The Changing Function of Victorian Public Parks, 1840-1860

The Changing Function of Victorian Public Parks, 1840-1860

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The Changing Function of Victorian Public Parks, 1840-1860


Tastefully laid out in grass intersected by broad gravel walks, and planted with a great variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, botanically arranged. The Arboretum, as these gardens are designated, is much frequented, and has already produced a perceptible effect in improving the appearance and demeanour of the working class.

J.M. Milton, in reference to The Derby Arboretum, State of Large Towns, 1871 (l)
 
This mid to late-19th century account of an early Victorian (English) public park illustrates the change of function and transformation of the Victorian public park from its original role as an upper-middle class observatory of Nature to its redefinition as this class' s social observatory of the lower classes. Between the years of 1840 and 1860, the public park's role in the eyes of England' s upper crust changed drastically due to the economic and political structure of Victorian England during this time and J.M. Milton's quote reflects this reality.

In the mid-19th century, public parks in England began to emerge in response to a rise in pollution and lack of open space within newly industrialized urban centers in places such as London, Derby, Birmingham, and Manchester.(2) The first public parks were funded by private benefactors who were often times the owners of the factories that created these tainted environments. Influencing this environment-friendly attitude was the increased Victorian interest in the sciences (especially botany) due to nineteenth century contributions of both biologists and writers including the empirical work of Darwin's Origin of Species (1858) and Tennyson's literary work, InMemoriam (1867).(3) Many of these benefactors put money into the development of public walks and parks to give birth to not only a healthier urban setting, though, but also to create a façade that made them appear as altruistic philanthropists who were genuinely concerned with the social welfare of the urban-based factory workers who had little or no open space of their own.(4) However, while these upper-middle Victorian philanthropists appeared to provide the working class with the social and health ideals of the upper crust, the public environments that they created did not reflect this universal ideal of integrating the disparate classes together, but rather they were attempts to maintain the isolation and segregation the Victorian upper class desired.

The English public park from 1840-1860 provides a physical reflection of this Victorian frame of mind in that it exemplifies one of the grave contradictions that defines the upper-middle class Victorian society which boasts for universality of its ideals for all yet is exclusionary toward the proletariats.

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However, despite this class's ideal of isolating itself in the 'public' park to enjoy its fresh air and private mentality, the public park soon became associated with the lower classes after numerous public parks began to infringe upon England's major urban centers in the late 1 850s and early 1 860s. During these years, the train was no longer a necessary component to get to the public park which eventually allowed for more working-class Victorians to preamble upon these open green spaces for few could ever afford the train fare or the time to take a train ride prior to their existence. In response to this influx of the lower class in public parks, the upper echelons of Victorian society began to ride the fashionable horse-and-carriage through the urban parks to view this imposing class while still physically separating themselves from it to achieve the social and spatial segregation that these upper-middle class Victorians had yearned for from the beginning. This situation transformed the function of the public park from being exclusively an observatory of Nature to becoming an upper-middle class viewing ground of the lower classes.

The late-Victorian quote by J.M. Milton, then, represents this changing definition of the function of the public park for he takes notice not only to the flowers and trees of the Derby Arboretum, but also of the working class that slowly began to impose upon its grounds. Because this quote was made after the public park's definition had changed from an observatory of Nature to an observatory of the lower classes, it becomes clear why Milton felt propelled to take notice of the working class. In time, this intimacy between the upper-middle and lower classes brought about the creation of alternative environments like the Club and bungalow suburb so that the upper class could once again achieve the social stratification and privatized open space it so desired.

This essay will highlight three public parks that emerged within England's boundaries between the years of 1840-1860 to show how the function of the Victorian public park began to change through time as the upper and lower classes came into more frequent contact with one another. The first park is the Derby Arboretum, a space designed by John Claudius Loudon in 1840 and considered by some to be the first 'public' park in England ever to be constructed.(5) Looking at the arboretum's design and structure will illustrate the (Victorian) public park's original function as an upper-middle class observatory of Nature and will provide a basis of comparison for the latter examples. The second example comes from the grounds of the Crystal Palace, London, which was designed by Joseph Paxton and constructed in 1851 as the site of England' s Great Exhibition. (6) Again, looking at the grounds' design and function, it will become apparent that the Palace's park represented a transition in the function of the public park from losing its role as an observatory of Nature and slowly becoming an upper-middle class observatory of England's working class. The third park highlighted is Battersea Park, which was designed by a lesser known architect, John Gibson, in the south of London in 1857. (7) This park was constructed in response to the Parliamentary Public Health Act of 1848 and is truly one of the first public parks to be constructed in England in that it was always accessible to both the upper and lower classes Battersea exemplifies the full embodiment of the 'new' function of the Victorian public park as an upper-middle class observatory of the lower classes and an in-depth analysis of its grounds will reveal how its design reflected its social function and contrasted that of the Derby Arboretum.
 
