The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 7 Municipal Parks in South London

Landscape design of Battersea Park

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Like Victoria Park, Battersea was administered with the other Royal Parks, in the first instance. The Act of Parliament giving powers to the "Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods" to form the Park was passed in 1846, but so much had to be done to the land, that the actual planting did not begin until 1857. The ground had all to be drained, and raised, and a proper embankment made to keep out the river. Just at this time the Victoria Docks were being excavated, and the earth dug out of them was conveyed to Battersea. Places were left, to form the shallow artificial lake, mounds raised, to make the ground round the water undulating, and the rest of the surface of the Park levelled. Altogether about a million cubic yards of earth were deposited in Battersea Park. The extent is 198 acres, and from the nature of the ground, except the artificial elevations near the lake, it is quite flat. The design was originally made by Sir James Pennethorne, architect of the Office of Works, and the execution of it completed by Mr. Farrow. The chief features, are the artificial water (for the most part supplied by the Thames), and the avenue of elms which traverses the Park from east to west, and cross walks, with a band-stand and drinking-fountain at the converging points. Round the Park runs a carriage drive, and, following a different line, a track for riders-with the usual spaces for games between. The trees are growing up well, so already any bareness has disappeared. The absolute flatness, which makes the open spaces uninteresting, is relieved by the avenue, which will some day be a fine one.