Our hotel was close to St. James’s Park (not to be confused with St. James’ Park). We found it to be a nice, interesting, convenient place to relax/snooze in the sun for the few afternoons we were in London.
I know that St. James Park has history — it’s London’s oldest park. I’ve seen it referred to in history books, websites, period movies, etc. However, I didn’t realize how much history this little park had until I started to look for more information.
- Originally, the land was grazing land for pigs and other livestock.
- 1200s: The first building onsite was a Leper hospital for women, which is what the park is named after. Green Park (next door) was where these women were buried.
- 1500s: In 1532, Henry VIII purchased the land to create a deer park.
- 1600s: King James I kept exotic animals in the park (camels, crocodiles, exotic birds, and an elephant).
- 1600s: King Charles II turned the park into a landscaped formal space which he used to court/entertain rich and famous Londoners. This is when the park opened to the public. Ironically, the public does not actually have the right to use any of the Royal Parks. Whether or not the parks are open to the public is determined by the Crown.
- 1600s: The family of pelicans that live in the park first arrived in 1664 as a gift from a Russian ambassador. They’re hand fed every day.
- 1800s: The park saw a revitalization and remodeling. John Nash is the man behind this and his design is largely what is seen in the park today.
Anyhow… back to our afternoons of snoozing…
Knowing that the park was at least a few hundred years old (and having that blasted Archaeology background), I told Niña to poke a stick in the ground in a few places to see what she found. Very old parks tend to have interesting things for many layers under the surface.
Immediately she came back with a couple of coins, a necklace and some interesting rocks. Then she built an inukshuk and left it there.
The egg in the photo gallery is #31 of the 210 big eggs “hidden” around London for the Faberge Big Egg Hunt.