Parks are such a familiar part of everyday life. You might be forgiven for thinking they have always been there - and that they always will.
In fact, the roots of even the most humble neighbourhood park lie in age-old battles over land and liberty. From their medieval life as private royal hunting grounds to their modern incarnation as public spaces teeming with activity, theirs is a story of land-grabbing monarchs and Restoration fops, great Victorian industrialist, punks and model-boaters - and somewhere among it all, the common man trying to enjoy his single day of rest. It's a story best told by way of the Epic of Gilgamesh and Gary Numan LPs, with trips into the lives of celebrated engineers and artists, and the occasional hop across the Atlantic and the Channel.
Along the way, parks have proved themselves to be shape-shifters, transforming according to their public's need - they've been converted into wartime farms; by night, they've provided some with the perfect location for illicit rendezvous. But right now, in an era of cuts, British parks are under threat. As such, Travis Elborough's joyful and loving portrait is a timely celebration of a small wonder that we may on occasion take for granted. It will have your next trip to the park brimming with history, anecdote and new meaning.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 728 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 36 mm
"This is a fascinating, informative, revelatory book ... The vast array of knowledge that Elborough disperses in this book will make you look at parks differently ... Parks seem an immutable, strangely paradisiacal element of our fraught and complicated urban lives, but the fact that we actually have them, as Elborough demonstrates in this wonderful book is something to be marvelled at." -- William Boyd * Guardian *
"Travis Elborough is becoming a latter-day Alan Bennett. Let loose in an array of reference libraries, he summons many a curious fact...from the shelves, which makes for a rich narrative... Alluring detail fills every page." -- Christopher Hawtree * Spectator *
"Amiable new history of the public park... Turns up lots of interesting, joyful stuff... A Walk in the Park is an enjoyable stroll." -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
"His writing combines subtle drollery with a fantastical, Monty Python-ish strain... We can count this captivating book among the boons they [parks] have granted us." -- Andrew Martin * Financial Times *
"Charming blend of the patriotic, popular and whimsical... Beautifully written." -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *