The large swathe of greenery which stretches from St. James’s Park to Hyde Park – of which Green Park is just one piece – was purchased by Henry VIII for hunting. It was then parcelled up and returned to the public at various dates in history.
Green Park is the blandest of these three central parks, and is famed mainly for the houses along its eastern border – St. James’s Palace and Spencer House. The south is lined by Constitution Hill, which backs onto Buckingham Palace.
Charles II laid out some walkways and a ‘Snow House’ in the mid 17th-century, where his guests could rest for cooling drinks. The building has long since gone, but you can still see its mound opposite 110 Piccadilly. His other features included the Tyburn Pool and Queen’s Basin (demolished in the 1850s).
Other buildings met a similar fate – the Temple of Peace was built in 1749 to mark the end of the War of Austrian Succession, but was burnt down in a firework display. The Temple of Concord met the same fate at the Prince Regent’s Gala.
The park is still owned by the Crown today, but was opened to the public in 1826.
If you walk along Constitution Hill to the western end of the park, then you’ll come across Wellington Arch. This was built in 1826 to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars.
It originally served as the northern gate of Buckingham Palace, but was moved to its present location in the late 19th-century.
41-gun salute, in Green Park – 14th Jun 2014
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