Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published December 17th 2014
Small but Serene
At only forty-seven acres, Green Park is the smallest of the royal parks, so unsurprisingly lacks a key water feature, present in all the others. But just because there are no rivers, lakes, or ponds, doesn't mean it is not worth visiting. On the contrary, Green Park has a number of other things to see, and you don't have to worry about leaving enough time to explore everything, as it won't take too long.
Green Park is adjacent to St James's Park and Hyde Park. Those, along with Kensington Gardens, creates almost a full stretch of grassland, only divided by a few roads.
The most significant landmarks are not actually in Green Park, but just outside. Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's Sovereign since 1837, the Changing of the Guard can be seen every day in summer at 11:30am and every alternate day in winter. If you have ever wanted to distinguish between the guards, Green Park gives you a guide on how to do so. There are five types of guard: Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish, and Welsh. They can be distinguished by the colour plume in their cap and the number of buttons on their coat.
The Queen Victoria Memorial by Thomas Brock and Ashton Webb stands eighty-two feet high. It is made of white marble and weighs two thousand three hundred tons. The Grade I structure was erected in 1911, but not finished until 1924. The four corners feature bronze lions representing peace, progress, manufacture, and agriculture.
The most impressive element of Green Park itself is Canada Gate, which has been there since 1992. The gilded iron double gates are in the same style as those used for Buckingham Palace, and has seven bear emblems to represent the then provinces of Canada.
Two years later, the Canadian sculptor, Pierre Granche built Canada Memorial, which can be found just a few metres away, and honours the Canadians killed in World Wars One and Two. The memorial is made from red granite and takes the form of a sloping water feature, with bronze maple leaves carved into the stone. It looks like a gentle waterfall of stream washing over fallen autumn leaves.
Currently between these two landmarks is a Paddington Bear statue designed by David Beckham for the Paddington Trail, but it will be gone by the end of the year.
The grounds of Green Park were originally a burial ground for lepers, but the land was bought by Charles II in 1668 and stocked with deer for hunting. It was known as Upper St. James's Park until 1746, when it was renamed. Green Park did not officially open to the public until 1826, and was re-landscaped by John Nash a year later, filling it with trees.
At the other end of the park you can find two more memorials. The first was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and is dedicated to five million service personnel from India, Africa, and the Caribbean.
In 2012 a grand memorial was placed in honour of RAF bombers. There are several quotes and facts engraved into the stone, including a statement from Winston Churchill, who in 1940 said 'The fighters are our salvation, but the bombers alone are our means to victory.'
Over a hundred and twenty-five thousand men volunteered to fly in the Bomber Command, which formed in 1936, and nearly half of them lost their lives. These included men from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Czechoslovakia, and Commonwealth countries.