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LONDON - St. James Park

St. James's Park is a 23 hectares (57 acres) park in the City of Westminster, central London - the oldest of the Royal Parks of London. In 1532, Henry VIII purchased from Eton College an area of marshland, through which the Tyburn flowed. On James I's accession to the throne in 1603, he ordered that the park be drained and landscaped, and kept exotic animals in the park, including camels, crocodiles, and an elephant, as well as aviaries of exotic birds.

On his ascension on the throne, Charles II had the park redesigned in a more formal style and opened it to the public. In the late 17th and early 18th century cows were grazed on the park, and milk could be bought fresh. The 18th century saw further changes, including the reclamation of part of the canal for Horse Guards Parade and the 1761 purchase of Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) at the west end of the Mall, for the use of Queen Charlotte.

Further remodelling in 1826–1827, commissioned by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and overseen by the architect and landscaper John Nash, saw the straight canal's conversion to a more naturally-shaped lake, and formal avenues rerouted to romantic winding pathways. At the same time, Buckingham House was expanded to create the current palace whilst The Mall was turned into a grand processional route, opened to public traffic 60 years later in 1887.




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Taken on June 1, 2012