The most famous rendezvous spot of the upper classes since King James I opened it to the public is Hyde Park. It is here London's "summer visitors" can gather on neutral ground for their casual meetings and once-overs, without incurring a debt of hospitality. It's the place where the grass and the trees help create a feeling of home for these "country dwellers". Here they ride their horses on Rotten Row, ride in their carriages on the Drive, sit, stroll, chat, flirt, see and be seen. It is where one got together with friends and other acquaintances and discussed future meetings, dances, lunches and dinners. (Picture: "Hyde Park" by James Pollard)
Here in Hyde Park, the day starts early with the early morning riders, as much for the exercise as for the socializing. You also have those who drove or strolled through the Park. The Park quiets down between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, and then becomes active again with the strollers, Garden parties and the parade of carriages again through the Drive.
It also provides a meeting place on Sundays through the season. To quote Douglas Jerrold, "Hyde Park at the height of the Season, Hyde Park on an afternoon when the Four-in-Hand Club is out in full force, is the best picture we can present to the stranger of the pride and wealth, the blood and bearing, the comeliness, beauty and metal of old England . . . In the park are the grand headquarters of fashion that are not to be marched for stateliness, variety, and natural beauty--and where all the loveliness seen on drawing room nights at the opera is to be met betimes gathering fresh roses amid the greenery." (Picture: "Balloon Seller" by Alan Maley
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