The Derby Arboretum
 
The idea for a new 'public' park in Derby came from a wealthy man named Joseph Strutt who had been the city' s mayor prior to the 1840s. After his time in public office, Strutt took it upon himself to create a committee that would choose an architect to design the new park in Derby. His actions were a response both to a rise in pollution in the city due to increased factory construction and sewage problems in the city and to the growing trend of upper-middle class factory owners who wanted to show their altruistic benevolence toward the workers in their factories. (9) This attitude was extremely influenced by an 1833 report by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Walks which stated the following:

During the last half century a very great increase has taken place in the population of large Towns, more especially as regards those classes who are, with many of their children, almost continually engaged in manufacturing and mechanical employments. During the same period, from the increased value of Property and extension of buildings many inclosures of open spaces in the vicinity of the Towns have taken place, and little or no provision made for Public Walks or Open Spaces, fitted to afford means of exercise or amusement to the middle and humbler classes. (10)

In response to this, the proposed public park in Derby was intended to play the dual role of acting as a fresh and healthy environment within the polluted city of Derby and more specifically as a space that fostered the general well-being of the millhands, lace workers, silk weavers, stocking makers, china workers, brush makers, and foundrymen of Derby's factories who worked longer than the ten-and-a-half-hour day six days a week work schedule that was not implemented in England' s factories until after the Ten Hour Act was passed by Parliament in 1847. (11) However, after looking at the political structure of Strutt's committee and the economic status of the city of Derby, one will be able to see that this philanthropic approach was abandoned due to this upper-middle class's ideal of segregation from the working class and isolation of its own class. As it will be shown later, these circumstances allowed the public park of Derby to assume its role as an observatory of Nature for the city's upper-middle class.

John Strutt's committee was made up primarily of factory owners who shared his ideal of the installation of a new 'public' park in Derby and who all had a problem with the city' s sewage ending up in their private back yards. After deliberation, the committee chose John Loudon as the landscape architect of this new space. At this time, Loudon was already a well-established and well-published architect having written many articles on his theories of landscape architecture including his very own periodical, the Magazine of Natural History (1828) and his extremely influential book, the Arboretum et Fruticetum Brittannicum ( 1838). (12) Loudon centered his theory of landscape architecture around what he called the "gardenesque" style, a style of garden and park design that was the antithesis of the prevailing picturesque style of garden design used throughout England from the mid-18th century to the early l9th century. (l3) While the picturesque style of landscape design promoted 'organic' environments that attempted to replicate and imitate the "carelessness" of England' s untamed countryside, the gardenesque emphasized a more highly polished and manicured environment whose focus was not on nature, necessarily, but on the art of man-made ' natural' environments. (14) Loudon implored the use of stage sets of idealized organic environments which grouped together both indigenous and 'exotic' (foreign) trees and plants with a central theme (fig. 1). These groupings, then, were put on 1-4 foot raised beds or hills making them appear as if they were literally on a stage. (15)

Loudon chose to use this style of design for the Derby arboretum because he wished to donate to the working class of Derby a place that would foster good health, pleasure, and most of all, cultivation of their intellect. He created a type of living museum that centered around the categorization of over 1000 exotic plants and trees such as magnolias, tulips, berberry shrubs, and maple trees using a system called the Jessiu system. (16) Using this method of categorization, the plants in the arboretum were numbered and identified on glass-covered brick tallies complete with their botanical name, common name, place of origin, height of mature specimen in native habitat, and date of introduction in the U.K. (if applicable). (17)

