Public parks have an honoured place in the urban histories of western cities. In many North European countries (eg France and Germany) they have benefitted from generous public expenditure. In America, selected parks (eg Central Park, NY) have benefitted from sponsorship. In the UK some heritage parks have benefitted from lottery funds. Like public libraries, they were one of the great social inventions of the nineteenth century. But they have fallen on hard times. A majority of the places in the Garden Visit and Travel Guide are private gardens, but a number of public parks have been included.
When Friedrich Engles trod the streets of Manchester, and wrote the Condition of the Working Classes in England (1844), he saw streets flowing with sewage, air filled with smoke and noxious fumes, houses crowded as in a twentieth century shanty town. The public park was one of the solutions to this problem. Some were designed with as much pride as the gardens of a stately home. We should conserve these places, not modernise them.
Other parks were designed as playgrounds for the aristocracy. In earlier times lords and ladies met in and around the court. In the eighteenth century, they congregated at exclusive pleasure grounds with a high entrance fee, like Vauxhall and Ranlagh in London. In the nineteenth century, they met in those public parks which happened to be in wealthy districts. Regent's Park is a good example. When first laid out, it had no footpaths. Visitors were expected to view the park from their carriages.
Since 1945, British public parks have become increasingly less well-used and have been deprived of resources, for several reasons:
What can be done?
The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.