Designing Houses to Overlook Hyde Park

The main attraction for the houses overlooking the Park was always the view of Hyde Park itself, because the view was safe for all time against developers. Where ever possible sitting rooms faced both sun and the Park. All houses hoped to see at least a glimpse of the Park. Rows of bow-fronted bays in neighbouring streets were arranged like boxes at the opera, to give a sideways view of the prospect - ‘Less expensive seats - view slightly restricted’ - as a theatre-goer might describe them.

People are always drawn to the Park and these views. In 1954 we find the writer Jean Rhys, moving yet again from furnished room to furnished room. She had been at 2 Craven Park Gardens. A few weeks later she is writing to her daughter in Holland from Leinster Terrace, which runs at right angles to Bayswater Road.

Hotel Elizabeth
Leinster Terrace
London W2

To Maryvonne Moderrnan,

‘---- Well I've contrived yellow silk phoney but nice curtains and we look out at London roof tops, a battered house which is being very very slowly rebuilt and painted white ---- We can also see the trees in Hyde Park by craning our necks a bit. ---- .'

The clearest example of developers planning to take full advantage of the view is seen in Hyde Park Gardens, where the houses  actually face the Park. Instead of putting the access road in front, along the Bayswater Road, so that all the clutter of carriages and delivery vans would obscure the view, Gutch made a large communal garden along the Bayswater Road, carefully railed and to be protected by a guard at night. The main rooms overlook the Park, with balconies and a terrace leading down to the communal garden. Entrance to the houses was by a rear access road.

Hyde Park Gardens, W2


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