If one looks at the plan of the arboretum (fig. 2), s/he can see how its design reflected this categorized gardenesque environment. Loudon used a 1 5-ft. wide central axis as the main path of the arboretum. If one looks at the central axis, he or she will notice a subtle shift of direction near the center of the grounds; here, Loudon placed a fountain (see note 1). The shaded areas in the plan represent the elevated groups of trees and plants, or ' stage sets' as mentioned earlier, and in front of these groups Loudon placed the descriptions of each plant (using the Jessiu system); most descriptions were found on the main central path. On the peripheral route, one would find pre existing trees (ones that were there before the construction of the arboretum) and this is a result of the committee' s request of Loudon to keep the indigenous trees in situ. (18) Loudon filled in the spaces between the indigenous trees with trees of similar height so that when one was in the arboretum, he or she would never set eyes on the smog that rose from the smokestacks of nearby Derby. (19)

Although the design of the Derby Arboretum exhibits Loudon' s yearn for an educational park setting that would cultivate the lower classes and allow the factory workers to enjoy the setting in collaboration with the factory owners, the use and access of the arboretum as determined by Strutt's committee dismissed and abandoned Loudon's social ideals because of Derby's upper-middle class's desire to segregate itself from the city's workers. If one looks at the way the arboretum's three opening days and entrance fees thereafter were organized, s/he will see how Strutt's committee reflected this mentality and therefore created an environment that would center this class's attention exclusively around the observation of Nature.

The committee decided to have three separate opening days--one for the town council and 1500 invited guests, another for the working class of Derby, and a third for Derby's children and their parents--and this separation of the working class from the upper class exemplifies the contradictory Victorian frame of mind around the idea of universal ideals for all classes yet exclusion of the proletariat.

The gates of the arboretum first flew open on September 16, 1840 and only allowed the entrance of the town's council, a list of 1500 upper-middle class factory owners and managers of Derby, and of course, Strutt's committee members. (20) The guests preambled along the central path while referring to Loudon's provided pamphlet on such things as the arboretum's history, the proposed management scheme, a complete catalogue of the 1000+ plants and trees within the arboretum, and a suggested tour of the arboretum' s specimens in a prescribed order (as determined by Loudon).2l After this class of people sauntered along the arboretum' s paths, they united themselves with a tea ceremony and a procession to Joseph Strutt's house in honor of his benevolence.

The arboretum' s second day of opening (September 17, 1840) was devoted not to a private viewing and ceremony for the upper classes, but was set aside strictly for the factory workers of Derby's factories. On this day, 9000 millhands, foundrymen, and lace workers paraded on the arboretum's paths while the upper-middle class group who had been there the day before stayed within their private residences away from the day's festivities. Despite their absence, the working men's activity was centered around thanking Strutt and the city of Derby for this public space because it was a welcome break from their urban workplaces and residences that lacked any open, green, and healthy space. The working class of Derby walked under banners that read "Seek Truth," "Honour Science," and "From Art & Science True Contentment Grows" while carrying models of steam engines, telescopes, and the royal crown to show their appreciation to the upper class officials and industry owners who made this day possible.

The third day of the arboretum's opening (September 18, 1840) was devoted to the children of the city of Derby with roughly 6000 children and parents attending. While the parents kept an eye on their children as they played games like leapfrog, drop the glove, and thread the needle, they (the parents) were becoming familiar with the plant life that was categorized throughout the arboretum. (22) At noon, tea was served at 1 shilling per adult and six pence per child, which suggests that this day was comprised of a lower-middle class audience for only a select few higher-end proletariats would be able to afford a cup of tea for 1 shilling. (23)

After the first three days in which the arboretum was free to the upper, middle, and lower classes, Strutt's committee decided to initiate an admission charge and what resulted was the cessation of the Derby Arboretum as a true 'public' park. On five days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) admission was open only to members who paid an annual fee of 10 shillings 6 pence per family and visitors who paid an entrance fee of 6 pence per adult and 3 pence per child. In other words, entrance to the arboretum was restricted to the budget of middle and upper-middle class families which therefore excluded the lower class workers and provided the upper classes (including Strutt's committees with the segregation they had aspired from the beginning. Although Strutt's committee allowed for two "free" days in the arboretum to portray their philanthropic façade toward the working class, the days they decided on further augmented the separation between the upper and lower classes. For example, one of the free days was Wednesday; however, Strutt' s committee were well aware that the working class would not be able to visit the grounds because they would be working (more than) ten-and a-half hour shifts in the factories that these committee members owned. Furthermore, Sundays were chosen to be the other free day, but this day was devoted to church for all classes. (24)

