HL Deb 06 July 1888 vol 328 cc555-6

, in rising to call attention to the great disfigurement of Hyde Park caused by the planting of a straight line of trees on either side of the Serpentine, and to ask Whether the First Commissioner of Works had authorized this proceeding, the result of which was to shut out the river from view, and to give it the appearance of a canal? said, that the Serpentine was as picturesque an object as you could see in any park in Europe; but for some time past Chief Commissioners had been anxious to shut it out from the view of the public. Some time ago, Mr. Ayrton erected at a vast expenditure some unsightly mounds to intercept the view; but an outcry arose, and the mounds were removed, at further great expense. His right hon. Friend the present First Commissioner was a greater sinner than Mr. Ayrton, because these trees would undoubtedly shut out the view from both sides, and would completely mar the effect. The trees were placed with mathematical precision about three yards apart on both sides of the river, and the Serpentine now resembled the Grand Canal in Dublin, or a canal in the Low Countries. Certainly there was nothing elsewhere so hideous in Art, and nothing to be compared with it in Nature.


said, he was glad the noble Earl had called attention to this subject. These trees would be a great advantage to Hyde Park, but they ought to be in the right place. They were between the walk and the river, and, therefore, the beauty of the river was shut out from view. He hoped they would be removed and put in a place where, instead of interfering with its beauty, they would be a very great ornament to the Park.


was underderstood to say, that he hoped the trees would be left as they were.


, in reply, said, their Lordships were aware that it was necessary to deal with trees in a great Metropolis like London in a different way to that in which they were treated in the country districts. As to the Question of his noble Friend (the Earl of Milltown), it was never intended to leave the trees in line as at present, but to break them up into groups. They were planted in soil like that in which they would find a permanent home. The officials of the Office of Works would watch each tree, so as to see which were the most flourishing, when it would be seen which it was best to move. It was proposed to commence moving the trees into groups next winter. These trees on the north and south side of the Serpentine were planted in February last year. In dealing with young trees like these, it was found to be better to move them as proposed, for they had only to be moved a short distance—a few yards, or a few feet—rather than to bring them up straight from the country. He thought he had answered the Question of his noble Friend—that was to say, that it was not intended to keep the trees in their present position, but to break them up into picturesque groups.