Thursday, September 25, 2008


In the 'Rosemary & Thyme' episode "Three-Legged Good", gardeners/landscapers/amateur sleuths Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme were working on the Victorian garden of The Regent's Park in Westminster. Over in the Tooniverse of the movie universe, The Regent's Park was a pivotal location from "One Hundred And One Dalmations" - it's where the Dearlys and their dogs first met.

Here's what I found out about the place, thanks to Wikipedia:

Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It is in the northern part of central London partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London Borough of Camden.

The land, which was formerly known as Marylebone Park, had been Crown property for many centuries, and had been leased to the Dukes of Portland as a hunting ground. When the lease expired in 1811 the Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned architect John Nash to create a masterplan for the area. Nash originally envisaged a palace for the Prince and a number of grand detached villas for his friends, but when this was put into action from 1818 onwards, the palace and most of the villas were dropped. However, most of the proposed terraces of houses around the fringes of the park were built.

Nash did not complete all the detailed designs himself; in some instances, completion was left in the hands of other architects such as the young Decimus Burton. The Regent Park scheme was integrated with other schemes built for the Prince Regent by Nash, including Regent Street and Carlton House Terrace in a grand sweep of town planning stretching from St James's Park to Parliament Hill. The park was first opened to the general public in 1845, initially for two days a week.

On 15th January 1867, forty people died when the ice cover on the boating lake collapsed and over 200 people plunged into the lake. The lake was subsequently drained and its depth reduced to four feet before being reopened to the public.

Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle were created in the 1930s, bringing that part of the park into use by the general public for the first time. The site had originally been used as a plant nursery and had later been leased to the Royal Botanic Society. In 1982 an IRA terrorist attack took place in the park; a bomb was detonated at the bandstand, killing seven soldiers (see Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings). The sports pitches, which had been relaid with inadequate drainage after the Second World War, were relaid between 2002 and 2004, and in 2005 a new sports pavilion was constructed.

On 7 July 2006 the Park held an event for people to remember the events of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Members of the public placed mosaic tiles on to seven purple petals. Later bereaved family members laid yellow tiles in the centre to finish the mosiac.

The only thing is, when Rosemary Boxer talked about the park's history, she focused on a William Nessfield who worked on the design of the garden in the 1860s and gave it the Italianate look it had in the episode. So I'm not sure he even existed. (As usual, I was too lazy to go too deep into Google for the information... information... information....

Toby O'B

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