The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 3 St. James's and Green Parks

Drainage of St James's Park

Previous - Next

Rosamund's Pond had, in the course of time, become stagnant and unpleasant, and there were frequent complaints of its unsavoury condition. About 1736 a machine for pumping out water was invented by a Welshman, and used successfully to empty the pond, and it was thoroughly cleansed. Thirty years later the same evil began again to be a nuisance, and it was decided to drain and fill up the pond entirely, which was accomplished about 1772. The trees on the island were felled, and those near the bank died from the lack of water, so at first the absence of the slimy pond must have been disfiguring. The shady walk near it, known as the Close Walk or the Jacobites' Walk, must have disappeared when the trees died. About the same time the swampy moat round Duck Island was filled up and the canal cleaned out. When these improvements were completed in 1775 some birds were put on the canal. One of them was a swan called Jack, belonging to Queen Charlotte, which was reared in the garden of Buckingham House. This bird ruled the roost for many a day, and was a popular favourite. It lived until 1840, when some new arrivals, in the shape of Polish geese, pecked and ill-treated the poor old bird so seriously that he died.