towards the serpentine

Walking toward the Long Water. Kensington Gardens, London. Photograph George P. Landow (copyright 2000) may be freely used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

This photograph was taken near Watt's statue, Physical Energy. In the distance behind is Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born. The water in the distance is the Long Water, the smaller, narrower part of the Serpentine, "a 40-acre artifical lake . . . formed by damming the West Borne, a stream that no longer exists" (Wurman, 72). Shelley's first wife, Harriet Westbook drowned herself here in 1818.

According to the guide to London published by the son of Charles Dickens in 1888, a year after Victoria's Jubilee, "Kensington Gardens adjoin Hyde-pk, from which they are divided by a haha and sunk wall [neither any longer extant]. They are thickly wooded, almost the only open space being that occupied by that favourite resort of skaters, the Round Pond, with the vista leadng from it in the direction of the park. It has to some extent a mildly scientific character, a large proportion of its trees and shrubs having labels attached showing their Linnæan classification, country of origin, &c., and the collection of flowering trees along the worth walk is almoost worth a run up from the country to see" (p. 142).

Other views and Related Material


Richard Saul Wurman. London Access. 3rd edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.

Dickens, Charles. Dickens's Dictionary of London 1888. Moretonhampstead, Devon: Old House Books, 2001. [Information on this reprint of the guide to London written by the novelist's son.]

Last modified 4 July 2006