HC Deb 10 July 1860 vol 159 cc1664-5

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether a portion of Kensington Gardens, which has recently been fenced off with iron hurdles in the shape and size of a "two-year-old course," is intended for the purpose of forming a road from Tyburnia to Belgravia; or whether the object is to afford accommodation to the equestrian portion of the population, to the exclusion of the pedestrian, in the most agreeable and most frequented part of Kensington Gardens?


said, when the public were admitted freely to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens it was the wish of Her Majesty and her predecessors that that Park and those gardens should subserve the greatest amount of recreation and enjoyment of all classes, rich and poor, those using horses, and those who go on foot. Recently the accommodations had been greatly extended. Flowers had been planted along the sidewalks, seats had been provided for the public, and walks formed in all directions. But it appeared to him that there was one class whose comfort had been greatly overlooked; he meant those were in the habit of riding in Rotten Row. That class consisted of lawyers, doctors, and other professional men, who were obliged to take their exercise in a very short space of time. They had hitherto been confined to a narrow and dusty piece of ground, where they had to go backwards and forwards without the power of diverging to the right or the left, and he had thought that, without interfering with the proper recreation of pedestrians, a larger space might advantageously be appropriated to the use of those who rode. He had therefore arranged that there should be an entrance for horses at the west end of Rotten Row, between the two gates devoted to foot passengers. He did not believe that those who had heretofore walked there would have any ground of complaint if an avenue were set apart for riders; for Rotten Row was a narrow strip of only a mile and a quarter, while pedestrians had appropriated to them upwards of 600 acres in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Moreover, the fences were so arranged that persons on foot would not be absolutely excluded from the place devoted to horse exercise. A passage would be opened for riders on the north and south, which would be a great convenience to many. These alterations had given great satisfaction not only to the persons who visited this road on horseback, but to many pedestrians, who thought the solitude of Kensington Gardens would be much enlivened by the presence of riders of both sexes.