The Garden Guide

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

Royal Promenades in St James's Park

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The popularity of the Mall as the rendezvous of all classes lasted for over a century. Through the reigns of Queen Anne and George I. and II. all the fashionable world of London congregated there twice daily. In the morning the promenade took them there from twelve to two, and after dinner in full dress they thronged thither again, not to play the game of paille-maille, which was then out of fashion, but simply to walk about under the trees and be amused with races, wrestlings, or an impromptu dance. Every well-known person-courtiers, wits, beaux, writers, poets, artists, soldiers-and all the beautiful and fascinating women, great ladies as well as more humble charmers, and bold adventuresses, were to be seen there daily. The crowds seem to have been very free in their admiration of some of the distinguished ladies. When the three lovely Misses Gunning captivated everybody with their wit and beauty, they had only to appear in the Mall to be surrounded by admirers. On one occasion they were so pressed by the curious mob that one of these matchless young charmers fainted and had to be "carried home in a sedan."