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A Platform for Free Speech? – The History of Hyde Park in London

A Platform for Free Speech? – The History of Hyde Park in London

Hyde Park is located in the center of London, and is one of the largest parks in the city, consisting of 350 acres. Henry VII obtained it from the Monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536. He often rode a horse to hunt for deer on the property. The park was only for private hunting until James I became king and granted limited access to the public. King James arranged someone to be in charge of taking care of the park. Then in 1637, Charles I altered everything when he opened Hyde Park to the public. William III moved his home to Kensington Palace, which is on the far side of Hyde Park, in 1689. The king put in a drive, which is now known as Rotten Row. The road leads from Hyde Park corner towards Kensington Palace. In 1733 the park had some major landscaping done for Queen Caroline. A piece of water called The Serpentine was created. In 1826, designer George Rennie designed a bridge to separate The Serpentine from The Long Water.

Hyde Park is rich with history. When the Great Plague hit London in 1665, the people tried to escape by camping on the park. In addition, in 1851 the Great Exhibition took place in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. This was an international exhibition that symbolized the industrial revolution of Great Britain.

In 1855 a riot took place in the park when the Sunday Trading Bill was introduced by Parliament. The bill made it against the law for most goods except for fresh food to be sold on Sundays.

A tragic event to occur in the park was in 1982 when a bomb hidden in a blue car in the mall of Hyde Park was detonated. Several soldiers were killed and many others were injured.

Hyde Park is also a site in which people use for free speech, political protests, and marches. The park is well-known for Speakers’ Corner. Situated on the far northeast portion of the Hyde Park, Speakers’ Corner is a spot where a person can stand up and talk about anything they want with the exception of violence and terrorism. Visitors can especially hear the speakers on weekends or holidays. But at almost anytime during the day, people will get up and express their opinions on a variety of topics. Some famous people to frequent Speakers’ Corner are Karl Marx, Lenin, Derek Prince, George Orwell, and William Morris.

Many celebrations have taken place in the park. Fireworks marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1814. And in 1977, a Silver Jubilee Exhibition was held on the grounds of the park in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 25 years as Queen. The park also holds many proms and concerts. Indeed, the band Queen gave a concert in 1976 in which an estimated 200 thousand people turned up for the event, which is a record for the park. In 2012, Hyde Park will be home to the triathlon and the open water events at the Summer Olympic Games.

Hyde Park is open year round from 5 a.m to midnight.

Visiting Hyde Park and looking for a place to sleep in the city? Please consider the many cheap hostels in London, conveniently located near popular tourist attractions such as London Bridge.

Article from articlesbase.com

  1. […] A Platform for Free Speech? – The History of Hyde Park in London. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011 at 08:03 and posted in London's Royal Parks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Things To Do In London – London Parks […]


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