I think it was the current cold weather and the sight of leafless trees that reminded me of some of the postcards in this set of images of Kensington Gardens.
The stark rows of trees lining the Broad Walk fade into winter mist in the distance. Of course part of that impression is the inability of the early twentieth century camera to focus on distant objects but nevertheless the picture radiates winter’s chill.
The close up shows a family wrapped up for the cold.
Here is another small group on a lonely walk:
Even the water looks cold.
A distant view of the bridge shows another detail of park life:
What are those creatures? Really heavy geese? No, sheep of course, also wearing thick winter coats. As you may have heard, it was the practice to keep sheep in the Gardens to maintain the grass. Sometimes sheep were brought in from the country but it looks as though these sheep must have been working all year round. Here they are in their summer coats:
And here is a similar view of the same scene:
So similar, the curve of the path, the stand of trees on the left, and the distant spire that they must be separated by years. The tree on the right must have been felled at some point. In the summer there were more people about although the park is hardly crowded even on the Broad Walk.
The staff at the cafe stood ready to serve:
And there was plenty to do. A bit of boating:
But if that proved too difficult you could stay on land and still mess about with boats:
The round pond, where many fantasy craft were launched onto a pretend sea.
At the end of the afternoon there was the walk home past the strangely forbidding statue.
Physical Energy by George Frederick Watts, a Kensington resident, erected in 1907.
But hang on you’re saying, it’s Kensingon Gardens. Isn’t there one more statue to see? Oh yes, him.
The genius loci of Kensington Gardens, Peter Pan.
This postcard is a little later than the others, 1920s perhaps but still has the same sunny atmosphere. That woman with the pram has one child to push, one to keep an eye on and is she looking back to call to the dog? Could it be a Dalmatian? Two children’s classics for the price of one?
In the spirit of the secret life of postcards check it out in detail:
I had something quite different in mind this week but then I reminded myself that I haven’t done a purely Kensington post for some time so this set of images came to mind. I originally scanned many of them (in absurdly high resolution) at the request of a Danish TV company. Probably something to do with Peter Pan. Nothing nordic noir anyway. But it shows that time spent scanning pictures is never wasted.