Herr Moritz Goes to St James’s Park

Another part of Carl Philip Moritz’s account of his visit to London in 1782:

“This park is nothing more than a semi-circular avenue of trees enclosing a large area of greensward in the midst of which is a swampy pond.

Cows feed on the turf and you may buy their milk quite freshly drawn from the animal. In the avenues are seats on which to rest. If you come into the park from the Horse Guard’s Parade, as you may do by way of several paths, the royal residence of St James’s Palace is on the right. Although famous, it is one of the least significant buildings in London. right at the lower end is the Queen’s palace, handsome and modern, yet looking very like a private house. For the rest, however, the neighbourhood of St James’s park contains some most magnificent buildings which greatly enhance the beauty of the place. In front of the semi-circle through which the avenues run is a large military parade ground.

How little this compares with our Tiergarten in Berlin I ought not to say. If we think highly of St James’s Park, and other public places in London it may be because they have figured more often than ours in novels and other books. The very streets and squares of London are more renowned than most of our cities.
What, then, is there to recommend this rather second rate park of St James’? It is the astonishing medley of people who take their evening walk there in fine weather. The finest promenades in our country are never so full as they are here, with dense crowds of people strolling up and down. It is the first time in my life that I have had the pleasure of mixing with such a concourse of people, most of whom are handsome and well-dressed.

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