Therefore, the Derby Arboretum was in essence a private park due to the political policy and economics of the upper-middle class that had ownership over the arboretum. This resulted in a type of structure that could still foster the intended function of the park as an observatory of Nature for the upper-middle classes because nature was the only visible deterrent. Although the working class did set foot on the grounds of the arboretum, they did so only with their own kind and therefore did not inflict upon the private organic sphere of the Victorian upper-middle class of Derby. Therefore, for the upper-middle class, the role of the park could center around the private living museum that they had wished for in the first place for they did not have to worry about being integrated with the working class because of the park's economic and political structure. Also, because of the working and living conditions of the working class of the city of Derby were so formidable, the upper-middle class still achieved its façade of philanthropy simply because it was creating a sense of free open space in a city that lacked this Victorian ideal. Eventually, in 1882, the arboretum' s doors were open to all because the fee was dropped and the arboretum finally lived up to the ideals originally set forth by Loudon forty years prior. (25)
 
The grounds of the Crystal Palace in London
 
Ten years after the installation of the Derby Arboretum, the grounds of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London were designed by an architect named Joseph Paxton (fig. 3). The idea of an exhibition hall that celebrated the industrial technologies of the U.K. came from a man named Henry Cole, an Assistant Keeper at Prince Albert's Record Office who had visited France's 1849 Paris Exhibition and wished to out-do its collection and ceremony with an exhibition in London (26) Cole went to Prince Albert seeking his support and Albert complied hoping its construction would gain him more acceptance from the British public who distrusted and disliked his political scheme. (27)After Prince Albert accepted his proposal, Cole created a committee that sought private contractors to contribute funds into the development of the Crystal Palace and the purchasing of its technological and artistic wonders that would embody the interior of the exhibition hall and make up The Great Exhibition. (28) Cole went so far as to install collecting-boxes in working-class neighborhoods saying that they too would prosper from such a global exhibit between trading nations. (29) In all, roughly ten thousand pounds had been acquired in less than one year with another two-hundred-fifty thousand pounds supporting that from local manufacturers and businessmen; interestingly, no money was solicited from the British government. (30)

In addition to Cole' s financial committee, another committee was formed to oversee the employment of a suitable architect and design for the Palace and its grounds. By June 1850, less than a year before the May 1 opening date of the exhibition, 245 submissions for the plan of the Hall and its park had been submitted, but none satisfied the committee's high standards. (31) Rather than waiting for the perfect design, one of the Building committee's members sought a friend of his, the renowned and affluent architect Joseph Paxton, well-known for his classically designed parks and iron and glass structures. (32)

After nine days, Paxton drew up a plan for a structure that measured 33 cubic feet. It was made up of iron and glass and an arched central transept housed the building's entrance. The grounds that surrounded the Palace (fig. 3) reflected Paxton' s love for classical planning. Looking at the plan, one can see an emphatic central axis that defines the symmetry of the park. On either side of the axis stand large fountains that are replications of one another. The "Grand Central Entrance" (the main axis) of the park is more than one-hundred feet wide and Paxton implemented this size to accommodate the anticipated large crowds of people from all over the world who had already bought the 25,000 season tickets at 3 guineas per man and 2 guineas per woman (see note 2) These large numbers of people were due to the innovations in railroad and train designs that allowed for faster service, more passengers, and cheaper rates and a brand new train station had been installed next to the Palace's grounds simply for the Exhibition and was fittingly labeled the "Crystal Palace Station." (33)

As with the Derby Arboretum, Cole's Crystal Palace achieved the social stratification between the upper and middle classes through economic means and policy. The Palace opened on May 1, 1851 and admittance was reserved only for the (upper-middle class) season ticket holders who had pre-ordered their tickets a year ago. On this day over 4500 carriages and cabs arrived including that of the Queen who had come to the Palace to make a speech commending Paxton's and Cole's work and to spend time looking through the engaging exhibits of technological wonder. An excerpt from the London Times the next day gives one a glimpse of that procession:

The voices of the people hailed the Queen again and again,with hearty cheers, as she came by bowing kindly and graciously. As the cortege drove up to the Palace, the reception of Her Majesty was enthusiastic, and she entered the building amid a burst of genuine good feeling from the people outside, --the poor fellows in the trees taking it up and repeating it as though their lives depended on its force,--more grateful than the Royal flourish of trumpets and the rolling of drums which announced her arrival. (34)

What is revealed from this Times' quote is one of the first associations of the park as a place where the upper class specifically took notice to the working class rather than at the beautiful grounds surrounding them. In other words, this quote hints at the beginning of a deviation from the public park's original function as an observatory of Nature as in the Derby Arboretum and a turning point of its role into an upper class and upper-middle class observatory of the lower classes of Victorian society.

