Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Parks, Commons and Heaths - Victoria Park


from The Illustrated London News, 1846

There is, I believe, a very general opinion entertained, though I think a very erroneous one, that the poorer classes in this country cannot be trusted, unless under the surveillance of the police, in any place of public amusement, from a wanton disposition to injury or destroy whatever is beautiful in nature or curious in art, and that a custom which so generally prevails on the continent, of throwing open all places of amusement, cannot with safety be adopted in this country. Now, when it is known that there have been planted in various parts of the park roses and other flowers of various kinds entirely unprotected, and that in only one solitary instance throughout the summer has a rose or flower of any kind been either plucked or injured, this fact alone is sufficient to refute the unjust aspersions that the poorer classes are not to be trusted in public places without the dread of the police before their eyes. the principal good, however, which the formation of the park has effected is in the inducement it holds out to the artisan and labourer to benefit their own health and that of their families by inhaling the fresh air at least once in the week, at a distance from their own confined and wretched habitations. And that much good has been produced in this way I can most confidently state. Many a man whom I was accustomed to see passing the Sunday in utter idleness, smoking at his door in his shirt sleeves, unwashed and unshaven, now dresses himself as neatly and cleanly as he is able, and with his wife or children is seen walking in the park on the Sunday evening.

part of a letter from George Alston to The Times, September 7, 1847

VICTORIA PARK, BETHNAL GREEN. A plot of pleasure-ground of 290 acres, planted and laid out in the reign of the Sovereign whose name it bears. The first cost of formation was covered by the purchase-money of York House, St. James's, received from the Duke of Sutherland, to whom the remainder of the Crown lease was sold in 1841 for 72,0001. It is bounded on the south by Sir George Ducket's canal, (sometimes called the Lea Union Canal); on the west by the Regent's Canal; on the east by Old Ford-lane, leading from Old Ford to Hackney Wick; and on the north by an irregular line of fields. It serves as a lung for the north-east part of London, and has already added to the health of the inhabitants of Spitalflelds and Bethnal-green. The leases of building ground surrounding the Park have been delayed till the roads and walks become more perfect, and the plantations in a more advanced state.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

see also London by Day and Night - click here

VICTORIA PARK, Bethnal Green (265 acres), was designed to provide North East London with "a lung," and its toil-worn denizens with a pleasant place of recreation. The entrance-lodge, Elizabethan in character, was designed by Pennethorne There is a good piece of ornamental water; there has been recently erected a drinking-fountain, and trees and shrubberies have been liberally planted. The main cost was provided for by the 70,0001. received from the Duke of Sutherland for the remainder of the crown lease of Stafford House.
    Victoria Park lies between the Regent's Canal, west; Old Ford Lane, east; Hackney Common, north; and the Lea Union (or Sir George Duckett's) Canal, south. It partly occupies the lands which formerly belonged to the heretic-burning Bishop Bonner, temp. Mary, and were known as "Bonner's Fields.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865

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Victoria Park which is one of the largest and finest in London lies away in what is at present the extreme north-east corner of the town. It is very prettily laid out with ornamental water, &c., and differs from the West-end parks in being supplied with various appliances for amusement, usually on summer evenings very liberally patronised. Victoria-park is one of the things which no student of London life should miss seeing, and its most characteristic times are Saturday or Sunday evenings or both, for each has its distinct features and Bank Holidays. NEAREST Railway Stations, Victoria-park (N.L.) and Cambridge-heath (G.E.); Omnibus Routes, Waterloo-rd. and Blackfriars-rd.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

see also Charles Maurice Davies in Mystic London - click here

VICTORIA PARK ... A park of 290 acres, in north-eastern London. It consists of two parts. The western portion is beautifully laid out with flower-beds, trees, and shrubs; the eastern is used for cricket, &c.

Reynolds' Shilling Coloured Map of London, 1895

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - In Victoria Park

Victoria Park - photograph


Victoria Park is an invaluable boon to the East End of London, and on Saturdays and Sundays is frequented by thousands of people. The greater portion is unplanted, but is in great request for games, and the London County Council has established open-air gymnasiums, and sand-pits for the little ones to play in. The western side is beautifully laid out, and altogether no less than 130,000 was spent upon the Park. The money obtained by the Crown by the sale of Stafford House, Piccadilly, was devoted to this purpose in 1842. Victoria Park possesses two fine sheets of ornamental water, one of them boasting an island which is adorned with a Chinese pagoda in two storeys, as shown in our view.

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from Living London, 1901