The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 2 Hyde Park

Celia Fiennes on Rotton Row

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A young lady, Celia Fiennes, describes the road in her diary about 1695. "Ye whole length of this parke there is a high Causey of a good breadth, 3 Coaches may pass, and on each side are Rowes of posts on wch are glasses-Cases for Lamps wch are Lighted in ye Evening and appeares very fine as well as safe for ye passenger. This is only a private roade ye King had wch reaches to Kensington, where for aire our Great King Wm bought a house and filled it for a Retirement wth pretty gardens." The road was in bad repair before the new one was in good order, and Lord Hervey, writing in 1736, says it had grown "so infamously bad" as to form "a great impassable gulf of mud" between London and Kensington Palace. "There are two ways through the Park, but the new one is so convex, and the old one is so concave, that by this extreme of faults they agree in the common of being, like the high road, impassable."