Social stratification at the Crystal Palace of the upper and lower classes of Victorian England was done through the admission prices to the Palace, as in the arboretum at Derby. Two days after the opening day, the admission was dropped to one pound, a price that was still far beyond the price range of the factory worker. After May 4, the price dropped only to 5 shillings and it was not until after May 24 that the price was dropped to a fee that was even conceivable of a lower class budget. From Mondays to Thursdays, the price to enter the Palace was 1 shilling, on Fridays it was half a crown, Saturdays were 5 shilling days, and the Palace was closed on Sundays. The admission price on Fridays and Saturdays was still to high for the factory worker; therefore, only Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays were in the cards for the proletariat. However, one mustn't forget that these days were strictly working days in which these factory owners worked ten-and-a-half hour days (due to the passing of the Ten Hour Act) and therefore were unable to attend the exhibition during the only feasible days. (35)

Despite the fact that the working class did not have much chance to see the exhibits, these factory workers could still take advantage of the grounds that had been placed on either side of the Grand Central Walk (on Saturdays) and this type of situation varies greatly with that of the Derby Arboretum. With this in mind, one can begin to paint a picture of what the scenes were like during these 5 shilling Saturdays. While the workers were having picnics and playing games on the surrounding grounds, members of the upper-middle class rode in their carriages from the entrance of the park and down the entire length of the Grand Central Walk until they arrived at the entrance of the Palace where they finally descended from their carriages. Again, as on the Palace' s first processional days, this situation affected and began to transform the changing mentality of the role of the public park in Victorian England. The public park was beginning to be seen by the upper-middle class as a leisure environment of the lower classes which in time began to transform its function from a place for the upper-middle class to observe nature to an environment in which this class would observe the workers and their families through the occlusive windows of their carriages. Eventually, this mentality began to inflict upon and define the role of the public parks that emerged throughout London's infrastructure during the years after the Palace' s opening.
 
Battersea Park London
 
The idea that the public park of Victorian England was becoming an upper-middle class observatory of the lower classes became more apparent in the late 1850s and 60s when public parks and walks were being constructed in England' s major urban centers as a result of the 1848 Public Health Act passed by Parliament which enabled cities to finance public walks and parks at the expense of the British government. (36) After this law was passed various "Royal Parks" were constructed into the infrastructure of major urban centers in England as a result of the large pollution levels and lack of green space in these environments. However, while acting as the new "lungs" of the city, these public parks were also initiated to provide the first truly accessible free open spaces for London's working class. While one could argue that the grounds of the Crystal Palace stood as the first public park in Victorian England, it is certainly plausible that many proletariats could not afford the train ride to the grounds from their tenement housing in other parts of London. Because several new public parks were being constructed in London during the mid 1850s and early 60s, the idea of free open space could finally apply to the greater working-class population who lacked any open green space in their mass-produced residences.

Battersea Park was one of these new public parks erected in response to the Public Health Act of 1848. It was located in southern London and was designed by a lesser-known architect by the name of John Gibson in 1857. If one looks at the plan of Battersea (fig. 4), s/he will notice the emphatic perpendicular main axes that separate the park into four distinct sections. Interestingly, these two axes are on the same angles as the main urban streets surrounding them and the streets of southern London actually continue into the park itself. This type of design creates a very fascinating environment that hints at the changing function of the public park as an upper-middle class observatory of the lower echelons of society. While this public park invites upper-middle class carriage riders to explore its paths, it does not implore them to descend from their carriages and explore and interact with the surrounding grounds. Rather, it coerces them to stay within their private compartments and observe the grounds in passing. Also underlining this type of observation was the growing upper-middle class association of the public park as a leisure environment of the lower classes which had initiated in such environments as the grounds of the Crystal Palace seen earlier.

Due to the fact that the workers would preamble around the grassy quadrangles and watch their children play games, it seems plausible that the upper-middle class felt that walking on the same ground as this class would be in a phrase "too close for comfort" because segregation from the working class in the public park had hitherto been something the upper middle class had control over. The upper-middle class, then, became preoccupied with the idea that the public park was now a place to observe the lower classes and its original intention as an observatory of Nature slowly disappeared as more Royal Parks infringed upon London' s infrastructure.

