl living on the lake.
Exploring this lovely little park was just the tonic I needed on Friday afternoon after another disappointing appointment at Guy’s Hospital. The day may have started out negatively but I turned it into something very positive! Another busy Monday ahead so I am putting my pelican into all three Monday challenges. Have a great week everyone!
Sadly, Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor still has no internet access so we cannot share our Blue Monday posts as a group. I am still going to share these images, taken last week at the Basingstoke Canal, as part of the theme and to share my entry for Wex Mondays on Twitter. Included in the gallery is a particularly colourful blue houseboat that always makes me smile. There was a certain irony to its Hawaiian-styled design set against the frozen waters of the canal!Many of the resident ducks were gathered near the houseboats this week as the warmth emanating from them was keeping this one stretch of water free of the ice. I have to admit that the sight of the smoke coming from the stove chimney with streamers of sunlight cutting through the tree branches gave me a rather warm feeling inside! It’s a shame that warmth did not spread to my extremities. We’ve not had any snowfall here yet but reports are looking vaguely hopeful!
This week, Ben has asked us to turn the concrete and familiar into something new and mysterious! I chose to conceptualise scenes of London that I see and photograph a lot. These are my city abstracts from around The Shard and Guys’s Hospital. I took the photos on my Sony a6000 and then transferred them onto my phone to edit in Snapseed and Adobe Touch. It kept me busy on the train journey home!