The Garden Guide

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

Management by the London County Council LCC

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In 1887 the Park, at the same time as Victoria and Kennington, was given up to the Metropolitan Board of Works, and since then the control has passed to its successor, the London County Council. The gardens are kept up, more or less, as before, with a few additions. An aviary with a restless raven, fat gold and silver pheasants, and contented pigeons, delights the small children, who are as plentiful in Battersea as in all the other London playgrounds. Like the other parks, Saturdays and Sundays are the great days. The games of cricket are played as close together as possible, until to the passer-by the elevens and even the balls seem hopelessly mixed. The ground not devoted to games is thickly strewn with prostrate forms, and certainly, in this, Battersea is by no means singular ! In autumn, one of the green-houses, in which the more tender sub-tropical plants are housed is given up to chrysanthemums. This flower is the one of all others for London. It will thrive in the dingiest corners of the town, and display its colours long after the fogs and frosts have deprived the parks and gardens of all other colour. The shows in the East End testify to what can be achieved, even by the poorest, with this friendly plant. Every year at Shoreditch Town Hall the local exhibition takes place, and there are many similar institutions, where monster blooms, grown on roofs or in small back gardens, would compete creditably at a national show. The popularity of the chrysanthemums in Battersea Park is so great, that on a fine Sunday there is a string of people waiting their turn of walking through, stretching for fifty yards at least from the green-house to the entrance to the frame-ground. Certainly the arrangement of the green-house is prettily done. The stages are removed, and a sanded path with a double twist meanders among groups of plants sloping up to the rafters, and a few long, lanky ones trained to arch under the roof. The show is much looked forward to, and the colours and arrangements compared with former years, praised or criticised, such is the eager interest of those who crowd to take their turn for a peep. It is delightful to watch the pleasure on all faces, as a whole family out for their Sunday walk, press in together. It is only one more instance of the joy the London Parks bring to millions of lives.