In a book entitled, The City as a Work of Art (1986), David Olsen describes in one of his chapters the typical experience a relatively well-to-do foreigner would have while exploring Victorian London, including his interaction with the mid-19th century public park:

The visitor's exertions in pursuit of beauty and culture have left him tired, thirsty, and hungry. What is he to do? For practical purposes, his best recourse is to hail a cab and demand to be taken back to his hotel. He might find a bench or decide to abandon dignity and sprawl on the grass in one of the parks.(37)

Here, the author makes the association that the Victorian public park is a place where the upper-middle class visitor loses his dignity by sitting upon its grounds. Although Olsen provides no context for this association, it seems to go back to the idea that the urban public park in Victorian society became associated with the lower standards of the working class and that the role of the upper-middle class visitor was not to join this class on the grounds, but to keep itself separated, whether it be through riding in a carriage or abandoning the park altogether. Again, what seems to have resulted from these public parks, then, was the cessation of the function of the public park as an observatory of nature for the upper-middle class of Victorian England and an initiation of the public park as an observatory of the working class.
 
Alternative Environments:
the Club and Bungalow Suburb
 
Since the original public park in played the dual function of stabilizing the society and physical well-being of the Victorian upper classes, these two functions therefore had to be met elsewhere once it became an environment of the working class. To recover the social stratification and isolation that this upper-middle class aspired, the men of this class created a new environment: the Club. Clubs were only open to upper and upper-middle class men who had the money to afford their high entrance fees. Once a member, the London gentleman would find all the amenities necessary for a complete leisure environment including reading rooms with the latest newspapers and magazines, a library, a cafe, a smoking room, a card room, and rooms for conversation and formal meetings. (38) Not only would this provide an environment that would solidify the economic, political and social ideals of London's upper crust, but it would also ensure the exclusion of those less desirable; this phenomenon was easily visible at the time Clubs were becoming popular and ubiquitous throughout London and a Frenchman named César Daly who visited London in the 1860s reported this reality in his book L'architecture privée au dix-neuvieme siecle (1870) (see note 3):

In this country, the different classes of society are separated by fixed boundaries, which is related to a variety of causes that one wouldn't be able to modify without commotions and terrible fights, and which the conservative spirit of the nation has up to now prevented from surmounting. (39)

Although one can argue that the installation of Clubs in the 1860s and 70s was partly due to cheaper building materials and construction methods of time, it seems plausible that the initiation of the idea of the Club was more a response to the infringing working class on the grounds of public parks in London and other major urban centers, as previously discussed.

As stated throughout this essay, the original public park in Victorian England played the dual function of solidifying the upper-middle class society and furnishing this class with a private natural environment that provided fresh clean air within their polluted industrial cities. While the Club played the role of stabilizing this upper-middle class, other environments such as the bungalow suburb replaced the park' s function of creating a private, healthy, open-air environment away from the smokestacks of the city. As Anthony D. King notes in his book, The Bungalow (1995), a massive rise in bungalow suburbs occurred in the 1860s and 70s when the upper and middle classes of Victorian England found themselves with greater surplus due to increased industrial expansion. (40) The first bungalow suburbs were leisure facilities on England's coastline used by London's upper and middle classes on holidays and weekends and their application as full-time residential suburbs followed suit soon after their appearance. (4l) All bungalow suburbs were accessible only by train and increases in railroad construction and the full manipulation of steam power allowed for these greater distances. (42)

King gives a brief description of these mid 19th century idealized environments and their presumed social and health-inducing benefits:

For the patrons of the purpose-built resort the sea had a new found aesthetic and emotional appeal, as well as curative effects. As part of changed attitudes to Nature, central to Romantic ideas of the time, the sea, like the mountains, had become a phenomenon to be admired. (43)

The rise in bungalow suburbs along England's coastline was not entirely due to new medical advances proclaiming the health benefits of sea air, however, for it also reflected the archaic Victorian ideal of exclusion of the lower echelons of society:

Medical news on the benefits of sea air, as well as separation from 'public assemblies', coincided with preferences for isolation from one's fellow man. (44)

Therefore, the rise of bungalow suburban residences was also a response to the increased intimacy of the upper and lower classes during the late 1850s and early 60s.
 
