Queen’s Park has come a long way since its beginnings
The cover is from a water colour by Charles Barry, the architect of St Peter’s church and the Houses of Parliament and depicts the planned villas – only one of which was built and still stands – bathed in golden sunshine, which sings out from the cover of this small, but fascinating book.
Queen’s Park has come a long way since its first beginnings. First it was a private pleasure garden, then a carefully tended municipal showpiece, now an open area, which the local community can be proud of having fought for and shaped it. Queen’s Park in 2009 is full of life. The tennis club is thriving, the Spa echoes to the sound of children’s play and the leaking lake has been repaired. In the summer there is free entertainment for the children and families gather around the little café next to the sandpit. Cricket games spread across the grass and picnics are laid under the trees and on the bowling green. In winter the shouts of impromptu football games echo around, and when there is snow sledges come speeding down with cries of excitement. All though the year, rain or shine, the joggers and dog walkers make their rounds. Occasionally there are open-air performances of plays in the gardens of the Spa. On such evenings as dusk falls hundreds of people gather with blankets and picnics to be transported to the forest of Arden or the woods near Athens. As the light fades, bats fly through the trees, swifts whistle in the sky and a fox pads silently along the edge of the crowd. In the distance is the faint sound of traffic, but Queen’s Park is at peace.
So says the Afterword to ‘The Story of Queen’s Park Brighton’. The preceding pages describe the origins of the Park, with its buildings and the planned villas encircling it, the Spa, the archery range, the people who lived in and around the Park, the wildlife, and its place in the history of public parks. Queen’s Park is so beautifully designed that you cannot see its edges and it feels much larger than it is. Visually it has no boundaries, the trees in the park merge with the surrounding street trees, and the trees in the front gardens of houses around the park.
The book is illustrated with historic photographs, plans, prints and maps, some in colour. The cover is from a water colour by Charles Barry, the architect of St Peter’s church and the Houses of Parliament and depicts the planned villas – only one of which was built and still stands – bathed in golden sunshine, which sings out from the cover of this small, but fascinating book.