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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
City of Westminster in Greater London County, England, United Kingdom
 

For His Majesty's Pleasure

Birds, Boats and Bathing

 
 
For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, October 13, 2017
1. For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker
Inscription. About 350 years ago, workmen dug a canal in St. James's Park for the enjoyment of the fun-loving Charles II.

The King swam in the canal in the summer and skated on the ice in winter; He spent many hours feeding his collection of water birds, which included a crane with a wooden leg. The Doge of Venice gave the King two gondolas to sail on his canal and the Russian ambassador sent a pair of pelicans.

Garden Makeover

The canal was about 2,800ft (850m) long and 100ft (30m) wide and stretched the whole length of the park. It was part of a redesign of St. James's Park which began soon after Charles II became King in 1660. He wanted a pleasure park like ones he had seen in France. As well as the canal, there were avenues of trees and courts to play the new game of Pele Mele. The courts became the known as Pall Mall and The Mall.

Ducks for the King's Table

At one end of the canal there was a duck decoy; a series of narrow linked channels where wild ducks were lured into cages. The ducks were then killed and cooked for the King.

The decoy was later removed to make room for Horse Guards but the site is near the present-day Duck Island facing you. The Island was created in the 1820s when John Nash redesigned the park and turned the canal into the lake you see today.
For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker - Wide View image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, October 13, 2017
2. For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker - Wide View

 
Erected by The Royal Parks.
 
Location. 51° 30.232′ N, 0° 7.79′ W. Marker is in City of Westminster, England, in Greater London County. Marker is on Horse Guards Road 0.3 kilometers from The Mall. Touch for map.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Pelicans of St Jame's Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Duck Island Cottage (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Turkish Gun (about 210 meters away); The Battle of Britain Memorial (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Ho Chi Minh (approx. half a kilometer away); Benjamin Franklin (approx. half a kilometer away); Herman Melville (approx. half a kilometer away); Trial of William Wallace (approx. 0.6 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in City of Westminster.
 
More about this marker. The marker is found in St. James's Park, along the park path that is between the lake and Horse Guards Road.
 
Also see . . .  Landscape History - St. James's Park (The Royal Parks). Walk the elegant paths of St James's Park today and it is hard to imagine that pigs once grazed here. But, 470 years ago, the St James's area was known mainly for farms, woods and a hospital for women lepers....It was
For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker - Inset Picture image. Click for full size.
London Metropolitan Archives, 1798
3. For His Majesty's Pleasure Marker - Inset Picture
Caption: The canal seen from Horse Guards in 1798. We don't know for certain who designed the canal but it was probably the French landscape gardener, Andre Mollet.
a swampy wasteland which the River Tyburn often flooded on its way to the Thames. It was, however, ideal land for deer hunting, the passion of kings and queens at the time. The royal court was based at the Palace of Westminster and in 1536, King Henry VIII decided to create a deer park conveniently nearby. He acquired land in St James's, put a fence around it and built a hunting lodge that later became St James's Palace....The deer park stayed largely the same until 1603 when James I became king. He drained and landscaped the park. At the west end, near what is now Buckingham Palace, there was a large pool known as Rosamond's Pond. At the east end, there were several small ponds, channels and islands. These were used as a duck decoy to lure birds that were shot for the royal table....
(Submitted on November 1, 2017.) 
 
Categories. EntertainmentMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 1, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 1, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 1, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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