SKATING ON THE LONG WATER.
When the ice is considered safe by the authorities, who take every precaution, the public is permitted to skate on the Long Water, and then many a Londoner can say with Wordsworth, "All shod with steel We hissed along the polished ice in games confederate." The Long Water, as that part of the Serpentine which is situated in Kensington Gardens is commonly called, affords some of the best skating in the metropolis, and during spells of frost hundreds of thousands disport themselves upon it by torchlight, as well as in the daytime. The average depth of the Serpentine is seven feet in the centre and three feet near the banks. The handsome spire in the distance is that of Christchurch, Lancaster Gate.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896