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Historic England Research Records

Rotten Row

Hob Uid: 903342
Location :
Greater London Authority
City Of Westminster
Grid Ref : TQ2882079890
Summary : Road crossing Hyde Park, constructed in 1690 as part of a carriage drive from Whitehall to Kensington Palace. It was the first lamplit road in England. A horse drive was constructed in 1876-78. The present form of Rotten Row in Hyde Park is a broad cambered road, 1384 metres long, 20 metres to 25 metres wide and between 0.3 metres to 0.7 metres high. The horse ride extend along the sunmmit and north side of the Row; the south side was allowed to grass over in 1957.
More information : TQ 2684 7988 - 28822 7989. Rotten Row (corruption of the French Route de Roi) was constructed in 1690 as part of William IIIs carriage drive from Whitehall to Kensington Palace. Engineered by the Surveyor of their Majesties' Roads, Captain Michael Studholme, the Row was the first lamplit road in England. For several years it replaced The Ring as the fashionable London parade but was itself supplanted by the Kings New Road (South Carriage Drive) in 1736 and designated a public bridleway, although carriages remained the preserve of royalty. In 1876-8 a horse ride, consisting of a brick base with a dressing of sand, was constructed and the Row has retained an equestrian reputation ever since (1a).

The present form of Rotten Row in Hyde Park is a broad cambered road, 1384.0m long, 20.0m to 25.0m wide and 0.3m to 0.7m high, crossing the full length of Hyde Park from east to west (1). The horse ride runs along the sunmmit and north side of the Row; the south side was allowed to grass over c. 1957.

The route of Rotten Row across Kensington Gardens is lost but on a plan of 1706 its course is shown continuing straight to a pond thereafter diverging south-westwards to the present Palace Gate (1b). The site of this pond was located by field survey (see TQ 28 SE 101) and just to the north of it at TQ 2636 7989 an east to west scarp, 120m long and 0.3m high, possibly marks the former course of Rotten Row: the scarp is disturbed, possibly from robbing out of metalling. A slighter scarp, 24m long and 0.3m high, aligned south-west to north-east at TQ 2615 7975, may be part of that section leading to Palace Gate (1). In 1726-7 this route was diverted by George I during the development of Kensington Gardens: it was pushed southwards and took a direct route from Hyde Park to Palace Gate, approximating to the present line of the Flower Walk (1c).

Several ponds and quarries shown, for instance, on the Rhodes plan of 1762 adjacent to Rotten Row (1d), may have originated as gravel pits for metalling the road.

See survey plans at 1:1000 and 1:2500 scales with the archive. (1)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Pattison P and Struth P, June 1993 RCHME: ROYAL PARKS PROJECT: Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens Survey
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Source Number : 1a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Land Use Consultants 1982 Hyde Park Historical Survey 25-27
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Source Number : 1b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : PRO Work 32/312 plan of Hyde Park c. 1706 attributed to Henry Wise
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Source Number : 1c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Land Use Consultants 1982 Kensington Gardens Historical Survey 23-25
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Source Number : 1d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Land Use Consultants 1982 Hyde Park Historical Survey 12 Rhodes map 1762
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Constructed 1690
Monument End Date : 1690
Monument Start Date : 1690
Monument Type : Road, Carriageway
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Constructed 1876-78
Monument End Date : 1878
Monument Start Date : 1876
Monument Type : Ride
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 27 NE 105
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 903345
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 903346
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 903347
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : RCHME: ROYAL PARKS PROJECT: HYDE PARK AND KENSINGTON GARDENS SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-02-01
End Date : 1993-07-01