Welcome to month three of London Town, the Royal Parks
This month we're going to step away from London's busy streets for a moment and go on an outing to the Park.
Until the 17th century, the city stayed within the 'square mile' of its Roman Walls, surrounded by the fields and villages which supplied its population with food. The first parks were actually deer parks, created by royal licence and reserved for the nobility to hunt in.
The deer park at Greenwich was inherited by Henry VI in 1447 and became the perfect place for the royal family to escape from the confines of the city. A century later, hunting-mad Henry VIII, was 'gifted' Bushy Park - along with Hampton Court Palace - by Cardinal Wolsey (under some duress) along with his Westminster residence. Keen to move out of the Tower with his new wife, Anne Boleyn, Henry purchased St. James's Park and enlarged it by confiscating Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey after the dissolution of the monasteries. As we know, Anne didn't get to enjoy her new parks for long and found herself back at the Tower!
Three-quarters of London was destroyed in the great fire of 1666 and the new city was rebuilt beyond its old walls. Looking enviously over the channel to the Palace Gardens at Versailles, Charles II remodelled St. James's Park, planting grand avenues of trees, opening it to the public and settling in a pair of pelicans gifted to him by the Russian ambassador. Their descendants live there to this day.
This was also the time when the crowded medieval streets were replaced by elegant garden squares, bringing much needed greenery to a city which would triple in size during the 1700s. The population tripled again during the nineteenth century, spreading ever outwards with the railway and underground networks. In 1811 George IV remodelled another of Henry's deer parks to create Regent's Park, creating a new home for the Royal Menagerie then housed at the Tower (pelicans excepted) and in 1842, Victoria Park was opened as the first of four new public parks, resplendent with bandstands and flower-lined paths, created for the enjoyment of all Londoners.
Although Greater London now covers 600 square miles rather than one, it has 3,000 parks of varying sizes which make up 100 square miles of green space. And in the quieter corners of Greenwich and Richmond parks you can still see deer...
This month we are going to be creating two mirror image blocks (one adorned with a little pelican). When you've made one, remember to turn it to the wrong side to act as a guide for the second. And please make a note of the pattern revision before you start sewing.
This month's treat...
This month your parcel includes the first of our exclusive treats, inspired by vintage travel badges: the perfect souvenir of our tour.
London Town: month 3
Revision to steps 5/6 and 16
Having gone to the trouble of mentioning the orientation of the background rectangle in the written directions for step 5, I have managed to draw it the wrong way around.
The side pieces in step 16 should be reversed (although it will still look cute)
I’m so sorry for any confusion and am very grateful to our lovely block-of-the-monther, Nancy, for spotting the errors. Please find a PDF of the revised directions here.