From Royal Hunting Ground to Parks for People and Nature: A Celebration and History of London’s Parks

Paul Rabbitts  

Tuesday 12th April 2022 at 6pm on Zoom

Bandstand at Beckenham Recreation Ground – Copyright Paul Rabbitts

This really is a fascinating insight into the history of one of our greatest ever institutions – our great British public park. We have all enjoyed them at some time in our lives but what do we really know about them? Their origins? Did they really start in the Victorian period or do they go even further back? This talk illustrates their origins, talks about the need for parks, the Victorian heyday, what makes a great park, with examples of lodges, lakes, bandstands, fountains and floral displays, to their great decline in the sixties and seventies. However, the subsequent revival has led to a major shift in interest in our parks and once again we are much in love with them. This is also a highly illustrative talk accompanied by slides with examples of parks from across London and other parts of the UK and their designs and architecture. This is a particularly popular talk and always goes down well as we can nearly always recount our own experiences with our own local park.

Paul Rabbitts is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and Royal Society of Arts, parks historian, Head of Parks, Heritage and Culture at Watford Borough Council, public speaker, and chair of the Parks Management Association.  He is also the author of over 25 books, that include the history of public parks, The Royal Parks, the architect Decimus Burton, bandstands as well as books on local architecture in Amberley Publishing’s ’50 Buildings’ series on Britain’s towns and cities.