Hyde Park

Hyde Park .—This fine open place is part of the ancient manor of Hida, which belonged to the monastery of St. Peter, at Westminster, till Henry VIII. appropriated it differently.  Its extent is about 390 acres, part of which is considerably elevated.  The whole is intersected with noble roads and paths, and luxuriant trees, planted singly or in groups, presenting very diversified prospects.  Near the south-east corner, the entrance from Piccadilly, on an elevated pedestal, stands a colossal bronze statue of Achilles, cast from the cannon taken at the battles of Salamanca and Waterloo, weighing thirty tons, and (as the inscription informs us) ‘erected to the Duke of Wellington and his companions in arms by their countrywomen.' Knightsbridge, Albert Gate, Hyde Park, &c.  (Brompton and
Kensington Roads in the distance.)It cost £10,000, and was the work of Sir R. Westmacott.  The south-east entrance to the park, near Apsley House, is marked by a handsome series of arches and balustrades, from the designs of Mr. Decimus Burton.  The north-east entrance, at the end of Oxford Street, now comprises the Marble Arch , removed from the front of Buckingham Palace.  The other entrances, of which there are several, are less ornate.  The long sheet of water called the Serpentine  enriches the scenery of Hyde Park.  Near its western extremity is a stone bridge, of five large and two smaller arches, erected in 1826, giving access to the gardens of Kensington Palace; and the portion of the Serpentine contained within the gardens has lately been rendered very attractive, by the formation, at its head, of a small Italian garden, with fountains, statuary, &c.  The carriage-drive on the northern bank of the Serpentine is called the Ladies' Mile .  On the level space of Hyde Park troops of the line and volunteers are occasionally reviewed.  There is a well-stored magazine near the western side.  The broad road through the park to Kensington is denominated Rotten Row, and is a fashionable resort for equestrians of both sexes, but is not open to wheel-carriages.  Other roads display countless elegant equipages of wealth and fashion; while the footpaths, which are railed off from the roads, are favourite places of resort for visitors, who enjoy the salubrity of the air, and the gaiety of the scene, more particularly between five and seven on a summer afternoon.  There are several entrances open from early morning till ten at night.  No stage or hackney coaches, carts, or waggons, are permitted within the gates of Hyde Park—with the exception of a road-way, made at the time of the International Exhibition in 1862, and since kept up, across the park, near Kensington Gardens, for passenger-vehicles.  The Serpentine is much frequented for bathing and skating.  It has been recently cleaned out, and drained to that end; the Royal Humane Society have a receiving-house near at hand, to aid those whose lives may be endangered.  The morning and evening hours for bathing are defined by regulations placarded in various places.  The Great Exhibition of 1851, the first of its kind, was held in a Crystal Palace near the south-west corner of the park.  The Exhibition building of 1862 was beyond the limits of the park.  The Albert Memorial  is at the Kensington end of Hyde Park.