Conclusion and Further Study
 
The rise of the Club and bungalow suburbs in the 1860s and 70s, then, seemed to be a response to the integration of the upper and lower classes in urban areas which had resulted, among other things, from the change of the function of the Victorian public park from an observatory of Nature to an observatory of the lower classes. This intimacy coerced the upper middle class to yet again fully separate itself through the use of alternative environments in order to achieve the spatial and social isolation it had aspired since the installment of England's very first public parks. The application of public parks in England's urban centers (and primarily London), therefore, was done not to allow the upper and lower classes to come into contact with one another, but rather to produce the philanthropic façade that the upper-middle class of Victorian society wished to portray. This contradictory stance on the function of the public park is exactly what created its ambiguity and what resulted in the end was an environment that the upper-middle class of Victorian society was attempting to avoid from the very beginning.

While research has been done on three major parks in England during the early to mid Victorian years, further study on public (and private) parks constructed before, during, and after the design and application of each park could provide greater insight on the chronological change of function of the Victorian public park and might perhaps provide some interesting paradoxical cases as well. Secondly, more studies on the state of working class housing and in particular its lack of "open" space would greatly enhance this area of study by contributing a more profound understanding of the residential status of this deprived class during the mid-nineteenth century and its proximity to pubic parks in urban settings. Also, accounts from literature and poetry of the time would give this study a broader cultural setting when discussing the role of the public park in Victorian England for often times literary accounts from a period in history typify the social reality of a particular culture in ways that contemporary works cannot express (see note 4). Finally, a greater in-depth analysis of the design of both Clubs and houses in bungalow suburbs would show how the designs of these environments reflected the social, economical, and health ideals of the Victorian upper and middle class that moved there in the 1860s and 70s. In all, this essay has provided the backbone for an area of study that has only just been scratched at the surface, and further research would greatly induce a more complete understanding of the changing function of the Victorian public park in England from the mid to late nineteenth century.
 
Notes
1. The fact that Loudon used a fountain is a very interesting concept for it fully exemplifies what the gardenesque style of landscape architecture was all about because it was using a man-made representation of falling water. Using the picturesque style, on the other hand, one would never find a fountain, but would be more inclined to see something more natural, like a waterfall.
2. Paxton also assumed that many would arrive via carriage, hence the increased size of the central axis.
3. Private architecture of the 19th century.
4. Unfortunatly, few literary sources between 1840 and 1860 contained scenes from England's public parks. Had this study focused on parks after 1860, the literature component would have been more helpful.
 
Endnotes
 
1. Melanie Louise Simo, Loudon and the Landscape (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 201.
2. Walvin, James. Leisure and Society (New York: Longman, 1978), pp. 3-4.
3. G.M. Young, ed. Early Victorian England. 1830-1865 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1934), p. 477; Peter Fuller, "Fine Arts" in Boris Ford's Victorian England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 189.
4. Ibid., p. 4.
5. Simo, p. 192.
6. Patrick Beaver, The Crystal Palace (London: Hugh Evelyn, 1970), pp. 12-35.
7. Jacques Carré, "The Public Park" in Boris Ford's Victorian England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 77.
8. Ibid.
9. Simo, p. 191.
10. Walvin, p. 3-4.
11. Simo, p. 192; Young, p. 231; Walvin, p. 5.
12. Simo, p. 13-14.
13. David Watkin, The English Vision (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982), p. 88.
14. Brent Elliot, Victorian Gardens (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1986: 33-4.
15. Simo, p. 16.
16. Simo, p. 195.
17. Simo, p. 196.
18. Simo, p. 195.
19. Ibid.
20. Simo, p. 199.
21. Simo, p. 196.
22. Simo, p. 200.
23. Ibid.
24. Simo, p. 191.
25. Simo, p. 199.
26. Beaver, p. 11-12.
27. Beaver, p. 11.
28. Ibid.
29. Beaver, p. 17.
30. Beaver, p. 14.
31. Beaver, p. 15.
32. Ibid.
33. Beaver, p. 25.
34. "The Opening of the Great Exhibition," The London Times (May 2, 1851), p. 6.
35. Walvin, pp. 3-4.
36. Carré, p. 77.
37. David Olsen, The City as a Work of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 196.
38. Ibid., p. 206.
39. Ibid., p. 204.
40. Anthony D. King, The Bungalow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 70-1.
41. Ibid, p 74.
42. Ibid., p. 72.
43. Ibid., p. 75.
44. Ibid., p. 78.
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