Hyde Park is a 350-acre royal park in what is now central London.
The park was originally a private hunting ground of Henry VIII. After opening in 1637, Hyde Park quickly became the popular gathering place for people from all social classes.
In 1689, Kensington Palace was completed immediately to the west of the park, and a road was built through the park to connect Kensington Palace to the city. In the 1730s, Charles Bridgeman transformed the open parkland by adding thoroughfares, winding avenues of elm trees, an artificial river, and naturalistic gardens. He also sectioned off a portion of the park to become Kensington Palace Gardens, a private royal garden abutting Kensington Palace.
Though the park continued to be popular amongst the public, it was also a hotspot of criminal activity, especially at night. Highwaymen, vagrants, prostitutes, and petty thieves often lurked along the paths, and the park was a popular dueling spot.
For most of the 18th century, Hyde Park was still on the edge of London, surrounded by farmland and military grounds to the north and south. However, Hyde Park and its environs became more fashionable in the 19th century, particularly after the Great Exhibition was held in the park in 1851.
As London expanded, Hyde Park became a welcome green space in a rapidly urbanizing city. It continues to be one of the most widely visited parks in the world, and is frequently used for concerts, rallies, and sporting events.
After an evening with Percy Wainwright, Lord John takes a shortcut through Hyde Park to return to Argus House. While walking alone, he encounters the O'Higgins brothers, a pair of Irish deserters who John knows from his military service. They initially attempt to attack him, but flee when John recognizes them.
After their return from Ireland and Gerald Siverly's court martial, Jamie half-forces John to take a walk through Hyde Park with him. They discuss their mutual responsibility for the death of Edward Twelvetrees, as well as the terms of their friendship.
Hyde Park is situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.