HC Deb 06 June 1861 vol 163 cc630-1

said, he wished to ask the Chief Commissioner of Works, Whether he intends, as is reported, to open a part of Kensington Gardens for the use of Equestrians; and, if so, what portion of the Gardens will be devoted to that purpose?


said, he believed that it was the wish of the House, as it was the pleasure of Her Majesty, that the Royal Parks should produce as much enjoyment as possible to all classes of the community. After the decision of the House last year in favour of a ride in Kensington Gardens he thought he should have been wanting in respect to the House if he had not opened a ride again this year; but, considering the loud and almost clamorous objections then made, he felt it his duty to endeavour to remove all just grounds of complaints against the ride. The objections which he felt most forcibly was that proceeding from certain fond parents and timid nurserymaids in regard to the dangers to children which might result from the want of experience or adroitness on the part of the equestrians using the ride; and he had, therefore, traced out a line by which the horsemen and horsewomen would have the advantage of shade from heat, and soft turf for their horses' feet, without crossing any frequented path or walk whatever. There could be no nurserymaid, he thought, who could object to the line he had marked out. Another ground of complaint was that the privacy of the gardens would be destroyed. He owned that lie did not pretend to have the power—nor could any mortal man have it—of securing privacy in any park generally open to the public, in the centre of the Metropolis with nearly 3,000,000 inhabitants. At all events, the ride about to be opened would not interfere with the privacy, such as it was, of a great portion of the gardens. The entrance to the ride would be under the dry arch of the bridge which divided Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park—on the south side—and the first warm day after this suitable for a ride that gate would be opened.