Plan of the Regent's Park by Shepherd, 1827.
Plan of the Regent's Park by Thomas H. Shepherd, engraved by John Cleghorn, from Metropolitan Improvements; or London in the Nineteenth Century, 1827.
This map shows Regent's Park as it looked in 1827. In the lower left corner there is a key for all the gates, villas, and terraces contained in and around the park. At the time of publication Regent's Park was not open to the public. It wasn't until 1835 that the public was granted access to any of the park's spaces. Access at first was limited to two days a week, but was gradually expanded.
Regent's Park is one of several Royal Parks in London, located in the northern central section of the city. The park is partially situated in both the borough of Camden and the City of Westminster. Management of the park is maintained by the Royal Parks agency and the Crown Estate Paving Commission. However, private properties located within the park grounds are maintained by their owners. For example, the London Zoo, which is controlled and operated by the Zoological Society of London, is funded by fellows, entrance fees, and sponsors rather than by the government.
The land that the park is situated on became Crown property during the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1541) under King Henry VIII. It then functioned as a hunting park called Marylebone, until 1649. Following the execution of King Charles I it was rented out for hay and dairy during the Interregnum (1649-1660). Once the leases expired in 1811, the Prince Regent commissioned John Nash to design a plan for the development of the area. His designs originally incorporated a large palace but this was abandoned as construction progressed. The layout was organized around two constructed roads, the outer circle and the much smaller inner circle. Nash designed a series of terraces around the outer circle facing the park, most of which are still intact. Nine villas were also constructed on the grounds and land was granted to the Zoological Society.
Today the general layout of the park is the same but a number of pathways, buildings, and recreational spaces have been added to the grounds. A number of sports pitches have been laid out on the property and a new pavilion was constructed in 2005. Regent's College is on the outside of the inner circle where the South Villa used to be located (letter T on the map). Another major addition to the park was the construction of Queen Mary's garden's in 1930 in the center of the inner circle, which opened this area of the park to the public for the first time.
Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1792-1864) was a British watercolorist who specialized in capturing architectural scenes. Like his brother George "Sidney" Shepherd, his works were often topographical in nature and carefully rendered. Shepherd paid great attention to detail in his paintings and often made them livelier by adding figures, carriages, and horses to the scene. Employed to capture London, his works were used as the basis for book engravings. Latter he would also illustrate the cities of Edinburgh, Bath, and Bristol. The first book that brought him wide acclaim was Metropolitan Improvements; or London in the Nineteenth Century: being a series of views on the new and most interesting objects in the British Metropolis. Published by Jones & Co., in 1827, it was the first of three books by Shepherd that the company would publish. Shepherd was also employed by Frederick Crace to paint old London buildings prior to their demolition. The bulk of these commissioned works still exist in the Crace collection at the British Museum.
- Naomi Bean